Monday, June 6, 2016

The high school summer league begins today!

***Check the @AugBball Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram timelines for tons of highlights from the games I previewed below. I'll summarize what I saw and share that along with my thoughts here at the blog as soon as possible. I'll be back in the gyms Wednesday for more summer league action so stay tuned!***

Summer league is unique to high school basketball. No other level of basketball plays another season during the off season (including the NBA because that summer league mostly consists of players not on an NBA roster). Throughout June, teams will play the same opponents they face November through February, and opponents that they don't play during the regular season. And some will play as many or more games in June as many other high school teams do the entire winter.

Done right, summer league is every bit as intense as any game that "counts." For many years, Butler High has packed its gym on weekday afternoons for the RCBOE hosted league (boys play on Mondays and Wednesdays and girls play on Tuesdays and Thursdays). Most area teams play in this league and also randomly schedule 10 or more games at various camps and scrimmage jamborees in June.

I'll watch as much high school basketball as I can this month. And I'll share what I see at all the AugBball sites:

It seems like the regular season just ended, so I'm grateful the players and coaches are getting back at it so soon!

Here are my plans for Monday:

Westminster at Harlem (girls)
The last time I saw Westminster play, Bobbi Wardwell led a frantic fourth quarter comeback win over Westfield in the semifinals of last season's region tournament.

The Lady Wildcats have an impressive roster of young players. Wardwell is a junior. So is guard Ashley Davis. She and freshman Genevieve Waller are both shown in this report from the game referred to above.

In year's past, a June matchup with Harlem would be the only opportunity for these teams to meet. But with the recent decision to allow GHSA and GISA teams to play during the regular season, the Wildcats and the Bulldogs are scheduled to play again this Winter.

Here's to a new and more sensible day. And perhaps to a new rivalry!

At Butler
Evans vs Josey (6PM)
These teams showed potential last season. Josey was the first local team to top Laney in over two seasons in one of the winter's most exciting games.

During that showdown at Josey, senior Javen Whitehead scored the most impactful 11 points I've seen in a while. John Williams, Jonathan Butler, and Domonique Hurst have contributed a great deal to back-to-back state tournament runs for the Eagles. I see no reason Josey can't continue that string of appearances in class 2A, the new home to five of the city's teams.

Evans also showed flashes last season. But this summer and the coming season will feature almost exclusively new names. Coach Kevin Kenny has a strong crop of young players who may lead the Knights back to the state tournament after a two year break.

At Butler
Laney vs Glenn Hills (7PM)
Augusta's two most recent state champs will meet in a preview of a matchup we may see as many as four times come winter. These are the kinds of summer league games many coaches hate. But as an observer and fan, I love them.

Laney will move forward without Christian Keeling and Zep Jasper for the first time in more than four years. Donald Henley and Tahj Tanksley have been two of the town's best players for more than a year. I expect them to step nicely into leadership roles.

And I believe last season's JV team, which was led by Sebastian Marmolejo and Dejuan Griffin among many fine players, will be the source of many difference making Wildcats for coach Shaun Parks to develop.

Laney's crosstown and now class 2A rival Glenn Hills and the development of a strong group of young players has many people optimistic the Spartans will make this their comeback season. 6'7" junior Timmy Sellers produced in bunches last season, scoring in the post and above the rim, when he wasn't slowed by foul trouble. This is the third varsity season for guards Eric Farmer and Robert Drew, who should both contribute to a turnaround for coach Travis Mcrae's Spartans.

At Butler
Richmond vs Butler (8PM)
I said above that when done right, summer league can be great. Well these last two matchups at Butler show the Board of Education's athletic department is trying to do it right!

The Musketeers and Bulldogs split a pair of games during the first weeks of last season. The games were well played and quite memorable.

And here is the report from the rematch:

Richmond had as good a season as any area team after losing in the second round of the class 5A state tournament to eventual state champion Miller Grove. Junior DT Stephens and seniors Jason Weaver and Moses Williams can form the nucleus of a team that is headed for more post season success.

And Butler has no shortage of impact players returning. I expect seniors Deandre Barton and Will Lambert to set the tone with physical and athletic play as the home team finishes what should be a good first day of high school summer league play!

*duel not dual

1 comment:

  1. It is great that another season during the off season. No one does it. research paper writing service Good for you.