|Jelani Watson-Gayle led in scoring and assists in Monday's win.|
Senior Jelani Watson-Gayle scored 15 points and dished out 7 assists to lead Westminster to a 47-37 win at Fox Creek as the Wildcats improved to 2-0 heading into the Thanksgiving break.
Junior Michael Dukes added 13 points, and Noah Kershner chipped in 10 for the Wildcats, who ended things by outscoring the Predators 18-5 in the game's final 10 minutes. That run came after Fox Creek took a 32-29 lead late in the third quarter behind a flurry of Ellis Priester threes. Priester scored 12 points on 4 three pointers, and Rod Culver added 10 to lead Fox Creek.
After Thanksgiving comes a big week for Westminster
Westminster will visit Richmond Academy next Tuesday in a matchup between my preseason choices for the best independent school team (Westminster) and the best GHSA team (Richmond) in our area. In the post game interview above, I didn't bother to ask Watson-Gayle about his Wildcats' game with the Musketeers. Of course he and his teammates are eager to prove themselves in their school's first ever opportunity to play a team from the public school league.
Instead I asked him about the Garden City Classic, which begins two days later and runs Thursday through Saturday (December 1-3) at Augusta Prep. The tournament features 8 teams. And all but one of the best independent schools will play, including Westminster, Augusta Christian, Augusta Prep, Fox Creek, and Curtis Baptist. This is always a fun tournament. And because Watson-Gayle, Dukes, Nate Dunlop (Augusta Christian), and Ryan Jolly (Augusta Prep) will all play under one roof three times in less than 60 hours, I will be spending a good bit of time there and bringing you the action via AugBball's properties.
Bonus Coverage: Alleluia Shoots Down Harlem
|Elliot Balducci led the way with 23 points in Alleluia's win at Harlem.|
Missing from the Garden City Classic will be Alleluia, which is easily one of the most exciting independent school teams. Its leading scorer, senior Ben Dresser, entered Monday's 61-54 win at Harlem averaging 30 points per game. But he was happier after last night's win than after any game this season, even though he "only" scored 15 points.
In a message he sent me after the game, Dresser said the following: "If you do a report, I want you to know it was a good team win. We haven't really had a good team win in a while. Everyone contributed in a way I haven't really seen before."
Ben was obviously happy for fellow senior Elliot Balducci, who led all scorers with 23 points. Elliot turned in a fine performance last week at Augusta Christian too, scoring 17 points in a 70-64 loss to the Lions. Dresser also made special mention of sophomore Ben Freed, as well as JP Masak, whom Ben called "hands down the MVP because he got a steal every time we needed it. Like literally."
It's unfortunate for me that I won't see Alleluia next weekend when all the other independent schools gather. But I WILL watch the Angels play Augusta Prep the following Friday, December 9. I usually don't plan that far ahead. But when Dresser and Prep's Ryan Jolly square off in a matchup of two of Augusta's best players, I know there will be no place I'll rather be.