Thursday, December 29, 2016
Wednesday, December 28, 2016
|Brad Hilley scored in transition to give Lakeside a 63-60 lead Wednesday.|
Lakeside's Brad Hilley led four Panthers who scored in double figures in Wednesday's 66-61 holiday tournament win over Effingham County at Evans High. Hilley finished with 17 points, including 3 three pointers, and Jalen Nealous added 16, Deon Berrien 13, and Kre'Sean Hall 12 for class AAAAAA's 10th ranked Panthers.
Lakeside trailed 50-42 in the fourth quarter before Hilley led a late push in which he tied the game twice, first at 53-53 with a three pointer from the left wing, and next at 56 all with another triple from the right corner. Finally, the 6'4" junior finished a drive in transition immediately after forcing an Effingham turnover to give Lakeside a lead for good at 62-59 with less than two minutes remaining.
|Hilley's forced turnover in the fourth quarter set up his final bucket and Lakeside's win.|
The Panthers (9-3) advanced to Thursday's semifinal round for a matchup against region rival Grovetown in a non league meeting.
Tuesday, December 27, 2016
|PJ Walker's 3 point conversion put Laney ahead of Thomson for good Tuesday.|
Laney's PJ Walker converted a three point play with 1:12 remaining to give his team a 57-54 lead before the Wildcats prevailed 62-59 on the road at Thomson in a non region contest Tuesday. Tahj Tanksley led all scorers with 27 points, including 7 three pointers. Donald Henley added 15 points in the win.
Tanksley, a senior, scored 19 second half points, including Laney's first 9 points of the third quarter when the Wildcats took a 40-35 lead. And after a 14-2 Thomson run that was punctuated by back-to-back dunks by Darius Turman and Radaren Johnson gave the Bulldogs a 49-42 lead at the end of three quarters, Tanksley answered with 10 points during an 11-3 Laney run that gave the Wildcats a 53-52 lead ahead of Walker's game sealing basket and free throw.
|Tanksley had an answer for every Thomson run.|
Laney improved to 7-3, while Thomson dropped to 3-5. Johnson led the Bulldogs with 22 points and Turman added 14.
|Thomson's Radaren Johnson scored 22 points.|
Laney is ranked #9 in class AA. Many people expected the Wildcats to struggle this season after losing two division 1 players to graduation. But Tanksley, Henley, Walker, Keonze Perkins and others are proving that their is still plenty of winning left in what has been the area's most successful program during this decade.
Thomson hosts #9 Laney tonight in a non region game between two teams which consistently advance deep into the state playoffs and which both, until yesterday, have been featured all season in the top ten rankings of their respective classes. AugBball's Game of the Night coverage will include a full broadcast of the game on Facebook Live at the @AugBball channel. Also, highlights, updates, pictures, and interviews will be shared live on all of the @AugBball social media pages.
Laney has weathered nicely the graduation of star players Christian Keeling and Zep Jasper (who have progressed to division 1 college programs) to start the season 6-3. The Wildcats remained the #9 class AA team in Sunday's release of GHSA expert Kyle Sandy's tally of the state's best teams after coach Shaun Parks's squad fell to #2 Josey 46-43 in the championship game of the Holiday Roundball Classic at Paine College Wednesday.
Thomson (3-4) dropped from the class AAAA rankings for the first time Sunday after losing games by large margins to Northwood and Sumter in the Savannah River Shootout Christmas Classic at North Augusta High School.
Flashback to last season's duel
|Christian Keeling slaps hands with assistant coach William Cunningham in his final home game.|
Sunday, December 25, 2016
Sunday's game was so good that this dunk didn't even make my top 5 plays list!
In chronological order, here are AugBball's top 5 plays from the Christmas Day instant classic between two teams locked in a rivalry unlike any we've seen since the Lakers and Celtics went at it in the 1980's!
The best sequence of NBA possessions since that from game 7 of last season's Finals, which started with Lebron James's block on Andre Iguodala and ended with Kyrie Irving's series winning three, came during this 15 second long 6 point streak which featured the world's two best players answering each other twice before anybody could catch their breaths.
This nifty Lebron James finish followed by a sprint-back-on-defense-block to close the half was the second Christmas day play (the first is above) that reminded of last season's NBA Finals classic moments, which included the lob James caught off the feed from Irving after James had gone to the floor to grab a loose ball.
No way basketball can be played better than it is being played by these teams in today's Christmas game. pic.twitter.com/FCPjVn5qEm— Chad Cook's AugBball (@AugBball) December 25, 2016
Speaking of reminders from last season's Finals, when Kyrie Irving tipped in his own miss after sticking All-NBA power forward/"death lineup" center Draymond Green deep beneath the rim, I flashed back to my wonderment at the genuinely unbelievable variations in which Irving can score, especially at his size, over ANYBODY who dares guard him without A LOT of help!
Finally found footage of Irving tipping in his own missing after sticking All-NBA power forward/"death lineup" center Draymond Green in hole pic.twitter.com/i1jXcEkcD9— Chad Cook's AugBball (@AugBball) December 26, 2016
I only have five places to fill, and the game's excitement is best illustrated by my NOT putting one of Richard Jefferson's poster dunks over Golden State's pair of All-NBA wings into my top 5!
I had to make room for Lebron James's baseline to baseline dash which left .3 seconds left on the third quarter clock. The human freight train inbounded the ball with 3.9 seconds remaining under his own basket, sprinted to get the shovel pass back from his teammate, and got all the way to the rim and drew a foul on an attempted dunk over Kevin Durant. All in 3.6 seconds!
The only problem is I can't find that clip! So I'll go with Lebron's go ahead dunk after the feed by Irving, who simply picked apart the Warriors down the stretch (And I have no interest in whether or not James should have been called for a technical foul. Other than I think it was right that he wasn't):
Curry gives up penetration and LeBron says Wait, I want credit for this win! https://t.co/nMmkvTUMua— BBALLBREAKDOWN (@bballbreakdown) December 25, 2016
Of course, the play of the game was Kyrie Irving's fade away over 6'7" Klay Thompson after Irving had created absolutely no advantage off the dribble but somehow still was able to make a shot over a guy with a height advantage of a half of a foot!
PS - Was Kyrie Irving the best post player in the game? In addition to stuffing Green beneath the rim and making the sweet fade away above, he made this sweeping hook over Durant.
Kyrie gonna get the game ball if they win for these 2 plays https://t.co/zOzF2ahenY— BBALLBREAKDOWN (@bballbreakdown) December 25, 2016
The things Irving did in last season's Finals and in today's game are every bit as awe inspiring as the things Curry did the last two seasons when most of us lost our minds watching him play!
What a game!
Saturday, December 24, 2016
The foundation has Siler and Quarles as board members. And the duo uses the proceeds from Siler's annual basketball camp, which is held every summer for a week, to help fund part of the total cost of the meals.
|Siler and Quarles had lots of help from Jaguar supporters Saturday.|
The two first met as teammates on the basketball team at Richmond Academy before becoming Jaguars. "We graduated in 2004. Been besties since," Quarles texted Saturday after the end of the event Siler called a "record setting success."
Siler has played professionally, including a run with the Phoenix Suns, for the almost ten years since finishing at Augusta University. Quarles is in his sixth season as Augusta's assistant coach.
Darrin Shine saw a need and met it in overwhelming fashion
|Darrin Shine has distributed 1,500 pairs of sneakers during the past three holiday seasons.|
Men like Shine, Siler, and Quarles are great representatives of our basketball community. And their deeds are the kinds that give the Christmas season its reputation for inspiring giving and service to others.
Thursday, December 22, 2016
|Tez Collins slammed home North Augusta's championship game win Wednesday.|
|Derius Copeland was named the tournament's MVP.|
|Mya Burns's 12 third quarter points helped break open Wednesday's championship game.|
|Junior Sarah Crews hawked Northwood's ball handlers throughout Wednesday's win.|
|Amari Young has grabbed 4 steals per contest to go with her 14 points and 12 rebound averages.|
Wednesday, December 21, 2016
Coming soon at AugBball - Full highlights and reports from North Augusta's girls and boys championship round sweep
Wednesday's Championship Game News
|Tez Collins eyes a driving lane in Wednesday's win|
North Augusta Sweeps Savannah River Shootout Christmas Tournament championship games
|Sarah Crews was a defensive force in North Augusta's win.|
|Collins put an exclamation point on Wednesday's win.|
Like the report from the girls game, I will have full highlights, an AugBball story, pictures, and a post game interview posted at AugBball.com by Thursday night.
Laney (girls) and Josey (boys) took the Holiday Roundball Classic crowns. Watch the replay from AugBball's Facebook Live feed here:
Josey upends Laney 46-43
Laney's Lady Wildcats top Richmond
North Augusta, Laney, South Aiken, Richmond and Josey headlineWednesday's AugBball four part holiday tournament championship gamecoverage
|Josey's Javen Whitehead will try to spoil the fun for rival Laney in Wednesday's title game.|
The area's most likely state title contenders tip off at 7:00 P.M.
|North Augusta hasn't been unbeaten and nearly unchallenged this season.|
|Laney's senior starters: Aubriana Bonner, Jasmine Bartlett, and Jhessyka Williams.|
Rivalry games close the evening
|Laney's Tahj Tanksley has scorched the nets for the Wildcats this season.|
|South Aiken's Melvin Mckie will aim to defend his team's 2015 tournament title Wednesday.|
Tuesday, December 20, 2016
Ahmed Hill, Christian Keeling, Laney, Josey, and Richmond headline Tuesday's great showcase of Augusta basketball
Aquinas graduate Ahmed Hill scored 20 points to lead Virginia Tech to an 87-59 over Charleston Southern Tuesday. The game was the third consecutive time the sophomore has scored 20 or more for the 10-1 Hokies. Laney graduate Christian Keeling led Charleston Southern with 24 points, a career high for Keeling, who already has won two Big South Conference Freshman of the Week awards in his first month playing college basketball.
Meanwhile in Augusta, Keeling's alma mater Laney's girls and boys teams marched to Wednesday's title game at the Holiday Roundball Classic
Thousands of people (if Facebook's stats are accurate) watched @AugBball's Facebook Live broadcasts of Laney's girls and boys teams advance past Hephzibah and Butler, respectively, to Wednesday's Holiday Roundball Classic championship games at Paine.
Laney's boys top Butler to earn a spot opposite arch rival Josey in Wednesday's championship round
Laney sprinted out to a huge lead over Butler, then weathered a Bulldog comeback, and finally extended a second half lead to coast to a semifinal win that avenged a loss to the Bulldogs suffered only four days ago. The Wildcats' reward is a showdown with Josey, which overcame a double digit deficit to top Glenn Hills in double overtime Tuesday.
Hurst's heroics were made possible only after teammate John Williams's prayer was answered when he banked in a three pointer just before the fourth quarter buzzer sounded to tie the game and force overtime:
Monday, December 19, 2016
#8 Butler tops #7 Richmond in tournament quarterfinals; AugBball coverage plans for Semfinal round at Paine
|Richmond's DT Stephens tries to finish in Monday's game.|
Junior Drez McBride's 16 points and Butler's 10 total threes made by 5 different players propelled the Bulldogs to a 72-65 win over Richmond Monday in the quarterfinal round of the Holiday Roundball Classic at Paine College. Senior Jerry Leverette scored 12 points, all on made three pointers, three of which he drained during the first half while the Bulldogs sank 9 triples before intermission.
McBride sliced through the lane in the third quarter and threw down a striding left handed dunk to give Butler a 54-36 advantage. Richmond's Jason Weaver (18 points), DT Stephens (17 points), and Moses Williams then led a comeback attempt that brought the Musketeers to within 3 points of the Bulldogs with less than a minute remaining when Weaver's free throw made the score the 68-65.
But senior Will Lambert blocked Stephens's attempt to further reduce the deficit and time ran out on the Musketeers, which fell for the third straight time against a ranked AA opponent. The win helped set up an all AA final four at Paine. Tuesday's semifinal round features four teams ranked at one time in the past weeks in the top ten in GHSA expert Kyle Sandy's statewide tally of the Georgia High School Association's best AA teams.
#8 Butler faces #9 Laney at 8:30 in the evening's final game
This is a rematch of Butler's 75-72 region win Friday at Laney. The other semifinal matchup pits #7 Josey, a winner Monday over Hephzibah, against Glenn Hills, which spent several weeks in the top 10, including time in the third slot, before losses to Lakeside, Butler, and Laney knocked the Spartans off of the latest weekly list.
|Laney's Aubriana Bonner drives to the basket in Monday's win at Paine.|
The girls semifinal games include a 4:00 P.M. matchup between Richmond and Aiken and a 7:00 duel between Laney, the state's top AA team, and Hephzibah, which features twin guards Emani Mayo, who has signed with Temple, and Nicollette Mayo.
The Lady Wildcats, along with North Augusta's Lady Yellow Jackets, are playing better than any high school team. Junior Desha Benjamin and senior Aubriana Bonner combined to score 57 points in Saturday's 85-66 win over Mays, which entered the game ranked #2 in class AAAAAA.
Tuesday's AugBball Coverage Plans
Highlights and updates will be shared from the @AugBball Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts during Josey's matchup with Glenn Hills. The Laney-Hephzibah girls game and the Laney-Butler boys game will be broadcast live on Facebook at the @AugBball Facebook page. More news is coming regarding the Facebook Live broadcasts, which are new to the mix.
|Butler's Deandre Barton is averaging 19 points and 10 rebounds this season.|
|Apologies for the blurry pic, but these are the boys matchups at Paine.|
In today's quarterfinal round of the 17th Annual Holiday Roundball Classic at Paine College, class AAAA's #7 ranked Richmond Academy faces class AA's #8 ranked Butler at 2:30 in the AugBball Game of the Day. The matchup is one of eight games involving 6 boys and girls teams featured in Sandy's most recent top ten tallies.
|Apologies for the blurry pic, but these are the girls matchups at Paine.|
At the same time, the Savannah River Shootout Christmas Classic at North Augusta High School features two more ranked boys teams from Georgia along with what I believe to be the two best girls teams in South Carolina, Sumter High and the host North Augusta Lady Yellow Jackets.
|Apologies for the blurry pic, but these are the matchups at North Augusta.|
Butler aims to carry forward recent momentum
|Butler's Drez McBride scored 23 points in Friday's 75-72 win at Laney.|
Sunday, December 18, 2016
|USMMA's Matt Miller scored 26 points to lead the Mariners to a victory Saturday.|
USMMA's Matt Miller, who played his high school ball in Augusta for the GAIS Eagles homeschool team, expressed optimism about his team's fortunes in a recent AugBball interview that I posted after a hot individual start to his senior season. At the time, the 1,000 point scorer was coming off of a 29 point outburst against SUNY Maritime, but his Mariners had managed only one win in their first seven games. He described how the team was missing players due to injury and the special "sea term" all USMMA sophomores and juniors take that collides with the beginning stages of basketball practice every season.
"We finally have everybody back and playing together. I think it just takes some time to get used to playing with each other and getting some rhythm," Miller said when I asked him if his spirits were still high despite the early losses.
|Click here to see the full highlights and story of Miller's game winner and 20 point outing versus rival Coast Guard.|
Matt's patience seems to be paying off because after one more loss following our interview, USMMA has run off three consecutive victories, including Saturday's 87-86 overtime win over Widener in which Miller scored 26 points while making 9 of his 13 field goals, including 6 of his 8 threes. The left handed guard who is averaging 19 points per game made all 6 of his second half field goal attempts.
Miller converts a pair of first half buckets in Saturday's win over Widener.
Matt's maturity and his consistency through the ups and downs of this season reveal his steadfast character. He has been among the team's leaders since arriving on campus. When the Mariners resume play in January, I won't be surprised if the team continues to build on its recent success.
Sherrill scores 42 at North Georgia but Augusta still searches for first conference win
A video posted by Augusta University Athletics (@augustajags) on
Another consistent leader who is in the middle of a remarkable senior campaign, Augusta University's Keshun Sherrill, will try to help his team bounce back from Friday's 102-93 loss at North Georgia when the Jaguars visit Columbus State Monday at 7:30 (live stream link) in the second leg of a Peach Belt Conference opening pair of road games before the team breaks for the holidays.
|Aquinas graduated Ahmed Hill is Virginia Tech's second leading scorer at 14 ppg.|
The win was the Hokies' fifth straight and the second consecutive game in which Hill burned the nets as the 6'4" guard scored 20 points and grabbed 9 rebounds in last Sunday's win over Ole Miss. Hill is averaging 14 points and 4 rebounds per game, and he is living up to teammate Seth Allen's nickname for him, "Money Med," by making 29 threes at a 47% clip so far this season.
Keeling Continues his Roll, Scoring 19 Points in a Loss at Georgia
|Click here for CSU's photo reel from the UGA game, which has many pictures of Augusta's Christian Keeling.|
Another story about Keeling that tells why he is loved by so many
Saturday, December 17, 2016
|Deon Berrien scored 16 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in Lakeside's win.|
Lakeside sprinted to a double digit lead on rival Greenbrier's home floor and withstood a fourth quarter Wolfpack run to earn a 62-57 region win in front of a capacity crowd and two very supportive student sections full of screaming fans. Deon Berrien scored 16 points and grabbed 14 rebounds despite sitting for much of the first half due to foul trouble. And fellow senior Kre'Sean Hall added 15 points and 11 rebounds. Greenbrier was led by junior Austin Canaday, whose 20 points led all scorers.
Berrien, Hall, and sophomore Kalen Williams, who scored 15 points, took turns making plays during the second half, answering Greenbrier, which was finding their offensive rhythm after scoring only 18 points in the first two quarters and trailing by 10 at the break. Leading 39-34 after three quarters, the Panthers took a 50-40 lead with 4:57 remaining after Berrien found Hall for a layup in transition.
|Kre'Sean Hall tallied 15 points and 11 rebounds Friday.|
Canaday and Richard Crawford III, who scored 14 points, led a spirited comeback that cut the deficit to as few as 3 points in the final minute. But the Panthers were able to make timely plays to keep the Wolfpack at bay.
|Austin Canaday led all scorers with 20 points in Friday's loss.|
Lakeside gained its original cushion during a first half spurt that senior Jalen Nealous initiated with 7 consecutive points to start the second quarter that gave the Panthers their first lead at 15-10. After Nealous got things started, Hall, Williams, junior Brad Hilley, and sophomore Tucker Gilbert would all contribute to help Lakeside build a 28-18 lead at halftime.
Lakeside (8-3, 1-0) will take a break for Christmas before taking on Effingham County in the quarterfinals of the holiday tournament at Evans on December 28. Greenbrier (3-9, 0-1) travels to South Aiken tonight before resting until January.
Friday, December 16, 2016
League play is in focus Friday night as Greenbrier and Lakeside will battle with much more than a county rivalry at stake
Lakeside visits Greenbrier in a rivalry game when records will mean little
Despite their much different non-conference schedules, Lakeside (7-3) and Greenbrier (3-8) should be very evenly matched.
|Lakeside tipped off the season against class AA #3 Butler.|
The excitement surrounding Williams vs Crawford III is warranted
Richard Crawford III nailed this clutch 3 to tie the game at 53 with 42 seconds remaining and blow the roof off Greenbrier's gym! pic.twitter.com/mMKGyDOctt— Chad Cook's AugBball (@AugBball) November 19, 2016
But framing Friday's game as an individual matchup is misleading
Other games of particular interest Friday night:
Thursday, December 15, 2016
Watch the Jags women's and men's teams live right here!
Men's and women's teams' paths have mirrored each other's
Both Jaguar squads have exited the non conference portion of their seasons with a single loss. Both teams suffered their lone setback at the hands of West Georgia. Both responded nicely in their following outings with wins at home over Benedict. And both are led by preseason all conference guards, Keshun Sherrill and Breonna O'Conner.
Sherrill has continued to lead the way
Since the win over Benedict, the men have added another three victories to earn a 7-1 mark entering Friday's game. For the third straight season, preseason first team All Peach Belt Conference pick Keshun Sherrill has led the way. Just as striking as his scoring statistics (24.3 ppg on 50% FG, 48% 3 pt FG, and 92% FT) has been his knack for leading the team when he is most needed.
In a 76-72 win over Wingate, Sherrill scored 13 of his 29 points in the final 6:51 to help Augusta overcome a 7 point second half deficit:
Then in the following game, a 70-59 road win over Bowie State, the 5'9" All American guard scored another 29 points to lead Augusta on a day when no other Jag was able to score more than 7. Just before halftime, "Superman," my nickname for the 50%-40%-90%* shooting wunderkind, was able to get 3 of those points with this full court sprint that took less than 3.9 seconds:
I'm writing a preview for tomorrow's 11:00 A.M. @augustajags game and I'm using this clip from Sunday's win at Bowie State in which @keshunsherrill10 sank a half-courter just before halftime on the way to a 70-59 Jags win. #SuperMan - Tune in to the broadcast of the home game from work. I'll be color commentating, as usual.A video posted by Chad Cook (@augbball) on
And seemingly to prove his flare for last second threes is no fluke, he followed the Bowie State buzzer beater with another one in the following game, Augusta's most recent win over Vorhees:
A video posted by Augusta University Athletics (@augustajags) on
Williams and Doyle Have Provided Scoring and Rebounding in Key Spots
*"50-40-90" is a rare feat achieved by basketball players who make over 50% of their field goals, 40% of their threes, and 90% of their free throws.
O'Conner and Outler have led the way for the Lady Jaguars
And Cross Creek graduate Ashleigh Outler, who is averaging over 15 points per game, has already won Peach Belt player of the week honors:
@AUG_WBB Jr. Ashleigh Outler earns @PeachBelt Player of the Week honors! Congrats Ash! https://t.co/fi7oQWZePp pic.twitter.com/JKgRVStl7B— AugustaJags (@AugustaJags) December 5, 2016
The Lady Jags have also gotten a boost from Wright State transfer JJ Williams, who scored 16 points in Augusta's most recent win, a 73-68 decision Sunday over Benedict: