Monday, December 19, 2016

#7 Richmond vs #8 Butler Matchup Headlines Monday's Full Slate of Holiday Tournament Games

Butler's Deandre Barton is averaging 19 points and 10 rebounds this season.
Interest in our area's high school basketball teams has exploded. The evidence is everywhere. Last night Kyle Sandy of Sandy's Spiel published his fifth installment weekly rankings for Georgia High School Associations boys teams, and no fewer than 8 of the approximately 20 teams that I follow made the top 10 lists for their respective classes.

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.

Butler recently navigated quite the obstacle course when coach Cervantes Boddy's team won two of three road games against ranked region rivals in an eight day period. 6'2" Senior Deandre Barton, the early favorite for player of the year honors, averaged 24 points and 15 rebounds during a difficult stretch which set up nicely the Bulldogs when region play resumes after the holidays. After winning at (then) #3 Glenn Hills and #9 Laney, and nearly topping #8 Josey, the Bulldogs have gotten out of the way all of their regular season visits to the town's most hostile environments. 

But don't expect Butler to lessen its focus for today's non region matchup with the Musketeers. "I coach and we play to win every game," coach Boddy told me in a text after I asked if he would rest players after last week's difficult stretch of league games.

Richmond's aim today will be to earn its first win over a ranked AA team after dropping recent games to Glenn Hills and #9 Laney. The practice will come in handy when the Musketeers begin region play because region opponents #5 Thomson and #10 Burke County, which are both playing this week at North Augusta, join Richmond on the class AAAA top ten list. And Baldwin, another region opponent, may soon make that list too after impressive early season results against high profile teams.

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