Basketball in 2016 will end with help from the final game in a series from what has become one of our area's best rivalries when Grovetown's Lady Warriors face Cross Creek's Lady Razorbacks in the championship game of the Monterrey Classic holiday tournament at Evans High.
Friday's 7:00 P.M. showdown, which will be broadcast on Facebook Live at the @AugBball Facebook page (assuming the internet cooperates), is the third meeting this season between the #4 ranked teams from class AAAAAA (Grovetown) and class AAAA (Cross Creek). It will also be the sixth meeting during this calendar year between the teams, which battled as region foes last season. Grovetown leads the 2016 series 3-2. Both teams have won every game played on their home court during that time.
Each team's current leaders have played in all five games, including Grovetown's Destiny Marshall (21 ppg); Ayana Collins (14 ppg, 11 rpg) and Elizabeth Metress (10 ppg, 4 apg); as well as Cross Creek's Alana Davis (17 ppg, 11 rpg); Nya Daniels (9 ppg, 5 apg); and Kianni Westbrook (8 ppg, 9 rpg).
In a message sent after Thursday's 55-22 semifinal win over Effingham County, Grovetown coach Jamie Echols put into proper perspective the healthy rivalry this matchup has become:
"Cross Creek has kind of replaced some other schools as our main rival. We have had some great battles with them in 2016 and all have been fun and played with good sportsmanship. They are as well coached as any team in the state and always bring out the best in us. It seems only fitting that they will be our final opponent of 2016."
The Lady Razorbacks topped Evans 59-42 in Thursday's semifinal round game.
The boys championship game, which tips off at 8:30 and will also air on @AugBball's Facebook Live feed, pits private school class A's #5 ranked team Aquinas against surprise opponent Grovetown.
Aquinas advanced past Evans in Thursday's semifinal round with a 57-48 victory. Junior Tre Gomillion scored 22 points and grabbed 17 rebounds to lead the Fighting Irish.
Grovetown defeated region rival Lakeside 69-66 Thursday. The win was the Warriors' second of the season. But more importantly, the victory, which came one day after another solid win over Midland Valley, gives Grovetown momentum heading into Friday's title game and next week's region opener.