Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Region play is red hot. See previews of Tuesday's high school games at the top of the AugBball radar

South Aiken (9-4, 0-0) at Aiken (12-4, 0-0) - AugBball Game of the Night

Melvin Mckie (15 ppg) leads South Aiken into Tuesday's region opener at Aiken.

I'm in for some fun if the South Aiken at Aiken South Carolina class AAAA, region 4 opener, which is Tuesday's AugBball Game of the Night, is as good as the the first games in the other regions that I've seen this season:

Butler at Glenn Hills (Dec 9)

Lakeside at Greenbrier (Dec 17)

Baldwin at Richmond (Jan 3)

Region play, like its college hoops cousin, conference action, is always the most exciting. But this season, the intensity seems to be jacked up to a new level. Take class AAAA, region 3, where 4 of the first 5 boys games, including last Tuesday's Richmond over Baldwin game of the night, have ended in overtime, including all three of Friday's games.

And every single AA game I've witnessed has been electric, including the last second Glenn Hills over Josey win Saturday and the very-last-second Butler over Glenn Hills game in December. Not to mention an overtime Laney over Glenn Hills win and a holiday tournament double overtime Josey over Glenn Hills win in non region play over the holiday break.

Deandre Barton scored 27 points and grabbed 20 rebounds against Glenn Hills in December.

The 9-4 South Aiken Thoroughbreds, which finished last season with an 18-6 record and reached the elite 8 round of the state tournament, will be led by co-captains Melvin Mckie (15 points and 4 rebounds be game) and Gemini Bell (13 points and 3 assists per game).

Aiken (12-4) appears to be much improved after a down (6-16) year last season.

A rivalry game in a region opener has worked out well for me twice this season (Butler at Glenn Hills and Lakeside at Greenbrier). I bet when South Aiken invades Aiken in Tuesday's AugBball Game of the Night, the third time will be a charm.

On the AugBball Radar

Class AA, region 4 first place game

Butler (4-1) at (Westside 4-1)

Senior Justin Phillips will lead the way for Westside (4-1).

The AJC's #3 (Butler) and #9 (Westside) teams will meet to decide which class AA, region 3 team will be the first to five wins. Play is about to heat up in a major way in this region, which the AJC believes houses 5 of Georgia's 10 best teams!

Note: Tonight marks Butler's fourth road game against the region's four teams that are believed to be the best. The Bulldogs won at the AJC's #8 Glenn Hills and #6 Laney and lost at #7 Josey. A win tonight will uniquely position Butler, which will play the second half of the schedule's most difficult games at home, to finish strong and possibly grab the top seed in region tournament play.

#10 Burke County (1-1) at Baldwin (1-1)

Each team's lone loss has been to region favorite Richmond. Each loss was in overtime.

Burke County fell 73-71 Friday after DT Stephens's game winner. And Baldwin has played two overtime games (the Braves won in OT at Thomson Friday) already in the first week of region play.

Tonight's result may solidify a team in the second place position as the middle of the schedule approaches.

#5 Heritage at Evans (2-0)

The Knights are 2-0 after a win Friday at rival Greenbrier and one in December over Grovetown.

Hephzibah (0-2) at #4 Richmond (2-0)

The Musketeers have come out on top twice in overtime against the two teams, Baldwin and #10 Burke County, most likely to challenge them for the region'a top spot.

Augusta Prep (1-0) at John Milledge

Ryan Jolly will lead Augusta Prep against favorite John Milledge.

Star guard Ryan Jolly and the Cavs aim to place themselves in the race for leadership in GISA's class AAA, region 4. Milledge and Westminster are the current favorites.

Thomson Lady Bulldogs at #3 Cross Creek

Nya Daniels scored 17 points in Cross Creek's win over Hephzibah Friday.

The Lady Razorbacks look poised to roll through region play after convincing wins over Burke County and Hephzibah last week.

Lakeside at #5 Grovetown Lady Warriors (1-0)

College of Charleston signee Destiny Marshall leads the way for Grovetown.

Grovetown, like Cross Creek and North Augusta, played a very difficult non-region schedule. I suspect the sharpness of the Lady Warriors will be a problem for class AAAAAA, region 3 opponents.

Lakeside (1-0) at Grovetown (0-1)

Lakeside's only stumble in recent memory was against Grovetown in the holiday tournament at Evans. The Panthers will try to improve to 2-0 in region play winning at Greenbrier in December.

The Warriors aim to build on its recent success when they beat Midland Valley and Lakeside before falling to Aquinas in the holiday tournament championship game.

Hephzibah Lady Rebels (0-1) at Richmond (2-0)

Temple signee Emani Mayo (Hephzibah)

The Lady Musketeers aim to keep pace with Cross Creek as Troy signee Jasmine Robinson will square off against Temple signee Emani Mayo.

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