Monday, December 4, 2017

AugBball's Top 10 Boys HS Teams List (December Edition) includes Aiken, Aquinas, North Augusta, and Glenn Hills at the top

So far this season, four teams have distinguished themselves from the pack with fast starts. Those teams grabbed the first four spots on the December edition of my "AugBball Top 10 Boys Teams List:"

Aiken, Aquinas, North Augusta, and Glenn Hills top my list of top 10 teams./

#1 - Aiken (2-0)

November ranking: #1
Next game: Aiken at Greenwood - Tonight

When I put Aiken at the top of the list in the November edition of the top 10, I cited the Hornets’ size (4 starters stand 6’4” and taller) and their winning pedigree (Aiken went 24-5 last season, including an undefeated run through region play and a class AAAA state playoff quarterfinal finish.

But once I finally got to see the 2017-18 version of Aiken last week, I was most struck by coach Darris Jackson’s team’s man-to-man defense. The Hornets held Silver Bluff to less than 20 points in both halves of their opener. After the game, coach Jackson talked to me on the phone about how pleased he was with his bigger players’ effort moving their feet and keeping the Bulldogs’ guards in front of them. Watch and listen here:

#2 - Aquinas (1-1)

November ranking: #2
Next game: Lake Oconee at Aquinas - Tonight

After I’ve watched North Augusta and Glenn Hills play nearly flawless basketball 3 times in the past 12 days, the fact that I am keeping the Irish at number 2 in this month’s edition of the list says a lot for how highly I think of the program coach Darren Douglas is building.

It is a sure sign that your defense is playing at a high level when you hold the likes of Bishop Loughlin (NY) and Eagles Landing Christian to 45 and 40 points, respectively, in the high profile Holiday Hoopsgiving Tournament in Atlanta. And the point about how good the Irish look already was driven home even more emphatically when critics complained so much on Twitter about how badly the referees (supposedly) cheated ELCA.

I can imagine how it must be hard to believe that a team can be as disciplined and prepared as Aquinas was on the season’s opening weekend. The Irish’s ability to stop teams from scoring is the reason I believe they would win in a matchup with any area team except for Aiken.

Here coach Douglas talks after a preseason scrimmage about the Irish's defense and the contributions assistant coach Wes Wuchte has made towards the cause:

#3 - North Augusta (2-0)

November ranking: #3
Next game: North Augusta at Dutch Fork - Tonight

The Yellow Jackets put on an offensive clinic Friday, beating Lakeside 84-70 after starting the game with 28 first quarter points. Coach Tony Harrell's sources of offense were everywhere:

  • Sophomore Omarion Byrd made 6 threes en route to a game high 24 points.
  • Tez Collins scored 21, including a highlight reel dunk that made the crowd buzz.
  • The fantastic freshman Russell Felton played way beyond his years, scoring 20 points in his first high profile game.
  • And 6'4" wing Bryson Mozone buried 3 three pointers.
But the way the Yellow Jackets used their offense to get Collins exactly where they wanted him against the smaller guards Lakeside defended him with was the most impressive thing to me about North Augusta's 84 point explosion:

#4 Glenn Hills (3-0)

November ranking: #6
Next game: Glenn Hills at Butler (region opener)

Many believe the Spartans have the area's most talented and best team. Coach Travis McRae's squad may be on their way to proving them right. That 6'8" senior Timmy Sellers and 6'5" sophomore John Whitehead have dominated the space above the rim is no surprise.

But the instant impact of transfers Tim Williamson (20 ppg through 3 games) and Isaiah Bauman (11 ppg) has surprised me.

#5 - Baldwin (3-3)

November ranking: #4
Next game: Hancock at Baldwin - Saturday, Dec 9

Donte Justice - Baldwin

#6 Lakeside (4-2)

November ranking: #6
Next game: Midland Valley at Lakeside - Saturday, Dec 9

Kalen Williams - Lakeside

#7 Greenbrier (5-1)

November ranking: not ranked
Next game: Greenbrier at Augusta Christian - Tonight

Richard Crawford III - Greenbrier

#8 - Laney (3-1)

November ranking: #5
Next game: Laney at Richmond - Tonight

Donald Henley - Laney

#9 - Burke County (2-0)

November ranking: not ranked
Next game: Evans at Burke County - Tonight

Deontae Carter - Burke County (photo via Larry Smith)

#10 - Richmond (4-2)

November Ranking: #9
Next game: Laney at Richmond - Tonight

DT Stephens - Richmond

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