Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Baltimore leads Aiken to a blowout win at Silver Bluff

Aiken's Nazae Baltimore shoots a jumper at Silver Bluff Wednesday.

6'6" junior Nazae Baltimore dominated the paint in Aiken's season opening 60-36 win at Silver Bluff Wednesday in the AugBball Game of the Day. The 6'6" junior scored 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in the win.

Baltimore scored 10 first half points, 6 off the offensive glass, during the only stretch in which the Hornets had trouble scoring. Aiken led 24-18 at the break after George Williams made his team's first three pointer with 26 seconds remaining in the second quarter.

The Hornets found a nice rhythm in the second half when Williams and Calvin Mathis each buried a three to spark a 10-0 run that put Aiken ahead 34-18. Mathis, who scored 10 of his 13 points in the second half, would follow that spurt with a three pointer and a dunk to give the Hornets a 41-26 advantage. The Bulldogs would get no closer than 9 points after that.

Full Game Highlights

Coach Darris Jackson, who led Aiken to a 24-5 record last year in his second season as head coach, talked about his team's effort in playing a stifling man-to-man defense against Silver Bluff's smaller guards.

"It was a challenge for our bigs to get out and guard, and I think they're the ones who did an excellent job getting out and defending guards. For big guys to be able to get out and move their feet... it was a great challenge for them, and they accepted it," Jackson said after the game.

Aiken's Antonio Bussey - 6'7" Center

Aiken's size and length is imposing. Baltimore is joined down low by senior Antonio Bussey (6'7"), and they are flanked on the wings by seniors Mathis and Kevin Williamson, who each stand 6'4".

Silver Bluff's Jadakiss Wright

Jadakiss Wright led Silver Bluff with 9 points. Wright scored all of his points by making 3 first half three pointers. The third cut Aiken's lead to 4 at 21-17 with 33 seconds left in the second quarter. That was the closest the Bulldogs would get the rest of the game.

The Hornets (1-0) play their first home game Friday against Lexington (4-1). Silver Bluff (1-1) will host South Aiken (1-0) Friday.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Glenn Hills earns road win over Midland Valley with a balanced attack

Four Glenn Hills players scored in double figures in the Spartans' 66-53 road win over Midland Valley Tuesday. Tim Williamson scored 12 of his team high 18 points in the fourth quarter when the Spartans ran away from the Mustangs by closing the game with a 19-9 run. Anthoney Ray, Midland Valley's 6'4" star guard, led all scorers with 20.

Glenn Hills (2-0) was sparked at different times by different senior leaders. Isaiah Bauman (11 points) scored consecutive field goals to erase a 4 point Midland Valley lead and even the score at 17 after one quarter. Timmy Sellers (12) scored on three straight put backs in the second quarter to help the Spartans take a 34-31 lead at intermission. And John Whitehead (13 points, 9 in the second half) and Williamson shouldered most of the second half load.

Full Game Highlights

Williamson, a transfer from Hephzibah, talked about attacking the basket off the screen and roll and how much he enjoys his new team in this post game interview:

The Spartans host Richmond (4-1) Friday. Midland Valley (0-1) hosts Butler (1-1) Thursday.

Cross Creek sweeps Butler in girls and boys home opener

Sophomore Micah Bess scored with less than 40 seconds remaining to give Cross Creek a 40-39 lead over Butler. And teammate Jordyn Dorsey made a steal on the Lady Razorbacks' final defensive possession to seal Cross Creek's home opening win Tuesday.

Full Game Highlights

Dorsey, a freshman, scored 10 of her game high 15 points during a 10 minute second half stretch that set up the wild finish. Dorsey scored 11 of Cross Creek's 18 second half points, including 2 three pointers that both tied the game, first at 32 in the final minute of the third quarter, and next at 35 moments later. Dorsey talked about her love for the game and about whether she was nervous in the game's most tense minutes in this post game interview:

The Lady Razorbacks (2-1) will visit Josey next Tuesday. The Lady Bulldogs (0-2) travel to Midland Valley Thursday.

Cross Creek's boys complete the unlikely sweep

Cross Creek toppled Butler 59-39, an outcome that almost nobody would have expected, behind 11 points each from Jatravious Stewart and Devon Hicks. Having beaten one class AA preseason top 10 team in the Bulldogs, the Razorbacks are off until next Tuesday when they will visit Josey, ranked #4 in class AA preseason poll by the AJC.

Butler faces a tough pair of games Thursday at Midland Valley and Friday at Baldwin.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Coach Buck Harris helps preview Baldwin's pair of weekend home games against Butler and WACO

Brenden Robertson: 18 ppg, 7 rpg, 53% FG through 4 games.

Baldwin of class AAAA's region 3 (which includes Richmond, Thomson, and other local teams) won two games last week to improve to 2-2 after opening the season with a pair of losses to AC Flora and Johnson at the tip-off tourney at Evans. The losses, suffered without the services of 3 year starters Torez Hicks and Donte Justice, may have been a blessing in disguise because coach Buck Harris was able to challenge players like Brenden Robertson (18 ppg, 53% FG), Charles Ubah (9 ppg, 44% 3 pt FG), and Ty’Rec Ray (17 points vs Johnson) to lead the way against two teams that will likely go deep into this season’s state playoffs in their respective classes.

“I told those guys that they could find their own identity without Torez and Donte. That they needed to because we're only going to be as strong as the guys coming off the bench are playing. And I think they answered that test,” said Harris last Sunday after Baldwin’s first weekend of play.

Get to know the Baldwin Braves

With Justice and Hicks back in the lineup, Baldwin, the region champion last season, should be close to mid season form this Friday and Saturday when Harris hosts a pair of formidable, and familiar, foes: Butler (class AA’s #6 ranked preseason team by the AJC) and Washington County. As the coach of Laney’s region championship teams in 2014 and 2015, Harris did battle with both of those teams in region play in the past.

Justice scored 29 points and made 40% of his three pointers in Baldwin’s pair of wins over Jones County and Hancock Central last week, both on the road. Hicks dished 9 assists in that span. A complete Braves roster playing at home for the first time this season this weekend should be cause for lots of excitement in Milledgeville.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Aquinas's defense "travelled" to prime time tournament and led to a blowout win over a top 10 foe

Tre Gommillion led the team in scoring (17 ppg) and rebounding (11 rpg) last weekend.

Most teams go through complete seasons without the players and the coaches all being on one page and aiming for one goal. And most teams aren’t successful. Those that are successful usually take some time to gel. But Aquinas's players and coaches are both wonderfully aligned at a very early stage in the season. As far back as _, Aquinas coach Darren Douglas and his top returning player, and according to the Augusta Chronicle the area’s top returning player, Tre Gomillion, were perfectly aligned with their words. In our preseason interview (below) it became clear that among the three of us, I was the only guy who didn’t know that the Irish expected, and knew how, to hold opponents to less than 40 points per game:

The Fighting Irish proved in a pair of high level games at last weekend’s Holiday Hoopsgiving tournament that their actions on the defensive end of the court will speak even louder than their words.

Watch the archived broadcast of Aquinas's win over #9 (class A private) Eagles Landing at the link below:

In its season opener, Aquinas lost a close game (45-42) to Brooklyn (NY) power house Bishop Loughlin. The Irish led throughout the contest after allowing only 19 first half points. The next morning the Irish took their game to another level on both ends of the court against Eagles Landing Christian Academy, which the AJC ranked #9 in class A private in its preseason rankings. Aquinas held ELCA to 15 first half points, and Gomillion scored 20 points to lead a balanced Irish attack that included impressive inside play by 6’5” seniors Dajuan Hill and Cameron Gardner and timely shooting by senior guards Trent Bowdre and Gerald Merriweather. And senior South Aiken transfer Daniel Parrish excelled in all areas, as he does often, scoring 9 points, grabbing 10 rebounds, and dishing 5 assists.

As you can hear in the interview above, the defensive chops at Aquinas under coach Douglas were firmly established during last season’s 26-2 run that ended with an appearance in the quarterfinals of the state playoffs. But last season the Irish didn’t have a chance to showcase that defense on a stage like the one at the Holiday Hoopsgiving, or against teams like Bishop Loughlin or ELCA, until March.

Watching them do it in November this year makes me excited about what Gomillion and a cast of seniors will do in their second season under Douglas’s leadership.

Greenbrier's Crawford and Company engineer a comeback win over Laney at the Thanksgiving Classic at Paine

Greenbrier's Richard Crawford III would not let last season's history - when Crawford's game tying 3 against Laney was answered by a game winning Wildcat basket - repeat itself Saturday at Paine. The junior guard scored 25 points to lead the Wolfpack to a 71-67 overtime comeback win over Laney at the Thanksgiving Classic. The Wolfpack trailed by 21 at one point during the second quarter. Crawford and Josh Conzett (17 points) combined to make 9 three pointers. And 37 of the pair's 42 combined points came after halftime when Greenbrier dug itself out of a 31-16 deficit.

Full Game Highlights:

In the post game interview below, Crawford talked about the lessons he learned during last season's dramatic early season game against Laney, and he shared what he told his teammates when they trailed at halftime. And we recount the huge shots he and Conzett made late in regulation and during overtime.

Greenbrier (4-1) also got 11 points and an excellent floor game from senior Austin Canaday.

Donald Henley led Laney (3-1) with 25 points, and PJ Walker added 18.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Glenn Hills opens season with win over Greenbrier at Paine

Timmy Sellers (Glenn Hills) works in the post against Greenbrier

Senior Isaiah Bauman made a three pointer with less than 2 minutes remaining to give Glenn Hills a 53-51 lead over Greenbrier, and the Spartans opened the season with a 64-57 win at Paine College. Fellow senior Tim Williamson found Bauman for the big shot, and the transfer from Hephzibah recorded a team high 18 points in the win. Greenbier was led by senior Austin Canaday, who scored 22 points in the loss.

The Spartans darted out to a 24-12 advantage in the second quarter behind the dominant play in the paint of 6'8" senior Timmy Sellers, who finished with 12 points, all of which were recorded by the midway point of the third quarter.

Greenbrier's Canaday and Richard Crawford III led a second quarter comeback when Crawford (9 points) nailed 2 of his 3 three pointers and Canaday made multiple plays on both ends to create scoring opportunities. The teams traded leads throughout the second half before Bauman's three gave the Spartans the final advantage.

Glenn Hills (1-0) travels to Midland Valley Tuesday. Greenbrier (3-1) will face Laney at 6:15 at Paine.

Richmond cruises to 3-0 start and adds Stevens before Saturday’s showdown with undefeated Lakeside

Richmond senior DT Stevens

Coach Steve Nobles’s Musketeers topped Harlem 73-30 Saturday at Paine College and have started the season with 3 wins ahead of tonight’s showdown with Lakeside, which is also 3-0. Richmond can thank underclassmen like Isaiah Williams, Cobi Wood, and Vontrez Roberts for the fast start.

But Friday’s leading scorer, Senior DT Stevens, who played for the first time this year after finishing a standout season on the football field, looked to me like he was getting back into basketball shape just in time for tonight’s intriguing matchup. DT was an all region performer on last year’s regular season championship squad.

Stevens scored 15 points and his contributions will be important against Lakeside, which is averaging just under 90 points per game behind the sizzling scoring punch of Kalen Williams (junior) and Tyshun Briscoe (sophomore). Williams scored 74 points in a pair of wins last weekend.

Saturday’s 8:00 matchup between two undefeated teams may be the most exciting matchup we see this weekend at Paine. Or anywhere so far in this young season.

Evans gets in the win column with a victory over Josey at Paine

Size matters, and that simple point was proven Friday at Paine College in the first games of the Thanksgiving Classic. Earlier I documented the impact 6’8” Timmy Sellers had in Glenn Hills’ win over Greenbrier. Dylan Cardwell, Evans High’s 6’9” sophomore center, had a similar impact on his team’s 50-48 win over Josey.

Trailing 45-44 with less than 2 minutes remaining, Cardwell grabbed 2 defensive rebounds and made 2 impressive outlet passes that led to 2 uncontested layups by fellow sophomore Christian Chambers to give the Knights a 48-45 cushion that eventually led to their first win of the season.

Chambers led the Knights (1-2) with 17 points and junior Cameron Cabarrus added 13. Ricardez Williams scored 19 points to lead the Eagles (0-3).

Evans will face Statesboro Saturday at Paine at noon, and Josey will meet Harlem at 3:30.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Watson-Gayle pours in the threes and Benedict tops Augusta in Columbia

Jelani Watson-Gayle scored 18 points on 7-8 shooting (4-5 from three) in Benedict"a win.

Dimitri Cook's three point play with 3 seconds remaining broke a 79 all tie and proved to be enough to finish an 83-79 home win for Benedict College over non-conference rival Augusta University.

The Tigers were paced by former Georgia Bulldog Brandon Morris, who scored 23 points and grabbed 8 rebounds. Cairo Brown added 21. The Jaguars were led by senior Tamyrik Fields (23 points and 8 rebounds), Tyvez Monroe (20 points), and Mikkel Kolstad (14 points and 9 assists).

Full Game Highlights

Benedict's fantastic freshman Jelani Watson-Gayle continued a hot start to his college career by scoring 18 points and making all but 1 shot. His inside hand layup past Augusta's Monroe with 2:31 remaining gave the Tigers a "cushion" (as Jelani called it in his post game interview below) that was enough to set up Cook's dramatic finish.

Augusta clawed back even after Watson-Gayle's bucket as Deane Williams (10 points) nailed a pair of free throws and put back a miss by Fields to tie the game at 79 with less than 30 seconds remaining.

Augusta's home opener is Saturday at 4:00 against Bowie State

Both teams play again Saturday. Augusta (2-2) hosts Bowie State at 4:00 in the season's first home game. The Tigers travel to SIAC opponent Lemoyne-Owen.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Laney tips off season and starts the journey from being a champion... to becoming a dynasty

Laney’s Lady Wildcats opened the 2017-18 season Monday with a 79-43 win over Greenbrier at Glenn Hills. Jaiden Hamilton scored 21 points and made 5 three pointers. De'sha Benjamin and Jhessyka Williams each added 18.

AugBball’s special student reporter Robert Drew was there to capture the highlights for the season debut of the prohibitive favorite to repeat as class AA’s state champion:

Ordinarily, I wouldn’t label a team as the favorite to win a state title on the first day of the season. But Laney is no ordinary team. Seniors De’sha Benjamin, who recently signed with Alabama, and Jhessyka Williams have won two state titles in three seasons under coach Otis Smart. Williams will almost certainly join Benjamin on the college basketball scene next season. When she does, we will look back at the four year run that current Clemson star Aliyah Collier (Laney ‘2015) started, and realize that every single player who played major minutes on those state title teams (whether the number of titles will stand at 2 or 3 after March) all will have become college basketball players.

To show proof, I give you the list of Lady Wildcats playing college basketball from Laney’s historic 3 year run:

Aliyah Collier (‘15) - Clemson
Gemiya Bowman (‘16) - Albany State
Jazmin Holmon (‘16) - Mississippi Valley State
Aubriana Bonner (‘17) - Alabama A&M
Jasmine Bartlett (‘17) - Savannah State
De’sha Benjamin (‘18) - Alabama

Monday night began coach Smart’s squad’s attempt to do what is unprecedented in our area: win 3 state titles in 4 seasons. Because this program is so exceptional and so extraordinary, I will continue to give the squad a label I wouldn’t give any other team before this season:* the prohibitive favorite to win a state title. Again.

And here’s another label the ladies from the Boulevard deserve without question: Dynasty.

Let’s enjoy the ride as the Lady Wildcats attempt to make area basketball history.

*I was careful to say I wouldn’t call any other team besides Laney a prohibitive favorite to win a state title before *this* particular season because, as the most die hard girls hoops fans know, there is one more local team that deserves the same label as Laney. But I’ll talk much more about that team when it officially tips off in the coming week.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Lakeside scored nearly 200 in season's first 2 games behind lights out shooting of Kalen Williams, Tyshon Briscoe and company

Sophomore Tyshon Briscoe made 8 of 14 3 pt FGs in Lakeside's first 2 games.

The Panthers are probably still scoring points Sunday judging from the way Jeff Williams’s squad put the ball in the hoop in two dominating wins at the Wolfpack Tip-off Challenge. Lakeside averaged 97 ppg in victories over Augusta Christian (109-82) and Josey (84-77).

Junior star Kalen Williams posted eye popping numbers in the wins, scoring 34 and 40 points while making 28 of 39 field goal attempts.

The dynamo posted 30 points in the first half alone Saturday when Lakeside took a 57-31 lead over Josey at the break.

Tyshon Briscoe, a sophomore, and Tucker Gilbert, a 6’6” junior, also shined. Briscoe tallied 33 points in the two outings, making 8 of 14 threes. And Gilbert recorded 25 points and 23 rebounds.

Lakeside (2-0) will face Statesboro Friday (7:00 PM) and Richmond Saturday (8:00 PM) in a Thanksgiving tournament at Paine College. The Panthers are coming off the best season in school history (21-5 overall and 13-0 in region play). Many wonder if coach Williams's 2017-18 team can be as good as last year's region championship group. After seeing the game against Josey, I will be surprised if the new Lakeside Panthers don't prove themselves to be much improved.

Greenbrier poured in the threes against Augusta Christian and started the season 3-0

Richard Crawford makes the first of eight Greenbrier threes in a 4:30 time span.

The Wolfpack started fast with 3 wins in the season's first week, beginning with a 61-34 victory over Harlem, which was followed by back-to-back wins over #4 ranked (Georgia’s class AA) Josey (59-49) and Augusta Christian (79-52) in the Wolfpack Tip-off Challenge.

Leading returning scorers Austin Canaday and Richard Crawford III drained a combined 10 threes in the win against Augusta Christian, including 7 bombs in a 4:30 spurt in which the Wolfpack used a 27-0 run to put away the Lions.

Coach Casey Heckathorn was as impressed with the Wolfpack's three point barrage as I.

"That was ridiculous. Our kids couldn't even sit down on the bench. I've never been part of a run like that!" Heckathorn said in a message Sunday.

Canaday led the Wolfpack with 22 points against Augusta Christian and Crawford added 18. The duo has scored in double figures in each of the first three games. And Heckathorn has been pleased with the play of frontline players like junior Justin Stevens, who scored 13 points Saturday.

"Stevens is slowly emerging. He is crazy athletic! You need to see him in dunk contest at (this weekend's Thanksgiving tournament)," said Greenbrier's coach.

The Wolfpack will face two tough teams this weekend at the Thanksgiving tournament at Paine. Friday's (3:30 PM) opponent, Glenn Hills, was ranked #7 in class AA by the AJC. And Saturday's foe, Laney, claimed the #4 spot in the same poll.

Dunlop impresses and Augusta Christian hangs tough, for stretches, against Lakeside and Greenbrier

Nate Dunlop scored 65 points in 2 Wolfpack Challenge Tip-off games.

The Lions, led by 6’5” junior scoring phenom Nate Dunlop, competed fiercely and evenly against two impressive teams, Lakeside and Greenbrier, in both Wolfpack Tip-off Challenge games last weekend. At least until the 40 point mark in both games. Lakeside pulled away from a 41-40 stalemate to hang 109 on AC despite 39 points from Dunlop. And after Dunlop’s 3 point play with 2:31 remaining in the third against Greenbrier gave the Lions a 41-37 advantage Saturday night, the Wolfpack went on a 27-0 burst, and AC fell to 1-2.

Dunlop, who averaged 28 ppg last season, is more versatile than any area high school player I’ve seen here in quite some time. He is certainly the area’s top post player and that is not even his primary position. He works hard to get position, he has sure hands, he draws fouls and finishes through contact, and he grabs tough rebounds.

On the perimeter he has a pure stroke from distance, and he handles and passes the ball extremely well. Like his inside play, his play away from the basket is as good as anybody’s within short driving distance.

Nate scored 39 and 26 points Friday and Saturday, overshadowed only slightly by Lakeside’s Kalen Williams’s 74 in two wins. 

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Today's AugBball Schedule

Today’s local hoops schedule:

High school games on the AugBball radar:

Baldwin​ vs Johnson (Savannah at Evans
- According to the AJC​, Baldwin is the #4 team in GA’s class AAAA and Johnson is #4 in AAA

Laney vs Savannah at Evans
- Laney is #5 in AAA

Lakeside vs Josey at Greenbrier

Augusta Christian at Greenbrier

College games on the AugBball radar:

Charleston Southern​ at USC Upstate on ESPN2
- Preseason Big South Conference​ first team pick Christian Keeling will make his 2017-18 debut in this one!

Augusta University​ at West Georgia
- The Jaguars will aim to improve to 3-0. Coach Dip Metress’s squad has 5 players averaging double figures after 2 games.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Previews for the 3 HS tip-off tournament games featured Friday at AugBball: Baldwin-Flora, Lakeside-AC, and Greenbrier-Josey

Kalen Williams (left) and Nate Dunlop (right), 2 of the area's best, meet tonight at Greenbrier

For Friday’s live highlights and updates from Greenbrier’s Wolfpack Tip-off Challenge and Evans’ Hoopfest Tip-off, follow the following @AugBball channels:

@AugBball on Facebook
@AugBball on Instagram
@AugBball on Twitter

Friday at the Evans Hoopfest Tip-off

Baldwin vs AC Flora at Evans at 5:30

- Buck Harris’ Braves are the defending region champs and are ranked #4 in the AJC’s preseason class AAAA rankings as well as 4th on my preseason list of this area’s best teams.

Friday at Greenbrier’s Wolfpack Tip-Off Challenge

Lakeside vs Augusta Christian at Greenbrier at 7:00

- Lakeside went 21-6 in coach Jeff Williams’ first head coaching season, complete with a 13-0 league record and the school’s first ever region championship. The Panthers return junior star Kalen Williams and a good mix of returnees and newcomers.

- Augusta Christian is finally able to play Georgia’s public schools and 6’5” 210 pound junior guard Nate Dunlop is the area’s top returning scorer and probably the top player entering the season. Dunlop averaged 28 ppg and shot 38% from 3 last season.

Josey at Greenbrier at 8:30

- Josey clocked in as the #4 ranked class AAAA team in the AJC’s poll to go nicely with the Eagles’ final 4 finish last March. Rodriguez Daggett will lead the Eagles who I hope are eager to prove me wrong for not putting them on my preseason area top 10 list.

Austin Canaday: Sr, Greenbrier

- Greenbrier’s Austin Canaday and Richard Crawford make for a dangerous backcourt. The Wolfpack will try to improve to 2-0 tonight after beating Harlem soundly Wednesday.

Last season tipped off when Crawford and Laney’s Donald Henley Jr. dueled in Friday’s Wolfpack Challenge night cap game:

In a recent text interview, Greenbrier coach Casey Heckathorn told me about the great relationships and matchups that the Challenge has fostered over its 3 year history and the neat addition of Augusta Christian:

We love having both Laney and Josey and have great relationships and cross rivals with those schools now. We did draw Laney for another tournament so we’re happy for that.

With Laney out this year and the opportunity to include private schools we thought ACS was a great fit as their fan base and population is greatly based out of the lakeside and greenbrier zones. There’s a lot of interest in them proving themselves against public schools. We thought it was a good fit.

Sounds like a great fit and a great night of area high school hoops!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Gomillion leads Aquinas past Midland Valley and more results from Tuesday

Tre Gomillion (Aquinas)

Aquinas 64, Midland Valley 31

Preseason scrimmage game

Richmond 65, Grovetown 49

I only watched 1 quarter of Richmond’s 65-49 home win over Grovetown. But I was very impressed with the Musketeers. The team has good inside players and guards who can shoot and score and who want to throw the ball inside to the bigs. And I don’t think any of tonight’s starters were seniors. Coach Steve Nobles always does a good job.

Grovetown Lady Warriors 51, Richmond 34

Grovetown improved to 2-0.
Ayana Collins - 13, Marissa Tate 11 (3 threes), Savannah Giles 8

Richmond's Jakiyah Parker led all scorers with 16.

Augusta Christian 72, Alleluia 47

Nate Dunlop (Augusta Christian) - 23 points

Ben Freed (Alleluia) - 33 points

Glenn Hills 65, Harrison 61

Several people approached me in the gym to tell me I was wrong for only ranking Glenn Hills #6 in my preseason ranking. Tuesday's result may be seen as a sign they were right and I was wrong. But time and results will tell for sure.

 College Basketball

Benedict freshman Jelani Watson-Gayle (Westminster ‘17) scored 21 points in a 105-71 win over Carver. Watson-Gayle has scored 58 points in the team’s first 3 games. Benedict (3-0) will host Augusta next Tuesday and I’ll report live from the scene.

Carver's Malique Gibbons (Thomson '14) scored 19 points in the loss.

Thank you Ron Freeman for the film and the updates!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Georgia Southern, South Carolina and Clayton State all win at home to headline Monday's AugBball college basketball results

Follow @AugBball on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for live highlights and updates from the AugBball Game of the Day!

Georgia Southern 77, CSU Bakersfield 53

Georgia Southern creamed CSU Bakersfield 77-53 in the first home game of the season for the Eagles, who improved to 2-0 after an 85-83 win at Wake Forest Friday. Tookie Brown (Morgan County '15) posted nearly flawless shooting Numbers, making 7 of 8 field goals and 9 of 10 free throws. Fellow preseason All Sun Belt Conference first team pick Ike Smith added 21 points on 4-7 three point shooting.

South Carolina 70, Western Michigan 60

Hassani Gravett scored 15 points and Frank Booker (Westside '13) added 14 as the Gamecocks improved to 2-0 Monday on the night when last season's Final Four banner was hung at Colonial Life Arena. Booker made 5 of 8 field goals and 3 of 6 from deep to follow up a 12 point (3-5 3 pt FG) performance in Friday's win at Wofford.

Clayton State 106, Carver 78 (Exhibition)

Denzel Council, a senior transfer from Armstrong State, scored 25 points to lead the Lakers to a convincing exhibition game win at home. Aubrey McRae (Glenn Hills '14), who transferred from Georgia Southern, added 19 points on 4-7 3 point shooting. And Jaylen Taylor (Laney '15) added 12.

Wednesday Clayton State opens its regular season at Queens (2-0), which was ranked as high as #2 in Division II by at least one preseason poll.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Monday night’s AugBball college basketball schedule and one more weekend standout

Follow @AugBball's Monday night live coverage of Georgia Southern's home opener and more games including area players! 

Monday night’s AugBball college basketball schedule:

Follow @AugBball for live updates and highlights from CBB's opening day at these channels:

@AugBball on Facebook
@AugBball on Instagram
@AugBball on Twitter

7:00 PM

Carver at Clayton State

Area players:
- Clayton State’s Aubrey Mcrae (Glenn Hills ‘14), Jaylen Taylor (Laney ‘15) and Moses Williams (Richmond ‘17)
- Carver’s Malique Gibbons and Marquel Gibbons (Thomson ‘14 and ‘16)
Live stats -
Video -

7:00 PM

Temple women vs Rutgers

Area player: Temple’s Emani Mayo (Hephzibah ‘17)
Live stats -

7:30 PM

Georgia Southern vs CSU Bakersfield

Area player: Tookie Brown (Morgan County ‘15)

Brown led the Eagles to an upset win at Wake Forest Friday night.

Tonight is GS’s home opener.

Live stats -
Video -

8:00 PM

South Carolina vs Western Michigan

Area player: South Carolina’s Frank Booker (Westside ‘13)

The Gamecocks will hang their 2017 Final Four banner before this home opener. Booker scored 12 points Friday in the Gamecocks’ opening night win at Wofford:

Live stats:

8:00 PM

Savannah State women at Alabama State

Area player: Savannah State’s Jazmine Bartlett (Laney ‘17)
Live stats -

One more standout performer from the weekend

If you followed the @AugBball live coverage on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter this weekend you know all about Don Coleman's 62 points in two Cal games; Ahmed Hill's 19 point, 9 rebound performance, complete with a highlight dunk off the backboard, in Virginia Tech's season opening win over Detroit Mercy; Jelani Watson-Gayle's blistering beginning for 2-0 Benedict; and Tamyrik Fields's opening 19 point opening night thunderous second half dunk that put Augusta ahead of Mount Olive.

Before we move into a new week, I want to recognize the play this weekend of Augusta University forward Deane Williams in the Jaguars' back-to-back season opening wins at Barton College. 38 points on 15 of 18 field goal shooting (including a poster dunk on the first possession of the season shown here) and 16 rebounds was an eye popping stat line for the 6'8" junior!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

AugBball schedule - Sat, 11-11-17

HS Bball’s 2017-18 opening game:

Butler at Grovetown (girls) - 5:00
Butler at Grovetown (boys) - 6:30

Expect @AugBball bonus coverage (score updates and video highlights) for these opening HS Bball games

Men’s and Women’s CBB schedule:

Augusta at Barton College - 1:00
Live stats

Benedict vs AUM in Orangeburg - 1:30
Area player: Benedict’s Jelani Watson-Gayle (Westminster ‘17), who scored 23 points in BC’s season opening 86-74 win over Montevallo Friday.

Queens vs North Georgia at Georgia College - 1:30
Area player: Queens’s Daniel Carr (Midland Valley ‘16)

Lander Women vs Carson Newman at USC Aiken - 2:00
Area player: Lander’s Tabitha Dailey (Butler ‘16)

USC Aiken women vs Lincoln Memorial - 4:00
Area players: USC Aiken’s Janae Simpson (Greenbrier ‘15), Lonesha Lee (North Augusta ‘16) and Kwajelin Farrar* (Grovetown ‘16) *likely out due to injury

Lenoir Rhyne vs Francis Marion at Pembroke - 5:00
Area player: Francis Marion's Jaquez Smith (North Augusta '16)

Albany State women at Valdosta State - 6:00 PM
Area player: Albany State's Gemiya Bowman (Laney '16)

NJIT vs Wagner - 6:00
Area player: NJIT’s San Antonio Brinson (Thomson ‘16)

Mars Hill at Limestone - 7:30
Area player - Mars Hill's Justen Hartfield (Greenbrier '16)
Area player: Limestone's TJ Sheppard (North Augusta '13)

*I am still double checking times. And thanks to the people who have been reminding me of names to check for. On that note, I will be populating my calendar (and this post if need be) with the info for the following players:

Naomi Hughes - Air Force
Morgan Taylor - Navy
Nick Meyers - Belmont Abbey
Destiny Brewton - Arkansas Pine Bluff

Jasmine Holloman - Mississippi Valley State

Standout performers from opening day of college basketball: Includes Tamyrik Fields, Ahmed Hill, Don Coleman, Frank Booker and more!

1) Tamyrik Fields (Aquinas '14) - Augusta University

2) Tookie Brown (Morgan County '15) - Georgia Southern

3) Ahmed Hill (Aquinas '14) - Augusta University

19 points and 9 rebounds in Virginia Tech's 111-79 win over Detroit Mercy

4) Aaron Byrd (Augusta University)

5) Frank Booker (Westside '13) - South Carolina

6) Don Coleman (Butler '15) - California

Don Coleman is the kind of player who will go down swinging if he has to go down. It was a big individual night for Butler's all time leading scorer in Cal's loss to UC Riverside.

7) Jelani Watson-Gayle (Westminster '17) - Benedict

Jelani scored 23 points (4-8 3 pt FG) in BC's 86-74 win over Montevallo in his first collegiate game.

8) Jasmine Robinson (Richmond '17) - Troy

10 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists in Troy's 89-62 win over Stillman

9) Deane Williams - Augusta University

10) Mckenna Lawrence (Evans '16) - Jacksonville

11 points (3-5 3 pt FG) in 103-44 win over Brewton Parker.

Friday, November 10, 2017

High school boys preseason top 10 and the AugBball Games of the Day for the first week of HS play

Kevin Williamson (Aiken) left and Daniel Parrish (Aquinas) right

In this post are the following:
1) Preseason top 10 teams with a special focus on the top two teams, #2 Aquinas and #1 Aiken
2) My current schedule for week 1 HS hoops Game of the Day AugBball coverage

AugBball Preseason Top 10 Teams:

#10 Midland Valley (Last season 7-17)
#9 Richmond (23-6, GHSA class AAAA region 3 runner up)
#8 Lakeside (21-5, class AAAAAA region 3 champion)
#7 Butler (18-10, class AA region 4 runner up)
#6 Glenn Hills (16-10)
#5 Laney (25-6, class AA region 4 champion, state playoff quarterfinals)
#4 Baldwin (18-9, class AAAA 3 champion)
#3 North Augusta (20-6, SCHSL class AAAA, region 4 runner up)

#2 Aquinas

Last season:
GHSA class A region 7 champion
Reached quarterfinal in state playoffs in GHSA class A private

The two teams at the top of my preseason top 10, Aiken and Aquinas, have two common traits. Both teams return their best players from undefeated region championship teams that reached the quarterfinals of the state playoffs. And both teams have very tall players at almost every position. I count maybe 8 players 6'3-6'4" and above in the two starting lineups. Both teams are legitimate state title contenders.

Aquinas will open before Aiken when the Fighting Irish play Bishop Loughlin (Brooklyn, NY) and Eagles Landing Christian Academy 14 hours apart in the highly regarded Holiday Hoopsgiving tournament November 24 and 25. The tournament made the USA Today High School Sports list of the top 15 tournaments in the country this season:

Eagles Landing is one of class A private's top 4 teams, as is Aquinas. So coach Darren Douglas's team will be able to measure itself immediately after the season tips off. The addition of Daniel Parrish, a 6'4" senior wing who transferred from South Aiken, will give Aquinas the length to challenge even last season's almost unbelievable 36 points allowed per game mark, which was good for first in the state.

Coach Douglas talked to me at a recent practice about the Holiday Hoopsgiving tournament, the addition of Parrish, and more:

#1 Aiken

Last season:
SCHSL class AAAA region 4 champion
Reached quarterfinal in state playoffs in SCHSL class AAAA

Aiken will not officially get started until the Hornets visit Silver Bluff on November 29. But I saw coach Darris Jackson's squad in a recent scrimmage against Lakeside, and the Hornets looked extremely sharp, and imposing, and experienced.

As you can see, Aiken's deep roster is huge, and productive, at almost every position:

Nazae Baltimore - 6'6" junior - 8 ppg, 7 rpg
Antonio Bussey - 6'7" senior
Kevin Williamson - 6'4" senior - 10 ppg, 4 rpg - All Region
Calvin Mathis - 6'4" senior - 7 ppg, 4 rpg, 2 apg
Jordan Lytes - 6'1" senior - 10 ppg, 4 apg - All Region
Maison Hall - 6'1" junior - 5 ppg, 3 rpg
George Williams - 6'2" junior - team leader in 3s made and 3 pt%

AugBball Game of the Day coverage of the first week of HS hoops

Grovetown at Butler (girls and boys)

Saturday, 11-11
AugBball Bonus Coverage

Butler's Drez McBride (16 ppg, 5 rpg) and Keith Littles (10 ppg, 3 rpg) immediately stepped into leadership roles during the first game of last season, a win over Lakeside. 

The senior duo will try to get the Bulldogs off to a good start on the road against a talented bunch at Grovetown. The Warriors are led by senior sharp shooter Eric Graham, who also started last season with a strong offensive showing in a game I featured:

Midland Valley at Aquinas (preseason scrimmage)

Saturday, 11-14
AugBball Game of the Day

Scrimmage or not, I won't miss it when two of the area's best meet in a sort of rare cross border heavy weight matchup. Aquinas's Tre Gomillion, last season's Augusta Chronicle Player of the Year, his teammate Daniel Parrish, and Midland Valley's Anthoney Ray all seem to me like they will be college players next season.

6'4" senior wing Anthoney Ray (Midland Valley) averaged 16 ppg last season.

Augusta Christian vs Lakeside at Greenbrier

Friday, 11-17
AugBball Game of the Day

This Wolfpack Challenge contest, which follows a Greenbrier-Josey which will likely become part of a double-header AugBball Game of the Day, features two of the area's best junior... point guards. That's right. As AC coach Charles Welch tells us in the interview below, the 6'6" 210 pound junior Nate Dunlop, who scored 28 ppg last season, will bring the ball up the court this season. (I like this move a lot.) Dunlop will face highly touted Lakeside lead guard Kalen Williams (16 ppg), also a junior, in this one.

In addition to Friday's Greenbrier-Josey game and Saturday's Greenbrier-Augusta Christian game, I'll try to add more games to the first week's coverage schedule, especially those including Baldwin, Laney, and Evans in this tip off tournament at Evans Friday and Saturday:

Thursday, November 9, 2017

More than 25 local players will suit up for NCAA Division I and II teams Friday on the college basketball season's opening day

Follow @AugBball for live updates and highlights from CBB's opening day at these channels:

@AugBball on Facebook
@AugBball on Instagram
@AugBball on Twitter

By my count, 28 area raised men and women basketball players will play for NCAA Division I and II schools Friday during what is officially the first day of the college basketball season. Here is a list of games, times, players involved, and links to follow the scores, stats, and broadcasts from the games.

Augusta vs Mount Olive at Barton College - 5:30 PM

AugBball Game of the Day

Area players: Augusta's Tamyrik Fields (Hephzibah and Aquinas '14), Kyle Doyle (Josey and Buford '13), and Mac McBride (Alleluia '16)

Troy women vs Stillman - 1:00 PM

@AugBball Bonus Coverage

Jasmine Robinson scored 11 points and dished 9 assists in Troy's exhibition win over AUM last week.

Area player: Troy's Jasmine Robinson (Richmond "17)
Live stats

California vs UC Riverside - Midnight

Area player: California's Don Coleman (Butler '15)
Watch on Pac 12 Network

Clemson women vs Kennesaw State - 11:00 AM

Area player: Clemson's Aliyah Collier (Laney '15) - *likely out due to injury

College of Charleston women vs Lipscomb 1:00 PM

Area player: College of Charleston's Destiny Marshall (Grovetown '17)
Live stats

Francis Marion vs Catawba at Pembroke - 1:00 PM

Area player: Francis Marion's Jaquez Smith (North Augusta '16)
Live stats

Albany State women vs West Florida - 5:30 PM

Area player: Albany State's Gemiya Bowman (Laney '16)

Benedict vs Montevallo in Orangeburg - 5:30 PM

Area player: Benedict's Jelani Watson-Gayle (Westminster '17)

Benedict's Jelani Watson-Gayle (Westminster '17)

Jacksonville women vs Brewton Parker - 5:30 PM

Area player: Jacksonville's Mckenna Lawrence (Evans '16)

Lander women vs Lincoln Memorial at USC Aiken - 5:30 PM

Area player: Lander's Tabitha Dailey (Butler '16)

Mars Hill vs Belmont Abbey at Limestone - 5:30 PM

Area player - Mars Hill's Justen Hartfield (Greenbrier '16)

Alabama A&M women at Alabama - 6:00 PM

Area player: Alabama A&M's Aubriana Bonner (Laney '17)

Virginia Tech vs Detroit - 6:00 PM

Area player: Ahmed Hill (Aquinas '14)

Charleston Southern at Davidson - 7:00 PM

Area player: Charleston Southern's Christian Keeling (out due to injury)

Georgia Southwestern at Radford - 7:00 PM

Area player: Georgia Southwestern's Jason Weaver (Richmond '17)

Savannah State women vs Lagrange

Area player: Savannah State's Jasmine Bartlett (Laney '17)

South Carolina at Wofford - 7:00 PM

Area player: South Carolina's Frank Booker (Westside '13)

Temple women vs Delaware State - 7:00 PM

Area players: Temple's Emani Mayo and Nicolette Mayo (Hephzibah '17)

Young Harris at Barton College - 7:30 PM

Area player: Young Harris’s Ben Dresser (Alleluia ‘17)
Live stats

Limestone vs Wingate - 7:30 PM

Area player: Limestone's TJ Sheppard (North Augusta '13)

Queens at Georgia College - 7:30 PM

Area player: Daniel Carr (Midland Valley ‘16)
Live stats

USC Aiken women vs Carson Newman

Area players: USC Aiken’s Janae Simpson (Greenbrier ‘15), Lonesha Lee (North Augusta ‘16) and Kwajelin Farrar* (Grovetown ‘16) *likely out due to injury
Live stats


Auburn vs Norfolk State - 8:00 PM

Area player: Auburn's Malik Dunbar (North Augusta and Spring Valley '15)

Memphis women vs Tennessee State

Area player: Memphis's Alana Davis (Cross Creek '17)