Friday, January 25, 2019

Aiken-South Aiken and Evans-Heritage are the key region games AugBball will cover tonight

Charvis Jones and Cameron Cabarrus will try to help keep Aiken and Evans in contention in for top region spots tonight.

Winning the regular season region championship should be a goal for every team at the beginning of every season. Along with the distinction of being consistently better than your peers, rewards like an automatic spot in the state playoffs and beneficial seeding in the region tournament can mean the difference between a deep post season run and an early start to the off-season. In this post and those soon to follow I'll frame where each region race stands before the first region tournaments begin about 10 days from now.

North Augusta's boys and girls are breezing through South Carolina's class 4A, region 5; Aiken and South Aiken's boys will fight to stay close to the Jackets

The Lady Yellow Jackets appear to be sprinting towards their third straight state title, an accomplishment we haven't ever seen from any area team. Coach Al Young's class 4A squad left no doubt in anybody's mind about whether it is the best team in the Palmetto State by defeating the defending class 5A state champion Spring Valley 71-65 in an invitational game last Saturday at Eau Claire High School in Columbia.

Here's a mind blowing fact: That 6 point margin of victory marked the first time any team in South Carolina has come within single digits of the Lady Yellow Jackets in more than 3 years.

Tyliah Burns (top), Mya Burns (left), and J'mani Ingram (right)

Junior J'mani Ingram scored 26 points in the victory. Senior Mya Burns added 19, as did junior Tyliah Burns.

North Augusta's boys (16-5, 5-0) have also have been on a roll that has been unmatched area wide. Since sophomore RJ Felton rejoined the team after missing the first month of the season with an injury, the Yellow Jackets have won 12 of 14 games. Their average margin of victory in league play has been 20 points.

North Augusta's place at the top of the region standings had been Aiken's for the two seasons prior to this one. Aiken won all 16 league games during that stretch and reached the quarterfinals of the state playoffs both seasons. The Hornets (10-10, 3-2) will have a chance tonight to claw back into contention for a top 2 spot when they host arch rival South Aiken (8-10, 4-1) in a game that will be featured on the @AugBball social media timelines. The reward for a top two spot in the region in South Carolina is at least one home game in the state playoffs.

Rivals Evans and Lakeside try to settle their differences and hold off Heritage in the process

It has been exactly 2 weeks since Evans, then ranked #1 in Georgia's class 6A, recorded its first loss of the season, a 67-56 decision to Lakeside, which was ranked #3 at the time.

Since that night both teams have dropped an additional league game, setting up a final week of action in region 3 that will see those two rivals and Heritage fight for the top 2 spots in the regular season standings. A top two spot will bring a bye in the first round of the region tournament and therefore an automatic bid into the state playoffs.

Evans (19-2, 5-2) will host Heritage (11-10, 5-2) tonight before visiting current leader Lakeside (19-3, 6-1) Tuesday. Lakeside will host Alcovy (8-12, 2-5) tonight before Tuesday's big game.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

An update about nearly 50 college players who played their high school basketball in our area

Ahmed Hill (Aquinas '14) - Virginia Tech

I counted nearly 50 men who recently played high school hoops in our wide area who are now playing college basketball. In the summary below I listed their basic information like class, school, team records and rankings (when applicable), season statistics, upcoming game information and notable recent performances for the top performers:

Senior Ahmed Hill (Aquinas '14)

#10 Virginia Tech (ACC: 15-3, 4-2)

2018-19 Stats: 13 ppg, 3 rpg, 33 mpg; 46% FG, 43% 3pt FG, 91% FT

- Scored 20 points (4-7 3 pt) in Monday's 103-82 loss to North Carolina

Next: vs Syracuse Saturday at 8:00

Senior Malik Dunbar (North Augusta/ Spring Valley '15)

#16 Auburn (SEC: 13-5, 2-3)

2018-19 Stats: 9 ppg, 4 rpg, 18 mpg; 49% FG, 38% 3 pt FG

- Scored 12 points in last Saturday's 87-71 win over Wake Forest

Next: at Mississippi State Saturday at 7:30

Junior Christian Keeling (Laney '16)

Charleston Southern (Big South: 7-10, 1-3)

2018-19 Stats: 19 ppg, 6 rpg, 4 apg, 32 mpg; 42% FG, 35% 3 pt FG, 83% FT

- Scored 19 points (5-11 3 pt) in Saturday's 73-72 loss to Campbell

Next: at Radford Thursday at 7:30

Junior Daniel Carr (Midland Valley '16)

#9 (DII) Queens (Southern Athletic Conference): 17-2, 9-0)

2018-19 Stats: 17 ppg, 5 apg, 4 rpg; 46% FG, 45% 3pt, 82% FT

- Scored 19 points, dished 6 assists and grabbed 6 rebounds in Saturday's 98-69 win over Mars Hill

Next: vs Wingate tonight at 8:00

Senior Reggie Reid (Harlem '15)

#25 (DII) Texas A&M Commerce (Lone Star Athletic Conference: 14-3, 6-1)

2018-19 Stats: 16 ppg, 5 apg, 5 rpg; 41% FG, 31% 3 pt FG, 74% FT

- Scored 16 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in recent 112-99 win over Eastern New Mexico

Next: vs Western New Mexico Thursday 6:30 ET

Junior Darius Williams (Josey '15)

Prairie View A&M (Southwestern Athletic Conference: 7-11, 5-0)

2018-19 Stats: 10 ppg, 3 rpg, 21 mpg

Next: at Mississippi Valley State Saturday at 3:30 ET

Junior Ja'Shawn Brooks (Laney '15)

Mars Hill (South Athletic Conference: 7-9, 2-7)

2018-19 Stats: 21 ppg, 7 rpg, 3 apg; 48% FG, 49% 3 pt FG, 94% FT

- Tallied 20 points and 5 rebounds in Monday's 87-66 win over Coker

Next: vs Newberry Saturday at 4:00

Junior Jaquez Smith (North Augusta '16)

Francis Marion (Peach Belt Conference: 12-2, 8-1)

2018-19 Stats: 12 ppg, 4 apg, 29 mpg; 40% FG, 35% 3 pt FG

- Posted 17 points and 4 assists in a recent 72-69 win over Georgia Southwestern

Next: vs Augusta tonight at 7:30

Freshman Zep Jasper (Laney '16)

College of Charleston (Colonial Athletic Association: 14-6, 3-4)

2018-19 Stats: 6 ppg, 2 rpg, 27 mpg; 37% FG, 33% 3 pt FG, 77% FT

Next: vs Elon Thursday at 7:00

Freshman Tre Gomillion (Aquinas '18)

Gordon State (NJCAA Region 17: 11-7, 5-1)

2018-19 Stats: 14 ppg, 6 rpg, 3 apg; 63% FG, 50% 3 pt FG

- Scored 14 points and made a game winning 25 footer in a 79-77 win over Andrew College last Wednesday

Next: vs South Georgia Tech Saturday at 3:00

Senior TJ Sheppard (North Augusta '13)

Limestone (Conference Carolinas: 10-8, 4-4)

2018-19 Stats: 15 ppg, 4 rpg, 3 apg; 45% FG, 38% 3 pt FG, 78% FT

- Scored 20 points on 7-11 FG in Saturday's 93-82 win over Southern Wesleyan

Next: vs Mount Olive tonight at 7:30

Freshman Kevin Williamson (Aiken '18)

USC Salkehatchie (NJCAA Region 10: 12-6, 3-0)

2018-19 Stats: 12 ppg, 5 rpg; 43% FG, 82% FT

- Scored 15 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in last Wednesday's 107-101 win over Brunswick

Next: at Denmark Tech tonight at 7:00

Sophomore San Antonio Brinson (Thomson '16)

NJIT (Atlantic Sun Conference: 15-5, 3-2)

2018-19 Stats: 7 ppg, 5 rpg, 20 mpg

Next: vs Stetson Sunday at 4:00

Junior Marques Sumner (Fox Creek/North Augusta '15)

Stetson (Atlantic Sun Conference: 4-16, 0-5)

2018-19 Stats: 8 ppg, 3 rpg, 3 apg, 24 mpg

Next: vs NJIT Sunday at 4:00

Senior Jaylen Taylor (Laney '15)

Clayton State (Peach Belt Conference: 5-10, 2-7)

2018-19 Stats: 13 ppg, 7 rpg; 53% FG

- Scored 21 points and grabbed 8 rebounds in last Saturday's 97-93 loss at USC Aiken

Next: at North Georgia tonight at 7:30

Senior Aubrey McRae (Glenn Hills '14)

Clayton State (Peach Belt Conference: 5-10, 2-7)

2018-19 Stats: 14 ppg, 6 rpg; 39% FG, 35% 3 pt FG, 85% FT

- Scored 23 points in Saturday's 97-93 loss at USC Aiken

Next: at North Georgia tonight at 7:30

Freshman Drez McBride (Butler '18)

McCook Community College (NJCAA Region 9: 7-10, 0-2)

2018-19 Stats: 13 ppg, 4 rpg, 2 apg; 45% FG, 35% 3 pt FG, 79% FT

- In previous 2 games Drez scored 20 points in a 123-86 loss to Western Nebraska and 19 in an 83-59 loss to Trinidad State

Next: at Northeastern Friday at 9:30

Sophomore Deandre Barton (Butler '17)

Southeastern Community College (NJCAA Region 11: 17-3, 3-0)

2018-19 Stats: 8 ppg, 3 rpg, 2 apg; 43% FG, 77% FT

- Scored 15 points in Saturday's 77-74 win over Marshalltown and 21 in last Wednesday's 95-88 victory over Northeast

Next: at Indian Hills tonight at 8:00

Senior Christian Davis (North Augusta '14)

Truett McConnell (NAIA: 11-9, 6-8)

2018-19 Stats: 16 ppg, 3 rpg, 3 apg; 41% FG, 40% 3 pt FG

Next: vs Montreat tonight at 7:30

Freshman Ahmad Rand (Lincoln County '17)

USC Salkehatchie (NJCAA Region 10: 12-6, 3-0)

2018-19 Stats: 10 ppg, 8 rpg; 66% FG

Next: at Denmark Tech tonight at 7:00

Freshman Bryson Mozone (North Augusta '18)

Upstate (Big South: 5-16, 0-6)

2018-19 Stats: 5 ppg, 3 rpg, 16 mpg

Next: at Hampton Thursday at 7:00

Sophomore Jelani Watson-Gayle (Westminster '17)

Miles College (SIAC: 11-6, 8-2)

2018-19 Stats: 9 ppg, 3 rpg, 28 mpg

Next: at Tuskegee Saturday at 3:00

Freshman Eric Graham (Grovetown '18)

Columbia International (NAIA: 11-9, 6-8)

2018-19 Stats: 10 ppg, 4 rpg, 22 mpg; 43% FG, 40% 3 pt FG, 77% FT

- Scored 17 points in a recent 78-73 win over Truett McConnell

Sophomore John Williams (Josey '17)

Barton (NJCAA Region 6: 15-3, 6-3)

2018-19 Stats: 10 ppg, 4 rpg; 44% FG, 71% FT

Next: at Northwest Kansas State tonight at 9:30 ET

Sophomore DT Turman (Thomson '17)

Cleveland State Community College (NJCAA Region 7: 7-9, 4-5)

2018-19 Stats: 9 ppg, 4 rpg, 54% FG

- Scored 13 points and grabbed 6 rebounds last Wednesday in a 78-77 win over Walters State

Next: vs Jackson State Friday at 7:30

Freshman Tez Collins (North Augusta '18)

USC Salkehatchie (NJCAA Region 10: 12-6, 3-0)

2018-19 Stats: 7 ppg, 4 rpg; 51% FG, 41% 3 pt FG, 73% FT

Next: at Denmark Tech tonight at 7:00

Sophomore Moses Jones (Cross Creek '16)

Andrew College (NJCAA Region 17: 14-4, 3-2)

2018-19 Stats: 9 ppg, 2 rpg; 42% FG, 37% 3 pt FG, 86% FT

- Scored 13 points in Saturday's 79-75 loss at East Georgia and 13 in last Wednesday's 79-77 loss to Gordon State

Next: vs Central Georgia Tech tonight at 7:30

Senior Jordan Dingle (South Aiken/Augusta Christian '14)

Lander (Peach Belt Conference: 6-11, 5-6)

2018-19 Stats: 8 ppg, 3 rpg, 19 mpg

Next: at USC Aiken Saturday at 3:30

More players:

Junior Ricquail Smoot (Butler '16) - Hampton
Junior Trez Hawes (Westside '16) - Arkansas-Monticello
Junior Justen Hartfield (Greenbrier '16) - Mars Hill
Freshman Timmy Sellers (Glenn Hills '18) - Charleston Southern
Melvin Mckie (South Aiken '18) - USC Aiken
Freshman Antonio Bussey (Aiken '18) - Claflin
Freshman Justin Phillips (Westside '17) - Gordon State
Sophomore Rod Culver (Fox Creek '17) - USC Salkehatchie
Sophomore Colin Young (Laney/Miller Grove '16) - USC Salkehatchie
Freshman Calvin Mathis (Aiken '18) - USC Salkehatchie
Freshman Tim Williamson (Glenn Hills '18) - Andrew College
Freshman Javen Whitehead (Josey '17) - Andrew College
Freshman Zach Foster (Midland Valley '18) - Andrew College
Freshman Keith Littles (Butler '18) - Andrew College
Senior George Jones (Glenn Hills) - Paine

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Ahead of the first AugBball All Star Games, we rank the top 10 area teams and the top 25 players

***Check out the news about the first AugBball All Star Games at this link:

Top 10 Area Teams

1) North Augusta (12-5, 1-0) - SC Class 4A

The Yellow Jackets have won 6 of 7 games since super sophomore RJ Felton and junior Chris Wilder rejoined the team after the football season ended (Felton also had to recover from a broken bone in his arm). The team's most impressive win was against Lakeside in the championship game of a holiday tournament in late December.

2) Lakeside (15-2, 3-0) - Class 6A

Lakeside has blown out teams every time I've watched them in person this season. The most recent was last Friday's 70-48 spanking of Heritage:

3) Evans (17-0, 3-0) - Class 6A

The Knights are ranked #1 in class 6A by 2 of the 3 rankings sites I follow. The team has considerable size on the frontline and two high scoring guards in junior Christian Chambers and senior Cameron Cabarrus. This Friday's home game against arch rival Lakeside is highly anticipated by many fans. Evans delivered in a big way the last time it faced a rival, Greenbrier, in December:

4) Glenn Hills (15-3, 8-1) - Class 2A

The supersized wing combo of John Whitehead and Emmanuel Jones, both juniors, have led the Spartans past the halfway point of their 16 game region schedule with only one loss. The most recent victory at Butler gave Glenn Hills a 2 game lead in the league standings over Butler, Hephzibah, Laney and Josey. These are the highlights from that game:

5) Thomson (12-3, 1-1) - Class 4A

Tuesday's 54-38 loss to Cross Creek surprised me because I was very impressed by the Bulldogs last Saturday when they opened region play with a 65-60 win over Baldwin at home. Thomson is big and tough and athletic, as you can see in the highlights from that win:

6) Baldwin (10-5, 2-1) - Class 4A

The Braves bounced back quickly from Saturday's loss at Thomson with a 73-50 win at home over Burke County. Last Friday's win at Richmond was impressive because Baldwin was not at its best, but it still found a way to win by overcoming a 5 point deficit in the final minute to grab a 47-46 victory on Justin Webb's buzzer beating layup:

7) Butler (10-3, 6-3) - Class 2A

The Bulldogs probably play harder than any team on this list. That makes up for a lack of experience in the backcourt. Senior Jyheem Rollins has produced all season without exception. He scored 22 points in Tuesday's loss to Glenn Hills:

8) Hephzibah (8-6, 6-3) - Class 2A

A core group of young Rebels have transformed Hephzibah into a contender this season. With 11 games remaining, the team has already matched its highest win total for a season since the 2012-13 campaign. All three of Hephzibah's region losses were in overtime, the most recent being a heart breaking 64-60 loss to Butler last Friday at home:

9) Richmond (12-5, 1-1)

10) Silver Bluff (6-4, 1-0)

A mainstay in South Carolina's class 2A top 10 rankings, Silver Bluff sports wins over Washington County and South Aiken so far this season.

Top 25 Area Players

1) John Whitehead (Glenn Hills)
6-5 Junior

2) RJ Felton (North Augusta)
6-3 Sophomore

3) Emmanuel Jones (Glenn Hills)
6-7 Junior

4) Kalen Williams (Lakeside)
6-2 Senior

5) Nate Dunlop (Augusta Christian)
6-6 Senior

6) Zy Wright (Aquinas)
6-4 Junior

7) Christian Chambers (Evans)
6-2 Junior

8) Jyheem Rollins (Butler)
6-3 Senior

9) Trez Ruffin (Josey)
6-3 Senior

10) Latavian Lawrence (Silver Bluff)
6-5 Junior

11) Zander Hamilton (Thomson)
6-4 Senior

12) Richard Crawford (Greenbrier)
5-11 Senior

13) Justin Webb (Baldwin)
6-7 Senior

14) Chris Williams (Aquinas)
6-8 Junior

15) Vontrez Roberts (Richmond)
6-9 Senior

16) Malcolm Daniels (Thomson)
6-4 Senior

17) Maison Hall (Aiken)
6-2 Senior

18) Chris Wilder (North Augusta)
6-0 Junior

19) Donte Justice (Baldwin)
6-0 Senior

20) Jahleel Roundtree (Burke County)
6-5 Senior

21) Omarion Byrd (North Augusta)
5-10 Junior

22) Kobe Stewart (Cross Creek)
6-5 Junior

23) Jonathan Taylor (Aquinas)
6-0 Junior

24) Cameron Cabarrus (Evans)
6-2 Senior

25) Jalen Blount (Hephzibah)
6-0 Sophomore

26) Matt Jones (Laney)
6-6 Sophomore

AugBball's first All Star basketball games are set for March 23

Saturday, March 23, is the date for the first AugBball All Star Basketball Games. Games will be played at Augusta Prep with teams in the following divisions:

Senior Boys
Junior Boys
High School (9-12) Girls
Underclassmen (9-10) Boys
Middle School Boys

The teams will be chosen by AugBball’s contributors and also the area’s coaches. There will be a nomination process and a final selection will be made from among the nominees.

The All Stars will practice as a team several times before game day, and they will receive T-Shirts and recognition from AugBball and other media outlets.

The games will be broadcast on And we will also make every effort to draw as much interest from as many college coaches from as many levels of the game as we can.

The purpose of the AugBball All Star game is to celebrate the accomplishments of the best players in our wide area and to give them the chance to compete with and against each other for all to watch and enjoy.

This will be the second round of All Star games AugBball has partnered with Dameon Key and Lineage of Champions to organize. Here is an update from this Winter's CSRA All Star Bowl Games (football):