Several Georgia boys teams – including No. 4 Wheeler, No. 6 Norcross and No. 10 Berkmar from Class AAAAA – will play in the Hilton Invitational on Friday and Saturday at Norcross. Each of the eight games matches a Georgia team against an out-of-state team.
Columbia, Georgia’s top-ranked team in AAA, is playing the Saturday prime time slot (8:30) against United Faith Christian of Charlotte, which has two major college signees in 6-foot-11 center Peter Jurkin (Indiana) and 6-1 guard Braxton Ogbueze (Florida), plus one of the nation’s top eighth-graders in 6-5 guard V.J.King. (Yes, eighth-graders are eligible, and this kid apparently is blue-chip.)
Charlotte Christian, which is led by Clemson-committed Patrick Rooks, a junior guard, will play Archer on Friday and Norcross on Saturday.
Wheeler will play nationally ranked Olympic, which also has a Clemson-signee in Josh Smith, a 6-8 center who will duel Wheeler’s own 6-8 post in Charles Mitchell. Olympic is No. 35 in the ESPN Fab 50 this week.
Dr. Phillips, an Orlando school, plays Harrison on Friday and Berkmar on Saturday. Berkmar is coming off a victory over then-No. 1-ranked Shiloh last week.
Hilton Invitational schedule:
5:30 p.m. – Charlotte Christian (NC) vs. Archer
7 p.m. – Orr Academy (IL) vs. South Gwinnett
8:30 p.m. – Dr. Phillips (FL) vs. Berkmar
2:30 p.m. – Harrison vs. Dr. Phillips (FL)
4 p.m. – Greater Atlanta Christian vs. Orr Academy (IL)
5:30 p.m. – Wheeler vs. Olympic (NC)
7 p.m. – Norcross vs. Charlotte Christian (NC)
8:30 p.m. – Columbia vs. United Faith (NC)
Bolden haunts his old mates
Chris Bolden, a star player in Norcross’ state-championship victory over Milton last year, was back in his former home gym on Tuesday, but wearing a North Gwinnett uniform. The transfer came away with a victory as North Gwinnett (11-7, 6-1) beat first-place Norcross (10-7, 7-1) 67-54 to force a virtual tie atop Region 7. Bolden, who was showered with chants of ‘’traitor’’ by Norcross’ student cheering section, was held to nine points, but did have seven rebounds and three steals. A.J. Clements scored 21 points for North. Norcross had won six straight games, including a 58-49 win over ninth-ranked Mill Creek (14-3, 5-2) on Friday.
Wheeler takes first in Region 5
Wheeler’s chances of winning a state championship took a hit when Utah-signee Justin Seymour was lost for the season to academic ineligibility, but the future is still looking good for the Wildcats. Wheeler (8-5, 6-0) took first place in Region 5 on Tuesday with a 69-62 victory over Marietta (12-4, 5-1), and freshmen were a big reason. Daniel Giddens, a 6-9 freshmen, made a key fourth-quarter steal after Marietta had cut the lead to one point with an 8-0 run. Kejuan Johnson, a 6-5 freshmen, has been the team’s top scorer and is regarded by some as the state’s top prospect. Guard Jaylen Brown, a 6-4 freshmen, also gives Wheeler key minutes. Senior guard Jacob Obande was Wheeler’s leading scorer against Marietta with 20 points.
Berkmar knocks Shiloh from No. 1
Shiloh (14-2, 9-1) is ranked No. 2 in AAAAA, but No. 10 Berkmar (11-5, 9-1) has evened the race in Region 8. Yonel Brown, who has signed with Kennesaw State, hit the game-winning shot with one second left in Berkmar’s 46-45 victory in Shiloh’s gym last week. Shiloh won 59-49 in December. Each has four region games left before the region tournament. The new No. 1 is Milton, which clobbered two New York teams last weekend in a tournament in Erie, Pa.