Class A Basketball Blog: Lillie leading Athens Christian; No. 1 vs. No. 2 girls lives up to hype

By S. Thomas Coleman
For the AJC

News and notes from Class A basketball …

BOYS

Lillie one of state’s all-around best. Athens Christian (15-2) may crack the top 10 this week and center Zach Lillie is a major reason why. A 6-foot-9 senior, he is putting together one of the state’s best all-around seasons, averaging 16 points, 13 rebounds, seven blocks and five assists, while shooting 70 percent from the field for the Eagles, whose only losses thus far are to Class AAAA East Paulding and Landmark Christian, ranked No. 6 in Class A.

Athens boasts two freshmen standouts. The Athens area is also home to two of the most dynamic freshmen in the state. Lillie’s teammate at Athens Christian, Will Jackson, a 6-4 guard, is averaging 17 points and six assists per game. Across town, Athens Academy guard Eric Williams is averaging 19 points and five assists, while shooting 42 percent on 3-pointers. Jackson’s team got the best of Williams’ on Dec. 9, as Athens Christian won 78-37. They will meet again Feb. 3 at Athens Academy.

The eye of the Tigers. LaBron Glover, a 6-foot senior guard, has Claxton (9-4) in first place and undefeated (4-0) in Division A of subdivided Region 3. Glover is averaging 16 points, six rebounds, five assists and four steals per game for the Tigers.

Watch out for Portal. The Panthers are not in the top 10 yet, but the could be soon. Portal (15-1) avenged its only loss of the season last week with a 57-54 victory against Montgomery County, which had won the first meeting 53-48 on Dec. 6. Portal is paced by junior swingman Corey Reese, who is averaging 15 points and 12 rebounds per game, and sophomore point guard Stacey Morgan, who is averaging 17 points and five assists.

GIRLS

No. 1 vs. No. 2 lives up to hype. No. 1 vs. No. 2 in Class A girls basketball was worth the price of admission. No. 1 and three-time state champion Wesleyan finally pulled away from No. 2 St. Francis to earn a 67-54 victory Friday at Wesleyan. Neither has lost to a team in Georgia this season. It was the first time in a long time that Wesleyan (15-2) had been tested by a team in Georgia and in Class A. St. Francis (16-3) was within one point of the Wolves early in the third quarter and trailed by just eight late in the fourth. Wesleyan was led by senior forward Holli Wilkins, who scored 20, and junior Katie Frerking with 14 points, and St. Francis was paced by senior forward Keyona Hayes, who scored 17. They will meet again Feb. 7 at St. Francis.

Charlton County on the rise. The Indians are 12-2 and undefeated (6-0) in Division A of subdivided Region 2. Charlton is on a nine-game streak, primarily behind the efforts of senior guard Courtney Williams, who has signed with South Florida and is the reigning Region 2A Player of the Year.

Trio leads Bryan County. Bryan County is a contender in Region 3, in large part to the efforts of three players scoring in double figures. Junior guard Diamond McGirt is averaging 16 points per game, and is joined by senior forward Satashala Beasley (15 ppg) and senior guard Tiffany Howard (14 ppg).

22 comments Add your comment

wow

January 21st, 2012
10:52 am

Where is Lilly going to college? Must be a D1 recruit @ 6′9″ and those kind of numbers, even if only playing in 1A.

Colton bridges

January 21st, 2012
11:32 am

Lilly is going to South Carolina upstate

Class A Public School Coach

January 23rd, 2012
8:13 am

Lillie is at best 6′7” and is a good player. The interesting thing about this article is that Zach Lillie, Will Jackson and Eric Williams are all from Franklin County. Lillie would have graduated from Franklin last year had he stayed, and Williams and Jackson should be teammates there this year had they not transferred to local private schools as freshmen.

coach

January 23rd, 2012
1:06 pm

Lillie is about 6″7 and a good player. Dont know if he is a big time D1 PLAYER. But everyone knows Link is a crook. But hey they make Private schools look bad!!! He is a dunker.

jealousy

January 23rd, 2012
4:26 pm

sounds like “coach” is a little jealous that his team is not very good…or maybe he wishes that players would pick up and move for him too. Here’s a hint….win a few more games “coach” and players will want to play for your team rather than move away and join another team. If you win…you wont have to “recruit”…the players will come to you.

S. Thomas Coleman

January 24th, 2012
8:44 am

@Class A Public: Coach Banks at Athens Academy told me Eric came to AA in middle school.

S. Thomas Coleman
s.thomascoleman@yahoo.com

S. Thomas Coleman

January 24th, 2012
9:02 am

@jealousy: Actually, Franklin County (the school mentioned by Class A Public School Coach) has a pretty good program. They’re 13-5 right now, 4-1 in Region 8AAA-A. Over the past three seasons they are 67-23 with two region championships, a Sweet 16 appearance in 2010 and a trip to the Final Four last year.

If Lillie, Jackson and Williams are all in the Franklin County attendance zone (as Class A Coach claims) and if all three chose to attend the school, the Lions could most likely challenge Columbia, Eagle’s Landing, Washington County and Drew for the top team in AAA. As it is right now, seems like they’ll be just fine.

S. Thomas Coleman
s.thomascoleman@yahoo.com

Class A Public School Coach

January 24th, 2012
10:15 am

@S.Thomas Coleman: You are correct on when Eric transferred to AA. He transferred from Franklin County during his 8th grade year.

jealousy

January 24th, 2012
10:41 am

@S. Thomas Coleman: Actually I was referring to the person who posted the coach was a “crook”. People always just assume that its the coach that “recruited” the player when a player leaves to go to a private school or any school for that matter. No one can ever just accept that their parents didnt want them to go to the public school where they live…aka..Franklin County. My point was that its actually rarely the coach that recruits the player…parents move their kids to “better schools” for all kinds of reasons. And even if the kid/parent does move because of the coach…its because the parents and the kid want to play for that coach…not the other way around.

jealousy

January 24th, 2012
10:49 am

High school basketball has just become an extension to AAU summer leagues. The kids today just team up with their AAU buddies so they can play together and dominate. With the combination of the kids WANTING to play together and parents wanting their kids to be noticed for college scholarships…its irresponsible to say that coaches are “crooks”

S. Thomas Coleman

January 24th, 2012
11:01 am

@jealousy: All of your points are very well taken. Thanks for taking the time to opine!

S. Thomas Coleman
s.thomascoleman

jealousy

January 24th, 2012
11:30 am

And just as a side note…..Athens Christian school has more than 30 students that live in Franklin County….and only 2 of them are athletes

coach

January 25th, 2012
12:50 pm

And just as a side note…..Athens Christian school has more than 30 students that live in Franklin County….and only 2 of them are athletes

COACH- just because u see that don’t mean I am a coach. jealousy is a girl name. So first of all if u check the history he has been in trouble with several schools. Sorry you must be his brother, then to get caught with an illegal player this year in Wildgoose. if u check the Athens Banner Herald, there are a lot of people who called him worst. I personally heard him curse and taunt other teams. Then how could you support a person that always get “student athletes” from overseas or from another high school. I can say whatever I want just like you defend a crook. If you can say he run a clean program then the Republicans will vote for Obama in 2012. You can blame AAU in Atlanta and Dekalb for transferring but not in the country like Clarke County. So Thomas I made some good points too.

Prep Zone

January 25th, 2012
1:33 pm

@coach: I’m sorry, but you lost me there. Which coach are you referring to who “has been in trouble with several schools”?

S. Thomas Coleman
s.thomascoleman@yahoo.com

athens

January 25th, 2012
1:52 pm

sounds like “coach” is a fan of one of the teams that has taken a few licks from acs recently. or got licked every year when that coach was at cedar shoals too. (so clarke central fan maybe?) and actually a serious question here….How are private schools supposed to even get students if they dont transfer from other schools? Should they interview each and every person that wants to come to their school and then say…”wait a second, are you good at any sports?, because if you are then people will think that we recruited you instead of you wanting to come here on your own…sorry you can’t attend our school now”

ahtens

January 25th, 2012
2:16 pm

And im pretty sure that private school gets hundreds of kids from all over the world…and less than a handfull actually play sports. people love to hear what they want to hear and make up things to make feel better about themselves or the fact that their team is not any good. that same school got a kid from germany a few years back as an exchange student….he was also on the basketball team…he never got a lick of playing time so no one ever said anything about him being “recruited”. Its only when a kid changes schools and is actually pretty good that people start whining.

white

January 25th, 2012
7:11 pm

i think he reffering to LINK

white

January 25th, 2012
7:12 pm

dont act like yall didnt hear about ACS in 2011. Crickets sound

huck

January 25th, 2012
10:04 pm

Just looking for some comments that I read earlier in the bb season about Athens Christian and….came across this-could not help but make one comment. I PERSONALLY have witnessed Coach Link, take a basketball out of the opposing team player’s hands and throw it to a ref while waiting on a call from the refs during a region playoff game. Last year in a game when I was at the scorers table at AC his JV coach jumped up and ran onto the court after a foul was called on the opposing team and yelled (not very Christian like) directly at a kid from the opposing team and told him among other things…”get off our court”. These are just two of the incidents that I have actually seen with my own eyes over the last five or six years. Is this a good example of sportsmanship for ANY school, public, private, Christian or Non-Christian? I have over the past several years heard them referred to as “dirty” and their coach as dishonest, etc maybe “crook” is an out dated term but dishonest would certainly fit. Regarding Lillie, have seen him play since he transferred, he is a great basketball player but he too was rumored to “transfer” to a Hall County team his sophmore year-does that sound like his is completely loyal to you? I understand why parents transfer their children from public to private (we did) but how many times do you transfer before it becomes questionable? It’s a shame that schools (private or public) cannot use the talent they have (if kids transfer legally– them too) to suceed. Regarding AAU team, the attraction for our son to play AAU was to expose him to above average players from other teams (the elite if you will) not to “recruit them”.

Just Curious

January 27th, 2012
10:49 am

Just curious as to what your opinion is on this…. If a player or parent from another school goes to a another coach and says that they want to play for him and his school(without the new coach contacting them at all)…do you consider that as “recruiting”? Or what if a player that plays for your high school team initiates the contact with another player at another school because they play on the same AAU team together and they want to play high school together too…is that also “recruiting”? Cause if it is….then every school that is half way decent is doing that.

Just Curious

January 27th, 2012
1:19 pm

And also just curious as to why people freak out when players transfer schools in Class A…but when it happens all the time in Gwinnett County or in Class 5A…no one seems to care? I mean lets get serious…Milton has 3 players that are nominated for the McDonald’s All American Team. What are the chances that all 3 of them grew up in that area? But yet no one says a word about them or really cares.

Baictmaricruz

February 6th, 2012
3:33 am