In the first battle of the year between two of the state’s basketball powers, Savannah came out on top. The No. 2-ranked Blue Jackets emerged with a 55-46 win over city rival and No. 1 Johnson last Saturday. That may be enough to put Savannah back at the top of the rankings when the new polls are released in January.
Savannah (5-1) got 18 points from Jermaine Williams and 15 from Jamal Norman. Johnson (5-1) was led by Saadiq Muhammad with 15 points. The Atom Smashers played without Tim Quarterman, an LSU signee, who was not injury but was not with the team. His absence was not explained.
The two giants meet again on Jan. 26 at Johnson. Last season Johnson beat Savannah twice during the regular season, but the Blue Jackets beat Johnson for the region championship and wound up finishing second in Class AAAAA.
Savannah will be busy over the next two weeks. Coach Tim Jordan’s team will play in the Sweet Sixteen tournament in Orangeburg, S.C., on Dec. 20-22, and then compete in the McDonald’s Invitational in Tifton on Dec. 28-29.
North Oconee girls start fast
The No. 10 Titans are off to a 6-0 start, the best in school history, after wins last weekend over East Jackson and Hart County. Brooke Hubbard was impressive agaisnt East Jackson with 27 points and 14 rebounds — 11 of them on the defensive end. He also had six assists, one steal and only one turnover. Ginny Channel had 23 points and nine rebounds. Circle Jan. 11 on the calendar. that’s when North Oconee plays at Oconee County.
St. Pius hosts Christmas Classic
The St. Pius boys and girls will be competing against some of the region’s top catholic schools in the 13th annual St. Pius Christmas Classic, Dec. 27-29.
The boys field includes Archbishop Spalding of Severn, Mary., Belen Jesuit Prep of Miami, Bishop Ireton of Alexandria, Va., Brother Martin of New Orleans, Cardinal Gibbons of Raleigh, N.C., Pope John Paul II of Hendersonville, Tenn., and St. Joseph’s of Greenville, S.C. The girls field features Archbishop Carroll of Washington, Assumption of Louisville, Ky., Elizabeth Seton Hall of Bladensburg, Mary., Notre Dame Academy of Staten Island, N.Y., St. Joseph Hill of Staten Island, along with Mount Paran Christian and Dutchtown.
Last year Archbishop Carroll beat St. Pius in the boys final and Oakland (Penn.) Catholic beat St. Pius in the girls final. The St. Pius girls have won the tournament five times, most recently in 2010, while the boys have won it only once, that in 2005.
The No. 8-ranked St. Pius girls (7-2) open the tournament on Dec. 27 at 6 p.m. against Mount Paran. The St. Pius boys (6-2) open against St. Joseph’s at 8 p.m.
Holiday plans for other ranked teams
Since this is the final basketball blog until January, it seemed wise to run down where the state’s ranked teams will be playing over the break.
No. 1 Washington County: at the Jones County Christmas Tournament Dec. 20-22 and at the Colquitt County Shootout Dec. 27-29.
No. 2 Buford: at the Peach State Holiday Invitational at Holy Innocents’ on Dec. 27-29.
No. 3 East Hall: at the Lanierland tournament on Dec. 20-22.
No. 4 Oconee County: at the Carolina Invitational in Charleston, S.C., on Dec. 27-29.
No. 5 Cartersville: at the Pickens Tournament on Dec. 27-29 against Sprayberry, Shiloh and North Forsyth.
No. 6 North Hall: at the Habersham Central Christmas Classic on Dec. 27-28.
No. 9 North Oconee: opens against Shiloh at the Piedmont Holiday Classic on Dec. 20-21, and opens against Sequoyah in the Deep South Classic at Brookwood on Dec. 27-29.
No. 10 Woodward Academy: opens against Luella in the Union Grove Holiday Tournament on Dec. 27-29.
No. 3 Morgan County: at the Kingdom of the Sun tournament in Ocala, Fla., on Dec. 26-29, and vs. Fort Walton Beach, Fla., on Jan. 1 at Hoops in Overdrive at Centennial.
No. 4 Buford: at the Upward Classic in Dorman, S.C., on Dec. 27-29. Returns home for a game on Jan. 2 against No. 5 East Hall; Buford beat the Vikings 102-60 on Dec. 11.
No. 5 East Hall: at the Great Florida Shootout in Orlando, Fla., on Dec. 27-29.
No. 6 Central Carroll: at the Carroll County Christmas Tournament on Dec. 20-22 and at the Haralson County Invitational on Dec. 28-29.
No. 8 Murray County: Will host Misletoe Madness on Dec. 18-22, the plays at the Lafayette Christmas Tournament on Dec. 27-29.