Georgia high school basketball: AAAA squad gets crack at No. 1 team in nation

South Atlanta lost seven of its top nine players off of last season’s squad. But the two returnees are exceptional.

Senior guards Costa Anderson and Derrick Byrd were all-region selections last season and are off to hot starts for the Hornets, who head into the holiday tournament season at 5-1. Anderson and Byrd came through in the clutch to help South Atlanta come from behind and beat Lithonia in the Region 6-AAAA opener.

“We were down by five points with three minutes left to go,” recalled Hornets coach Michael Reddick. “My veteran guards stepped up, got a couple steals, made some smart plays, and we were fortunate enough to beat them down the stretch. “

Anderson is averaging 21-22 points per game, said Reddick, and Byrd is averaging around 17 points and seven assists.

Reddick will find out a lot more about his team at next week’s Wild Wing Café HS Hoop’s Class in Charlotte, N.C. South Atlanta opens that tournament Dec. 27 against the No. 1 team in the nation, Montverde (Fla.) Academy.

Montverde, the defending national champion in Max Preps rankings, began the season with seven seniors committed to Division I programs. The Eagles beat defending Georgia AAAAAA champion Norcross, 84-47, in November.

“They have kids from Australia, Canada, everywhere. They’re like a college team,” said Reddick of Montverde.  “We’re just a little neighborhood school. But that’s why they play the game. We’ll go in there and give it our best shot.”

Please help

Smart and charismatic, Griffin quarterback Jaquez Parks was one of the true stars of the football season. The story of his family home being robbed, while he was a way leading the Bears to the state championship is simply awful. The Griffin Booster Club is collecting donations at this website. Please contribute.

I am in touch with the Griffin Police Department and hope to have an update Thursday. I’ll also have more on my impressions from the Parks’ amazing performance in the state championship game against Carrollton on Thursday.

Happy holidays to all and thanks for another enjoyable season covering Georgia high school football.

–David Purdum / For the AJC

4 comments Add your comment

Hubie Green

December 18th, 2013
12:06 am

South Atlanta will get to see Jalyn Patterson up close former Milton star guard who lead them to AAAAA state championship in 2012 and one of the greatest seasons in ga hoops history winning two national tournaments. Good luck to all Ga team in tournaments.

Prez

December 18th, 2013
1:29 pm

Costa Anderson (pure shooter and defender) and Byrd (true pg) will be ok during the game. Anderson and Patterson both played for the Atl Celtics, AAU team. Cant wait to see that match up. South Atlanta’s lack of size and depth will be their downfall. I agree with the South Atl coach, he has a LOCAL NEIGHBORHOOD TEAM, going against basically a HEAVILY GLOBAL AND NATIONALLY RECRUITED DIVISION 1 team. Montverde has a 7′4″ center, two 6′9″, 6′8″, along with the other 6′5 players, going against South Atl’s center who is 6′4″ and forwards are 6′3″. Coach has his hands full, but even with that being said, I still think that South will still show up and ball and make it competitive because of their HUSTLE and style of play.

HoopScoop

December 18th, 2013
2:30 pm

You guys cant be serious. I have seen both teams play and the game wont even be close. Montverde Acad is a whole nother level of basketball & IQ. South Atlanta must have Derrick Favors, Vincent Banks, Nick Jacobs, Dominque McKoy, & Andre Malone dressing out for this game.
Montverde by 25 easy.

Im Just Saying

December 18th, 2013
9:15 pm

I do agree that Anderson and Byrd should be ok, but Monteverde’s size will destroy them! South Atl doesnt have a inside game against local teams! Anderson who plays for the AAU Atlanta Celtics, and is a good scorer and shooter, should be used to big time national competition. I think outcome of this one will get ugly really fast. Remember Eagles Landing v South Atl state semi game last year? Eagles Landing had way too much size and the shooters were rushed and forced to shoot contested jumpers all night, because of the lack of an inside presence. Montverde by 30 with a shot clock and 40 without one. Like the previous guys posted, too much global recruiting and depth. South Atl boys playing for schollys. Anderson and Byrd, dont have to dominate, they just have to show good! Scouts will take notice.