The Cedar Grove boys take an undefeated record and high expectations to Albany this weekend for the U-Save-It Tournament, which should provide the Saints with an idea of where they stand going into the second half of the season.
The Saints are 6-0 with impressive wins over St. Pius and Woodward Academy, the team teams that played for the Region 6-AAA title a year ago. Cedar Grove features a typical James Martin-coached team, one that plays hard on defense to the very end.
“We try to play hard and we try to play great defense,” the veteran coach said. “And everybody knows pretty much what’s going to happen when we walk in the gym.”
Cedar Grove’s top two returners are juniors Kenneth Lewis, who averages 15.2 points, and Christopher Frederick, who averages 8.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, 3.2 steals and 2.2 assists. Fredrick is still rounding into shape after playing football.
The Saints also get contributions from sophomore Jacari Cross (10.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3.2 steals) and senior leadership from Brandon Norwood. Freshman Jelani Woods is a 6-5 power forward with a big upside.
“We work hard on defense every day,” Martin said. “We’ll really get after you.”
The Saints will open the tournament in Albany on Friday at 8:30 p.m. in the featured game against Albany. They’ll play again on Saturday and Monday, and then meet undefeated Jenkins on Dec. 26 in the Chick-fil-A Invitational.
Morgan boys go national
The Morgan County boys will get a taste of national competition when they compete in the Chick-fil-A Classic at Northeast High School in Columbia, S.C. The Bulldogs will compete in the Classic II tournament, an eight-team bracket that includes Georgia teams Aquinas and Luella. Morgan County will open Friday against Blanche Ely, Fla.
Morgan County is led by 6-foot-8 forward C.J. Thurman, who has committed to Tennessee, and 5-10 point guard Tookie Brown, a four-star recruit. Blanche Ely, which won the Class 8A Florida championship last year features 6-0 guard Lance Tejada (an East Carolina commitment) and 6-7 junior Therrell Gosier.
Milestones for North Oconee girls
The North Oconee girls, who graduated four starters from last year’s stellar team, have surpassed some milestones during their 8-1 start. Coach Donnie Byrom earned his 300th career win against East Jackson and two-time all-state wing Ginny Channell scored her 1,000th career point against Hart County.
The Titans won their 33rd straight regular-season region game earlier this week. Their last region loss came on Feb. 2, 2011.