By S. Thomas Coleman
For the AJC
It was not just that North Cobb Christian lost in the title game of the Lake City Classic last Saturday, to host Allatoona (11-0), 58-47. More than that, Eagle head coach Greg Matta appeared to be upset with the way his team fell to the undefeated Buccaneers.
“We had a couple of guys that played their guts out, and we had a couple of guys that played selfishly,” Matta told the Marietta Daily Journal, after he witnessed his team squander a 7-0 lead out of the gate. “When you play championship basketball games against teams like Allatoona, you’re supposed to execute.”
Two of NCC’s senior stars, Hunter Ware (scoreless) and Stephon Jelks (5 points, 3 rebounds), were neutralized. Senior guard Kendall Crute led the Eagles with 18 points, while 6-foot-10 junior center Trey Kalina scored 14 and grabbed 8 rebounds.
Brawl ends Turner-Lowndes game
A bench-clearing brawl last Saturday could play a role in Turner County’s state playoff seeding. Every Rebel player was suspended when the reserve players from both Turner County and Lowndes spilled onto the floor during the fracas between the two teams, which came about as a result of a Lowndes player taking offense to a hard foul as he attempted a layup. The Lowndes player threw and punch and the melee ensued.
Per Georgia High School Association rule, each player must serve a two-game suspension. Rebel head coach Tyrone Kellogg told Savannah’s WTOC-TV that he will spread the punishments out over the next four games to prevent his team from having any forfeits. However, this could leave Turner County shorthanded as it begins region competition against Charlton County (Friday), Wilcox County (Saturday), Telfair County (Jan. 7) and Echols County (Jan. 10). All four are home games for the Rebels in Ashburn, but any loss will hurt Turner County’s power rating.
Here comes Athens Christian
With team leader Williams “Turtle” Jackson back in the lineup, Athens Christian could be the team to beat on the private school side. Jackson shut it down during the summer to allow a nagging knee injury to heal. He returned to the floor last week and helped the Eagles win the championship of the Walnut Grove Christmas Tournament with a 69-50 win over Class AAAAAA Archer, a team that finished 22-8 last season, in the title game.
Jackson had 11 points and 10 rebounds, while fellow junior Demetrius McWhorter, who was named the tournament’s MVP, led the way with 25 points and 12 rebounds.
Randolph-Clay on a mission
This could be “the” year for Randolph-Clay. After missing the state playoffs in 2011, losing in the first round in 2012 and then losing in the public school final to Gordon-Lee (61-55) last season, the Red Devils are focused on capturing their first title since 2000.
Randolph-Clay is 8-0 after downing Region 1 rival Mitchell County, 60-55, last week in the title game of the Thomasville Holiday Hoopfest. Leading the way for Randolph-Clay was sophomore forward Kobi Thornton and senior guard Brandie Buie, who scored 28 and 24 points, respectively.