Wednesday, December 17, 2008

two great articles

Four facts we learned
Herald prep writer Paul Dehner Jr. tells four things he learned during the past week of high school basketball.

Every Tuesday through the rest of the high school basketball season I will be bringing you five facts I learned over the course of the previous week covering games and talking to coaches and players.
While the preliminary portion of the prep season rolls into holiday tournament time, lessons have been easier to come across than a $5 footlong jingle.
So, here you go:
1) Nobody plays with more heart than Arabian Williams.
At every exit of the Westover High School gym on Friday, people flowed out into the hallways. The background disappeared and only eyes peeking over the top of hats could be seen.
What the sprawling crowd saw was Dougherty’s Williams give one of the most inspired single performances in the area’s recent history.
More than the 40 points he poured in during the overtime defeat, the special aspect of his show was where most of the points came from.
The 5-foot-6 guard repeatedly challenged Westover’s interior players and never flinched.
Whether coming down with an offensive putback for a score or flying out of control into the lane, he willed his team to overcome a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit.
To watch Williams high-five fans standing on the baseline after baskets and fly into the stands after loose basketballs showcased an intensity and desire rarely seen in the high school ranks.
2) The Americus-Sumter girls are on a short list of the Class AAAA state championship contenders.
Last season, the Lady Panthers broke through for their first playoff win since merging with a first round victory. The run ended in the next round against Wesleyan, which advanced all the way to the Final Four.
Judging by the early returns in Americus, this team won’t stop in the second round.
Evelyn Wright’s crew pulled off its biggest win of the season this past Tuesday at Kendrick. Nobody is saying this year’s Lady Cherokees are the same that went 33-0 and won the state title like last year, but they have members of that team back and even beat Lee County 88-30 earlier in the year, to which Lady Trojans coach Fran McPherson said, “they are for real.”
After Amercius-Sumter’s 59-51 win on Tuesday we know they are for real as well. The only other team to beat Kendrick this year was Hardaway, which is 6-0, has beat every other opponent by at least nine points and barely pulled out a 54-53 win.
Four different players can post big numbers for the Lady Panthers with Jayme Gilbert, Amanda Cross and Jasmine Solomon as the supporting cast for team leader Abril Peeples.
3) Driving to Crisp County is the quietly the toughest road trip on the Region 1-AAA schedule.
Just ask Westover and Monroe.
The two talented Albany teams drove up expecting an easy win against the Cougars, who have recently been more doormat than window dressing.
When dealing with teenagers, overconfidence can backfire, particularly on a bus ride that lasts anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour-and-a-half depending on the point of origin.
Westover coach Dallis Smith said he knew he could be in trouble on the ride up. Turns out he was when a tip-in with 11 seconds left by Crisp County buried the Patriots. Three days later, Monroe, still beaming off its first region victory in two years, learned it still has a way to go as Crisp decisively sent them back to Albany, 70-53.
While the championship may not run through Cordele this season, nobody in the hunt for it wants to run through there, either.
4) Sherwood Christian picked the wrong year to move down from Class AAA.
This is the year the Eagles could have beaten their crosstown rival Deerfield-Windsor. For years, Sherwood has taken the brunt of Deerfield’s blowouts and gone into halftime demoralized. That wouldn’t be the case this season, and that is not taking anything away from the Knights.
The additions of Dougherty transfer Cameron Williams and Dontonio Wingfield’s son, Dequan Green, among others, have turned Sherwood not only into respectability but the upper echelon of GISA Class AA.
Their only two losses have come to highly-touted Loganville Christian and defending state champion Brookwood by a combined seven points.
Deerfield has a talented team of its own, suffering its lone loss against Stratford Academy by one. But to watch this Sherwood team go against Deerfield would be an intriguing matchup for once. Too bad they are now not on each other’s schedule.
Scrimmage anyone?

Sherwood boys nearly upend one of state’s top teams
Sherwood’s boys battle back from a double-digit deficit against Loganville Christian only to fall short.

Sherwood fought back from a double-digit second-half deficit to tie its game up against state power Loganville Christian on Saturday.
And in one shot by Loganville’s Andre Jones at the buzzer, all the hard work came undone.
“(Andre Jones) scored 14 points in the game,” said Sherwood coach Matt Ruta, whose team fell, 71-68, with Jones’ 3-pointer being the difference. “I wish he scored 11.”
Sherwood faced a big test against Loganville star and Georgia signee Daniel Miller, who ledhis team with 25 points. The 6-foot-11 tower was guarded all afternoon by SCA star Cameron Wolliams — who is 6-3 — but managed to notch a game-high 27 points in the Eagles’ loss.
Freshman Dequan Green dropped in 15 and Wesley Pittman added 12 for SCA.
Afterward, Ruta was asked if Saturday was a moral victory of sorts.
“Not really. I want to win games like those,” he said. “The way we fought back, down by nine going into the fourth quarter, we were right there.”
Sherwood likely will meet Loganville in the title game of next week in their Christmas Tournament.

No comments: