Wednesday, February 17, 2010

this is an old article... but forgot to post it SCA boys reach 3-AA title game

Sherwood's Wesley Pittman hit three 3s in the first half of Thursday's Region 3-AA semifinal against Valwood and finished with 13 points in the Eagles win

ALBANY — Sherwood Christian will get its shot at payback for last year’s loss in the GISA Region 3-AA championship to Tiftarea Academy.The top-seeded Eagles advanced to the region championship game Thursday at home with a convincing 75-51 win against No. 4 seed Valwood School. Sherwood and Tiftarea meet at 8:30 p.m. tonight at Darton College.Eagles coach Matt Ruta won’t need a pre-game speech, either. “They’re our rival,” Sherwood senior John Schramm said. “We’ll be ready.” To get to this point, the Eagles had to deal with Valwood’s Neo Banks again, while his 27-point performance against them earlier this season was still fresh on their minds.Banks scored half of Valwood’s points in the first two quarters, but couldn’t keep pace with Schramm and the 3-point marksmanship of Wesley Pittman. Sherwood (18-6) used a 14-2 run to close out the first half, and when Schramm and Pittman hit back-to-back 3s before the break, the Eagles found themselves up 39-28.“We had an 11-point lead at halftime and we pushed it (out),” said Pittman, who hit three 3s in the first half and finished with 13 points. “(Banks) is a heck of a player. He shocked us (in the last meeting). The second time we were more prepared for him.”After dropping 14 in the opening half, Banks finished with a game-high 23 points, but was the only Valiant in double figures.“We ran three, four guys at him,” Ruta said. “Derinique Daniel did a great job on him and we were able to hold him down a little in the second half.”Schramm led Sherwood with 22 points. His scrappy play, along with Pittman’s high-arching 3s that splashed through the net, kept Sherwood’s student section alive for most of the night.“We feed off the crowd’s energy a lot and I think that helps us, especially on the defensive end,” Pittman said. Sherwood now turns its attention to No. 2 seed Tiftarea (11-14), a team the Eagles have beaten twice already this season — albeit by close margins each time.“It’s been tight,” Rutta said of the previous games. “They got us last year in the region championship game, so I hope we come out with a little bit of energy.”

Region champs!

The Sherwood Christian boys basketball team wins its first GISA region championship in years, beating Tiftarea, 69-58, on Saturday night at Darton College.

ALBANY — Gary Holloway threw the ball toward the heavens.And when it fell back to earth, four years of frustration landed with it.Then came the dancing, the hugging, the shouting -- and the sheer joy that always accompanies the end of a long wait, always walking hand-and-hand with patience.All of that and more -- the game, the night and this magical season -- belonged to the Sherwood Christian Academy’s boys basketball team that tossed away all they had lost before and celebrated like there was no tomorrow after beating Tiftarea Academy 69-58 on Saturday night for their first Region 3-AA title in years.No one wanted to leave the Darton College court. The Sherwood kids just wanted to hold onto to this one. They had waited their entire careers to win this game.And as the clocked ticked down and Holloway threw the ball in the air, joy washed over the court. “I couldn’t believe it,’’ said Wesley Pittman, one of seven seniors who had suffered through the long days at Sherwood. “It feels so good. I never expected this to happen. I expected to have a disappointing career. Two years ago I never would have believed this would happen.’’Those seven know all about waiting. The Eagles won just seven games over a two-year stretch, before Matt Ruta showed up last year and turned the program around. Still, they hadn’t tasted a region title until Saturday.“When coach Ruta came everything changed,’’ Pittman said. “He taught us how to play real basketball.’’Well, the Eagles played real good basketball on Saturday.And none was better than Pittman, who was there every time SCA needed him. He poured in 25 of his 27 points during the first three quarters, including a 10-point third quarter that lifted SCA to a 52-43 edge. After that, Tiftarea was never closer than six points.“He can shoot it,’’ Ruta said of Pittman, who made five 3s, including a couple of long range bombs that seemed to take the heart out of Tiftarea. “He was on fire tonight.’’So was Sherwood at the beginning of the game. Pittman hit the first shot of the night -- a long 3 with a message at the end of it, and the Eagles made 11 of their first 14 shots to rip off a 22-9 lead. They were up 24-13 after eight minutes. Pittman had 10 of those points, and SCA never trailed.But Tiftarea (11-15) wouldn’t go away, thanks to Wes Carter, a point guard who did everything he could to ruin SCA’s night. Carter finished the night with 22 points, five rebounds a couple of steals and a blocked shot. He scored 15 points in the first half and when he tipped in a missed shot at the halftime buzzer, suddenly SCA’s lead was only 34-33. .Then came Pittman’s 10-point third quarter and a rush from the other Eagles. Holloway scored six points and grabbed four rebounds in the third, and finished with 15 points and seven rebounds. Senior Brannan Anthony finished with eight points, hitting back-to-back drives in the fourth quarter to lift SCA to a 58-49 lead, before putting Tiftarea away with a slick assist to Patrick Stanford that gave SCA a 64-54 lead with 1:35 left in the game.“I was so happy when we won it, I didn’t even have words for it,’’ Anthony said. Pittman, Anthony, Holloway, and seniors John Schramm and Pete McSwain were named to the all-tournament team.SCA had to find a way to win it in the end, because Tiftarea beat SCA on the boards and had second and third shots all night. But the Panthers couldn’t find the bottom of the net, making only 11 of 36 shots in the second half. Pittman and Anthony made seven shots between them in the second half for SCA.“We were on fire to start the game’’ Ruta said. “But give Tiftarea all the credit. They battled back. But I was real proud of our kids for staying with it. We could have let the momentum let the game get away from us.’’SCA led 52-43 after three quarters then opened the fourth by making its first four shots. Ruta was asked what he told his kids before the fourth quarter.“I don’t remember,’’ he answered honestly.At that point it was hard to think. The celebration was growing on the court, and Ruta was in the middle of it -- just like he has been in the middle of the turnaround. His kids have won 39 games over the past two seasons, including a 19-6 record this year, and a 10-0 record in the Region 3-AA.But even in the midst of the jubilation, the SCA kids remembered — remembered just what it took to get here.“It was really frustrating,’’ Pittman said. “You had the mindset you were going to lose. Nobody came to the games, and everybody at school expected us to lose.’’But look at them now. They drew a large raucous crowd , including their own Sherwood Crazies — a student body section that whooped and screamed and held the Ruta-on-a-stick fans all night.“It feels great,’’ Pittman said. “We just want to keep the ride going -- to the Final Four and maybe beyond that.’’Why not?Just have a little patience...

Monday, February 8, 2010


The Eagles closed out late with the win as Brannan Anthony led the way with 20 points, followed by Wesley Pittman (16), Gary Holloway (13) and John Schramm (10).Sherwood now is 17-6 and will play Tuesday’s Valwood-Windsor winner in the GISA Region 3-AA tourney at 8:30 p.m. Thursday at home. SCA coac Matt Ruta was pleased with Saturday’s win.“It was good,” Ruta said. “We lost a tough one Friday against Fullington. The kids did a good job bouncing back and showed a lot of heart and character. It was senior night so it was good to get them out on a high note and I was just pleased with everybody. We even led by 16 at one point.”

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

our coach is hotter than yours

Sherwood boys secure No. 1 region seed with win vs. SGA

ALBANY — There’s nothing like a little tune-up before the start of what Sherwood hopes is a deep run at state.
Alex Harrell and Gary Holloway scored 15 points each in the first half as the Eagles roared to a 45-25 lead at the intermission and finished the regular season unbeaten in region play to lock up the No. 1 seed with a 77-49 romp past Southwest Georgia Academy on Tuesday.
Harrell finished with 23 points and Holloway added 20 as the Eagles closed the regular season at 16-5 and 8-0 in GISA Region 3-AA play.
“That first half shows you how we are capable of playing if we put together a complete game,” SCA coach Matt Ruta said. “If we can play at that level of effort and intensity we can hang with anybody.”
With the region tournament set to begin next week at Sherwood, Ruta couldn’t have gotten a better effort from his team.
The Eagles kept that 20-point cushion for most of the second half before SGA, which fell to 9-13 and 3-4, narrowed the gap to 14 points, 57-43 with six minutes remaining. But Wesley Pittman, who finished with 17 points, canned three straight 3-pointers during a 16-2 run to spark SCA to 73-45 advantage with 3:10 remaining.
Ruta then pulled his entire five off the floor.
“I feel every game is an opportunity to get better and we got better (Tuesday night),” the coach said. “We built some confidence and we built some depth, which is exactly what we need headed into the region tournament.”
Danny Doster led SGA with 14 points and Parker Adams chipped in with 11.
The Region 3-AA tournament will be played at SCA beginning next Tuesday with a play-in game between Windsor and a team yet to be determined. Sherwood will play the winner of that game Thursday at 8:30 p.m. The region championship games will be played Friday at Darton College.