NORTH AUGUSTA — Teams often seek offensive balance on the basketball court, but few accomplish it the way North Augusta’s boys did in a 73-34 win over Greenbrier (Ga.) on Saturday.
In all, 12 Yellow Jackets (10-3) found the basket, and nine of them scored five points or more against the Wolfpack (2-11). Five Jackets tied for the team lead with eight points – Kenny Finley, Tavarez Hall, Malik Dunbar, Robert Morgan and Victor Johnson.
Head coach Al Young said that spreading the offense around is something North Augusta works on. Also important, all of the leading scorers but Morgan play in the post area and scored a majority of their points near the basket.
“That’s something we’ve been preaching ... and I was so proud because they bought into that tonight,” Young said.
The game was never in doubt, as the Jackets built a 38-17 lead by halftime. They held the Wolfpack to single-digit scoring in the first three quarters and only 10 points in the fourth. North Augusta used aggressive defense to half Greenbrier possessions and create points at the other end, but it did so mostly without fouling.
The Wolfpack shot only eight free throws on the night.
Young said that clean defensive play is something he focuses on when the Jackets practice.
“In practice, we talk about hands off and moving feet,” he said.
The Jackets also kept the Wolfpack’s leaders in check for most of the night.
“I just thought we kept pressure on them and kept their scorers from scoring,” Young said.
Despite the blowout margin, the game wasn’t without drama. In the fourth quarter, Morgan was going to the basket for a breakaway layup – or perhaps dunk – and was intentionally fouled.
After the play, several Jackets left the bench area to check on Morgan. No altercation occurred, but Hall and TJ Sheppard were ejected from the game and hit with technical fouls.
Chris Gardner hit two of the four ensuing foul shots, but shortly after that, he fouled Antuan Andrews intentionally to give the Jackets a pair of free throws and the ball. Andrews missed both, but the game was already far out of reach.
North Augusta will next head to Lexington for its region opener on Tuesday, and Young is hopeful the touches his players got against Greenbrier will help against the defending Lower State champion Wildcats.
“Hopefully, it’ll give us confidence,” he said.
GHS 8 9 7 10 - 34
NAHS 16 22 17 18 - 73
Greenbrier (2-11)—Jakob Nelson 1 0-0 3, Connor Sigrist 3 0-2 7, Rod Demmons 2 0-0 4, Justen Hartfield 1 0-0 2, Keyshawn Marshall 3 1-2 7, Warren Coombs 2 0-0 4, Chris Brown 1 0-0 3, Chris Gardner 0 2-4 2, Josh Smith 1 0-0 2. Totals 14 3-8 34.
3-pointers: Nelson, Sigrist, Brown.
North Augusta (10-3)—Christian Davis 1 0-0 2, TJ Sheppard 3 0-0 6, Kenny Finley 4 0-0 8, Chandler Harrison 2 0-0 5, Tavarez Hall 3 2-2 8, Steven Copeland 2 3-3 7, Dexter Simmons 1 0-0 2, Malik Dunbar 4 0-0 8, Victor Johnson 4 0-0 8, Antuan Andrews 2 0-2 4, Robert Morgan 3 2-3 8, Keyon West 3 0-0 7. Totals 32 7-10 73.
3-pointers: Harrison, West.
GREENBRIER (GA.) GIRLS 70, NORTH AUGUSTA 43
The fourth quarter of Saturday’s home game against Greenbrier started with promise for North Augusta’s girls, but the end result was a 70-43 loss.
In the closing seconds of the third quarter, Greenbrier (11-3) held a 10-point lead until Ja’Lyn Sanders hit a 3-pointer just before time expired in the frame to cut the lead to 41-34.
The Jackets (6-2) made things even more interesting with a 7-1 run to start the final quarter that saw Jasmine Coach do all the scoring and trimmed the lead to one. Then the Wolfpack took over, and a 28-2 run to close out the game turned a close game into a rout.
Greenbrier head coach Stefanie Basinger said that her team played up to its potential during the impressive run.
“Just confidence and girls playing like they know they can play,” she said. “We were bring back some traditions as far as treating the game like a battle.”
Leading the charge was Greenbrier’s Morgan Taylor. After leaving the game in the first half with an apparent knee ailment, Taylor led all scorers with 28 points in the game.
North Augusta head coach Crystal Cummings said Taylor was able to capitalize on defensive gaffes by the Jackets.
“Our closeout defense wasn’t what it should be, and she took advantage of that,” Cummings said.
Coach led the Jackets with 16 points on the evening, but Cummings said that other North Augusta players are capable of taking up the scoring mantle. Sanders displayed that ability with her 10-point performance on Saturday.
“She is one of our primary scorers, but we do have other people” that can score, Cummings said of Coach.
North Augusta will next play at Lexington on Tuesday.
GHS 10 15 16 29 - 70
NAHS 13 8 13 9 - 43
Greenbrier (11-3)—Mallory Myers 0 3-4 3, Jennifer McMahon 2 5-6 10, Morgan Taylor 11 6-11 28, Deztinie Cotton 7 0-2 15, Cayla Parks 0 0-2 0, Kara Thompson 4 1-2 12, O. Defarraris 0 2-2 2. Totals 24 17-29 70.