NORTH AUGUSTA 58, SOUTH AIKEN 46

By BILL BENGTSON


bbengtson@northaugustastar.com


NORTH AUGUSTA — A back-and-forth contest swung in North Augusta High School’s favor in the final 90 seconds, as the home team nailed down a 58-46 victory over South Aiken in Region 5-AAAA basketball Friday evening, with the Yellow Jackets’ T.J. Sheppard leading the way.


Sheppard, with a game-high total of 18 points, delighted the home crowd with a pair of dunks in the final minute.


South Aiken, led by Jordan Dingle’s 15-point performance, held the lead a few times and tied things up, 43-43, with 2:45 remaining in the game, when Jordan Scott nailed both of his free throws.


Next up was North Augusta’s Kenny Finley. He was at the line with 1:53 remaining and missed both free throws but got his own rebound, went back up and gave his team a lead that it would not relinquish.


Also in double figures for the home team was Tavarez Hall, with 10 points. His squad improved to 15-6 overall and 5-3 in the region.


Al Young, North Augusta’s coach, confirmed that his squad “turned up the intensity” in the final moments.


“We’ve had two real good games (wins over Lexington and White Knoll) and don’t know if we feel like we live on that or what, but ... South Aiken gave us everything we needed tonight.”


“We played well,” said Drew Jernigan, South Aiken’s coach, whose team slipped to 6-13 and 2-6. “We played 30 minutes, and we needed 32. I told the fellows I was proud of their effort.”


Mental lapses, as shown in failure to block out during free throws and the inability to handle the ball under defensive pressure, were extremely costly in the closing couple of minutes, Jernigan said.


“We have to try to remember that they had done a lot of good things to try to win that game.,” he said.


“The kids have come close twice against that team, and ... they’re disappointed, but we just can’t afford to have those types of mistakes happen and win on the road.”


The Jackets’ Christian Davis, who was momentarily sidelined by a nosebleed in the third quarter, helped end the first half on an upbeat note. He drilled a 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded, boosting his squad to a 20-19 halftime lead.


Davis said Young’s halftime message included plenty of encouragement to play with more intensity and to get a hold of “50-50 balls,” to get an advantage over the visitors.


North Augusta’s next contest is to be Tuesday at Aiken. South Aiken is to play host to White Knoll Tuesday.


SA 9 10 13 14 - 46


NA 9 11 19 19 - 58


South Aiken (6-13, 2-6 Region 5-AAAA)—Jordan Dingle 7 1-2 15, Richard Davis 4 0-0 8, Jordan Scott 2 2-3 7, Latrell Brown 3 1-2 7, Austin Kyles 0 2-4 2, Teddy Rich 1 3-4 5, Sam Okey 1 0-0 2. Totals: 22 9-15 46.


3-pointers: Scott.


North Augusta (15-6, 5-3 Region 5-AAAA)—TJ Sheppard 7 1-2 15, Kenny Finley 2 1-6 5, Christian Davis 5 2-2 14, Malik Dunbar 1 0-0 2, Chandler Harrison 1 2-2 4, Victor Johnson 2 1-2 5, Tavarez Hall 5 0-0 10. Totals 23 8-15 58.


3-pointers: Davis (2).


SOUTH AIKEN GIRLS 53, NORTH AUGUSTA 65

Jasmine Coach’s 19-point game helped boost North Augusta High School to a 65-53 win at home Friday evening, at the expense of South Aiken.


The visitors delivered a one-two punch by way of Brooke Hutto and Kyasia Youmans, with 17 and 16 points, respectively, but nobody else with the Lady Thoroughbreds put double digits on the scoreboard. Hutto’s hits included three 3-point buckets.


Crystal Cummings, North Augusta’s coach, saw Mallory Stone pop in 13 points (including both of the Lady Jackets’ 3-pointers) and Ja’Lyn Sanders add 10 on behalf of the winners, who improved to 11-5 overall and 5-3 in the region.


South Aiken’s coach, Erin Brinkley, confirmed that her squad – now 7-9, 2-6 in Region 5-AAAA – began the third quarter with some serious gaffes.


“We just made some silly passes,” Brinkley said. “We started off the second half with four turnovers in a row, and they capitalized on all four, so there was an 8-0 run.”


Cummings recalled having given her squad a wake-up call at halftime. “I just felt that we weren’t playing as aggressive as we can play,” she said.


“We came out and put on the pressure. That’s what we wanted from the beginning, so I had to remind them of that during halftime.”


South Aiken’s next challenge is to be Tuesday at home against White Knoll. North Augusta has a date Tuesday at Aiken.


SA 15 11 10 17 - 53


NA 21 16 17 11 - 65


South Aiken (7-9, 2-6 Region 5-AAAA)— Brooke Hutto 7 0-0 17, Jessica Schiffer 0 1-2 1, Kyasia Youmans 4 7-12 16, Courtney Farrell 1 0-2 2, Emma Artington 0 0-2 0, Makenzie Smith 2 0-0 4, Bri Parks 0 1-2 1, Morgan Fair 1 4-6 6, Emily Koger 2 1-1 6. Totals 17 14-27 53.


3-pointers: Hutto (3), Yoamans, Koger.


North Augusta (11-5, 5-3 Region 5-AAAA)— Jasmine Coach 9 1-2 19, Ja’Lyn Sanders 3 2-3 10, Mallory Stone 6 1-4 13, Ariell Houston 2 1-3 5, Brianna Trowell 2 1-1 5, Brianna Dicks 2 1-2 5, Desmonet Wilson 1 0-0 2, Breanna Hightower 3 0-0 6. Totals 28 7-15 65.


3-pointers: Sanders (2).