Friday, February 24, 2012

Eagles Advance to Semifinals in Nashville: Post Season Feature

Video Highlights: Augusta vs West Tennessee 

In addition to the Augusta Basketball Report's "wall to wall" coverage of area teams competing in the Georgia High School Association's region and state tournaments, the source for basketball information in the greater Augusta, Georgia, area is giving fans a court side view of the area's premiere independent school team, the Augusta Eagles, as it travel across the country during this post season.  In addition to the coverage of the Augusta Eagles, the only team in the Augusta area on which home schooled students can participate, we plan to follow Augusta's former high school athletes now competing at the college level during their conference tournaments over the next few weeks.  The Augusta Basketball Report's initial "Post Season Feature" takes readers/viewers to Nashville, Tennessee, for the National Christian Homeschool Championship's (NCHC) Southeast Regional Tournament.

After failing to reach the tournament's final four during each of the last two seasons, the Eagles faced a difficult test Thursday against Memphis's West Tennessee Christian Gryphons.  The Gryphons are one of the four homeschool teams from Tennessee that are generally regarded to be as good or better than any such team east of Texas.  Additionally, the Eagles were eliminated (66-49) from championship contention in last year's quarterfinal round by the same Gryphons squad.  Thursday's match up was labelled by, a website that covers homeschool basketball nationwide, as the Game of the Night, despite state and regional championships games from Indiana to Texas to Nashville.  And the two teams did not disappoint.

Eagles Wednesday on Bus to TN
After sprinting to an early 7-2 lead, the Gryphons appeared to be on track to repeat last year's blowout of the Eagles, but Augusta clawed its way back into the game behind 12 early points from junior guard Austin Crown and timely scoring by junior guards Dominic Brown and Matt Miller.  But Crown's offensive foul, his second, on the first possession of the second quarter limited his contributions for the rest of the first half, and the teams went into intermission tied at 30.

The Eagles scored 9 unanswered points to begin the 3rd quarter, and Zach Miller's late third quarter three pointer extended Augusta's advantage to 43-34.  After the lead was cut to as few as 3 points (45-42), Matt Miller's three pointer with 4 minutes remaining gave the Eagles a 53-46 advantage that was enough of a cushion to preserve the 61-56 Augusta victory.

Eagles at Nashville's Country Music
Hall of Fame
According to Eagles coach Chad Cook, the prospect of being eliminated from the tournament's championship round by the team that dashed Augusta's chances last season added intensity to the already electric playoff atmosphere.  "The teams from Memphis and Nashville are widely believed to be the best home school basketball has to offer in the southeast.  They have a long, proud history.  Our guys have worked hard to get into position to accomplish their goals.  I am happy for them for getting past this round.  And I hope they relax and have fun going forward.  They deserve that," Cook said after the game.

And Eagles guard Matt Miller, who led all scorers with 22 points, is happy for the win, no matter the circumstances.  "It was an ugly win, but I'll take an ugly win any day, as long as it is a win," said Augusta's high scoring guard.

In addition to Miller's 22, the Eagles got 16 points, in limited action, from Crown before fouling out.  And Dominic Brown added 13.  The Gryphons were led by Andrew Rowley's 20 points.

Other Eagles made significant contributions.  Paul Jones, who is rapidly developing into Augusta's primary defensive player limited West Tennessee's high scoring guard Tyler Epting to 3 points during the game's first 28 minutes.  Sophomore Jonathan Pye played tough defense, rebounded, and picked up numerous loose balls.  And freshman guards Zach Miller and Jacob Greenway made timely three pointers during Augusta's third quarter surge.  See the video at the top of the screen for the game's highlights.  And see the video below for post game interviews from Eagles players.

For Augusta, the road ahead will continue to go through Memphis.  The Eagles next face the Memphis Eagles in tonight's semifinal round at 8:10 P.M. Central Time.  The other semifinal game pits the Nashville Warriors against the Memphis Nighthawks.

Check back for updates about the Augusta Eagles in our "Post Season Features" section.


  1. Well done Eagles!!! Go all the way!!!

  2. Great game, boys. And Coach Cook, too.

    A "W" is always good to get, especially in an initial and tough tournament game far from home.

    Relax, play hard, smart and together tonight, and let the chips fall where they may. Have fun!

    Keep working on getting good shots, not turning it over and rebounding. Of course, work also to prevent the other team from doing those three things,and good things will continue happen to the Eagles.

    But you already know all that.

    Your fan. Bob.

  3. Good guys...keep it up. I love the post game interviews.

  4. Proud to be associated with you guys. I don't need to see a score to know you are winners.


  5. Thanks for the encouragement from Augusta! The guys have enjoyed reading it and knowing people are paying attention. And special thanks to our biggest fan/history and economics professor/coach/advisor (we won the TO comparison 10-4 and tied in rebounding last night) Bob, and to our boys' - not to mention their coach's - favorite sparring partner Keenan!

    The Eagles won 57-50 in the semifinals last night. We play the number one seeded and host Nashville Warriors today at 4:50 CT. We should have a story about last night's game published soon.

    Thanks again for everybody's support!

    1. Great news about the Eagles last night, Chad.

      As my young(to me everybody's young,Keenan)friend and the Eagles' favorite sparring partner Keenan said, it's EAGLESANITY time in Nashville.

      Enjoy the rest of the ride, and tell the boys to keep having fun while playing hard, smart and together.

      Happy to hear about the lobsided TO score and rebounding tie, too. That says a lot about the fearless fun loving "scrappers" from Augusta.

      Your fan. Bob.