*Note: The "Live Stream of this morning's Southern Select vs Upward Stars game can be found at iHigh.com/hoopseen. Disregard the direction to go to our iHigh portal.
Friday was a great start to the weekend for ABR Live and the basketball teams we are covering this weekend. In Friday's "Weekend Plans" post, we shared our plans to be in three places at once this weekend. And our teams of interest all performed well Friday night, setting up an exciting Saturday for ABR viewers and readers.
Bob Gibbons TOC
Southern Select, featuring Westside High School's standout 6'4" Junior guard Frank Booker, advanced past the first round of bracket play Friday to set up a fascinating Saturday morning match up with the Upward Stars, based in upstate South Carolina.
We followed Booker throughout the high school season and through the first weeks of the ABR Spring League, and this is our first chance to get a close look at his AAU team, which weeks ago shocked many by defeating the Georgia Stars Elite team and the Atlanta Express in the Norman Parker Elite Showcase.
The Upward Stars are obviously not based in the Augusta area, but we feel like our area is Upward's home away from home after the Stars won the Ice Breaker Invitational and won all five King James Southern Exposure games. Both tournaments were hosted at Riverview Park in North Augusta, South Carolina, and ABR covered both extensively.
We are streaming the 8 A.M. Southern Select vs Upward Stars matchup at iHigh.com/augustabasketball, and we will provide highlights and commentary on this site. Additionally, we plan to provide highlights of the South Georgia Kings in their 9:20 A.M. matchup with the Flordia Rams. The Kings feature future UGA point guard JJ Frazier, exciting guard Aaron Scott, and workhorse Kirk Hill. The Kings are another of our "adopted teams," as we have enjoyed getting to know them during the past 6 weeks during their trips to Augusta. Watch this special feature on what we call the southeast's "best back court," and go here to find extensive coverage of the South Georgia Kings.
We are especially excited to provide highlights of one of Augusta's finest AAU teams, the Will Avery Stars, in their second round matchup at 12:10. The Stars defeated the Greensboro Warriors 61-49 Friday. Today is our first chance to see the Stars (an earlier attempt failed), but we enjoyed following this group of ninth graders last summer.
The Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions is a "bracket play, elimination style tournament." We are happy that our friends from Southern Select, the Will Avery Stars, the Upward Stars, the Worldwide Renegades, the South Georgia Kings, and the Georgia Stars Select all advanced. And we will do our best to bring you highlights and information about as many of these teams as possible as they compete during Saturday's rounds.
Click here to see highlights from Sothern Select, the Upward Stars, and the Worldwide Renegades during Friday's opening round. And follow us on Twitter (@AugBball) for updates about today's coverage schedule.
Southern Stampede at the Nike Boo Williams Invitational
Our Friday "Weekend Plans" post highlighted the Southern Stampede 16u team and their Friday matchup with the nation's #1 ranked Texas Titans in the Nike Boo Williams Invitational. We anticipated a battle. The Stampede is ranked in the top 20 nationally, and as we say in the video below from last weekend's King James Southern Exposure tournament, the team is "loaded with weapons!"
And the Augusta based team, which features Aquinas High School guards Ahmed Hill and Michael Scott along with many of the southeast's best 10th grade basketball players, did not disappoint. The game was decided on the final possession as the Titans earned a 53-51 victory in the opening game of this famous tournament. Expect highlights from this and other Stampede games from this weekend early next week.
Garden City All Stars Classic
We especially enjoyed our time at Butler High school covering Friday's opening round of the GCA Hardwood Classic, which features AAU teams in the 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th grades. One of our "ABR Live" reporters said it (or texted it) best during a 9u game: "These kids are a blast to watch!" It was fun to be a part of a great family atmosphere. All five of the Garden City All Star teams are exciting to watch. And the Southern Kings 12u, coached by former ASU Jaguar standout Adam Miller, is a particularly impressive team. We look forward to following the remainder of this tournament and suggest that Augusta's basketball fans consider stopping by Butler High School to watch these young boys compete.
Watch the highlights below from Friday's GCA Hardwood Classic action! (We have yet to finish the Garden City 12u game, one of the evening's most impressive performances. We will finish the highlights and post soon!)
Southern Kings 12u
Garden City 9u
Garden City 10u
Garden City 11u
Garden City 12u