Friday, October 26, 2012

Columbia County Season Openers Set Up an Interesting Matchup

The middle school basketball season is underway in Columbia County.  Eight schools began their seasons today with hopes of beginning with a win.  Player360 caught most of the action.  Here we focus on two games, whose winners emerge from the opening day as possible County leaders, and who will face each other tomorrow!

Lakeside (1-0) will host Grovetown (1-0) Friday at 4 P.M.
Lakeside Panthers 41, Harlem Bulldogs 27
Coach Tom Widenaar's Lakeside squad looked impressive against a scrappy and well coached Harlem team.  The Panthers led throughout and benefited from a balanced scoring attack, good outside shooting, and solid rebounding.  The home win gives Lakeside momentum leading into tomorrow's home contest against Grovetown Middle School.

The Panthers started quickly as 8th grader Kre'sean Hall buried 2 three pointers and a long jumper in the opening half.  And Hall was aided by the active play of 7th grader Artest Banks, who ran the floor, attacked the basket, and scored consistently.  And both of these wing players showed the willingness to feed the Panthers' rugged center Dylan Hammett in the post for key baskets.  In addition to finishing plays, Hammett relentlessly crashed the boards and blocked shots, giving Lakeside an imposing presence in the paint.

But Harlem showed positive signs in the season's first outing.  The Bulldogs benefited from good guard play (Jonathan Worrel 10 points, Christian Harris 9 points) and only trailed by 4 at halftime.  Harlem remained within striking range through most of the third quarter before the Panthers pulled away.  Hall and Banks led Lakeside in scoring with 13 and 9 points respectively.

The Bulldogs host Stallings Island Friday.  Lakeside's performance today heightens the anticipation of tomorrow's matchup with  Grovetown, considered by some to be the team to beat in Columbia County. Speaking of the Warriors...

Grovetown Warriors (45) vs Stallings Island Redhawks (37)
Stallings Island's Harrison Brown played impressively early before finishing with 19 points.  But after trailing 12-6 at the end of one quarter, the Warriors, playing at home, took a 19-18 lead into halftime after forcing the Redhawks into making numerous turnovers.  And Grovetown continued to roll in the third quarter as Jelani Shakir and Jaylen Harris-Gibson led a 12-2 Warrior run, establishing a 31-20 advantage.

Stallings Island competed admirably throughout the game, eating into Grovetown's lead before running out of time.  Nick Murray led Grovetown in scoring with 19 points.
Tomorrow's Grovetown-Lakeside matchup should be an interesting contrast in styles.  Grovetown's speed and impressive guard play will confront Lakeside's impressive frontline play.  Game time is 4:00 P.M. and Lakeside is the host.

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