ABR Live has expanded coverage into Aiken and North Augusta in a major way, providing live highlights and updates to most games involving North Augusta, Aiken, South Aiken, Strom Thurmond, Silver Bluff, and Midland Valley. And we are happy to announce a new contributor, Nate Livesay, a South Carolina high school hoops expert who will provide insight and analysis from all over the Palmetto State. With contributors like Livesay, Will Avery, Carey Rich, and the ABRLive.tv crew, we can confidently say that we are steadily blanketing the Georgia-Lina high school hoops landscape with news, analysis, and video highlights!
Livesay's first contribution is a combination of game reports and impressions of notable teams and players that have made an impression in the beginning weeks of the 2012-2013 high school season. Enjoy!
South Carolina Hoops Weekly Notebook
December 9, 2012
6 Things I know so far:
Contributor - Nate Livesay
- Because of injury, illness, and football players there are still lots of unknowns this season in AAAA. If you have seen some surprising scores this so far you are not alone. Don’t make any snap judgments based on those scores yet. For example, Northwestern got off to 0-6 start without their football players including a 32 loss at Dorman. Once they got their football players back they defeated Dorman 54-51 in the rematch at Northwestern. So Northwestern is better than Dorman right? Not so fast my friends – While the Trojans look to be a very good team on this night it was Dorman who was playing with an incomplete squad due to injuries. Same type of thing was evident in Gaffney. Gaffney starts the season 0-2 without football players. Football players come back and the Indians go 2-0 this week including a home win over Rock Hill.
- Hartsville has a chance to post an undefeated regular season. The combination of an experienced and talented team and a mediocre schedule makes me think that the Red Foxes have a great chance to win all their games this season as they are hands down favorites to return to Columbia for a shot to defend their AAA state championship. Behind Guard Jaylen Shaw, a plethora of interchangeable perimeter players, and Devontae Washington and Lakeith Ingram in the post I just don’t see the Red Foxes being seriously challenged very many times this season. Coach Aric Samuel got his team the mountain top in his 8th season at his Alma Mater and this team has a chance to go back.
- The top three teams in Class AA are as good as anyone in the state. Lake Marion, Keenan, and Newberry have already posted season sweeps of teams in higher classifications and have big time athletes and big game experience to match just about anyone. Lake Marion, led by Khalil Halls and Mike Williams, has already swept a disappointing Orangeburg-Wilkinson team and looks to build on the experience they gained in last year’s playoff run in class AAA. Newberry has swept AAAA Spartanburg and their tenacious defense and up-tempo style make them a nightmare for their opponents. You know they are hoping to get a chance to get back to Columbia to make up for a nightmarish 1st quarter which prevented them from claiming the state championship. With Keenan what do you say? Keenan has one of the state’s best coaches in Zach Norris and one of the state’s best players in Marcus Stroman. Every year you expect the Raiders to be one of the state’s best teams and every year they answer the bell.
- Region IV-AAAA has four really good teams. Preseason #1 team Irmo is 7-0 and seniors Justin McKie and Detrek Browning are going to make them tough to handle in big games. Richland Northeast appears to have shaken off a slow start and has a dynamic duo in Senior wings Aaron Scott and Devante Anderson. Aaron Scott, an App State signee who transferred in this summer, put up a game high 26 in RNE’s 49-37 victory over Carolina Forest. This win came a day after RNE avenged its loss to Westwood with a 60-29 rout in the rematch. Spring Valley has jumped out to a 4-1 start behind the scoring of senior wing Dominique Taylor and the floor game of sophomore star P.J. Dozier. Spring Valley also starts 6’6 freshman Jordan Bruner and this team should get better and better as their young and talented players add game experience. Showing the region’s depth is that the preseason pick to finish 4th in the region is off to a 5-0 start with road wins at Lexington and Lower Richland two places the Blazers had never before managed to win. Post Players Jose Roman and Jarrell Brantley and a host of guards give Ridge View the depth and versatility to cause people trouble. Two of the teams will be heading on the road when the playoffs start; I know that the teams who have to host them in round one will not be happy about their draw.
- The upper state in AAAA is good, but man how good could it have been. Many of the state’s top teams are class AAAA upper state teams but how good might they have been if not for the loss of arguably the three best players in the upper state. Lancaster lost Sindarius Thornwell to Oak Hill Academy and that turned the Bruins from contenders into just another team. Defending State Champion Gaffney lost their best player L.J. Peak to Whitney Young in Chicago which changed them from the favorite to repeat into mix of teams that have a shot. Last week Hillcrest lost guard D.J. Brooks for the season and even though Hillcrest was still able to grab a huge road win over rival Dorman without Brooks its marked the 2nd straight year that Hillcrest lost what could have been a key cog in their attack.
- I can’t wait to see the Oak Hill – Keenan matchup on Friday. After the Raiders pushed Oak Hill to the brink last season at the Chick-Fil-A Classic it will be interesting to see the matchup again this season. Another interesting subplot will be that this will be Lancaster’s Sindarius Thornwell’s return to South Carolina with the Warriors.