Thursday, January 3, 2013

Laney Continues Brutal Non Region Schedule

Many high school teams spent both weeks of the Christmas break away from home playing in holiday tournaments.  And many undoubtedly faced strong competition that will prepare themselves for the upcoming region schedule.  But the Laney Wildcats (8-3, 1-0), one of our area's top programs, have not had to travel to find challenging competition.

Coach Jerry Hunter's squad opened the season playing area favorites Glenn Hills and Butler, and the Wildcats also faced two of south Georgia's best - Savannah and Beach - in an early season invitational hosted locally.  Most recently, the defending class AA state champions won two of three games in the Augusta Holiday Roundball Classic, hosted at Laney.  This invitational featured high powered teams from Alabama, Georgia, and North Carolina.  "We support the home front first," coach Hunter explained.

Since dropping two (one each to Butler and Glenn Hills) of the seasons first four games, the Wildcats have lost only one game, a Roundball Classic match up with Lee High School, Alabama's defending 6A state playoff runner up.  The holiday tournament experience was valuable, as the young Wildcats, led by freshmen Zep Jasper and Christian Keeling, almost completed a 15 point fourth quarter comeback versus Lee.  "We got to see the team's character after being down 15 late," Hunter said of the recent loss.  And two days later, Laney held off a comeback attempt by Meadowcreek, defeating the Atlanta based team after sophomore Jashawn Brooks made a difficult shot in traffic to secure the victory.

If the November and December portion of the Wildcats' non region schedule weren't enough to prepare Laney for upcoming region play, coach Hunter will certainly get what he desires - the most challenging schedule possible - this weekend with games versus the area's top team, Glenn Hills (Friday at Glenn Hills), and the formidable Butler Bulldogs (Saturday at Laney).  Two of Laney's three losses come to these class AAAA powerhouses.  But those losses are almost 40 days old.  And Laney's young group of players likely have a short memory.

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