Wednesday, February 20, 2013

North Augusta Comes Up Short in A Barn-Burner

Victory belongs to the most persevering. Napoleon Bonaparte

This can’t be happening! Not me, not today at least, no way! These were the thoughts rolling through my head when I woke up ill early Tuesday morning. Unable to make the trip to Sumter High School last night to witness an Elite 8 game between the Gamecocks and the Yellow Jackets, I was able to contact not only a great friend but a loyal Yellow Jacket fan, Joseph Oller (@jloller7 to the twitter world). Knowing his passion and pride as a North Augusta Alumni I informed him of the unfortunate circumstance and he was more than willing to keep the Greater Augusta Area updated throughout the game. We appreciate your efforts and dedication!

When tipoff took place I found myself refreshing my twitter account every 30 seconds. As the game progressed this eventually transformed into 10, 5, and every second in attempt to know what was going on. There was one point during the game where I “LOL’d” because of how anxious I was for the outcome of the game.  Below are the roller coaster of emotions that took place Tuesday night as North Augusta lost in a dog fight to Sumter 70-67 via Twitter:

Coach Young and The Jackets, the Region 5-AAAA champions, controlled the game through most of the first half. At the end of the first quarter, they led 20-16. The momentum didn’t end there as North Augusta scored 10 of the first 12 points in the second to go up 30-18. They were still leading 35-25 with 1:45 remaining in the first half. However, Sumter got a 3-pointer from McBride and a layup by Erick White with less than a second left to make the halftime score 35-30.

North Augusta was outscored 14-4 in the 3rd quarter and found themselves down 44-39. But any follower of this North Augusta squad knows T.J. Sheppard and the Jackets would not go down without a fight. With 3 minutes remaining in the game, the Jackets pulled within one and with 56 seconds remaining North Augusta got their biggest shot of the evening from Christian Davis as he released his shot from behind the arc and drained it to make the score a lock at  an even 53-53. Neither North Augusta nor Sumter could do much with the ball as time expired in regulation to head to Overtime.

North Augusta’s fourth quarter momentum overflowed into OT as they got up by as many as 6 points to lead 61-55. Just as the game was all night for both teams, Sumter crawled back in with a dramatic 3-pointer from Sonny Butler with 29 seconds remaining to take the lead for good. Effective Gamecock shooting from the free throw line was crucial in forcing the Jackets to make a three with less than 10 seconds remaining. North Augusta’s shot was off the mark as the Yellow Jackets fell 70-67.

North Augusta finished their season with a strong 19-7 campaign and a possible lock in the Greater Augusta Area Top 5 Team of the Year. North Augusta was led by Sophomore Chandler Harrison with 18 points, Malik Dunbar and TJ Sheppard each with 15, and Christian Davis with 10 while Sumter was led by Sonny Butler and Auntrell Holloway each with 13 points.

Both teams played with relentless efforts and passion but Sumter found themselves advancing to the Final Four to be played in Florence, South Carolina (Friday 8:30) against a Goose Creek team that dominated Ridge View 70-44. last night. Best wishes to the Sumter Gamecocks (18-10) as we look forward to their continued success as they make their case for the State Title.  

Stay tuned to see where North Augusta finishes the year in comparison with the other teams in the Greater Augusta Area! Where does North Augusta end up in the polls- Top 5, Top 3? Let us know with your comments below.

Congrats to a fantastic season North Augusta- No Offseason!



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