Saturday, February 8, 2014

Area's Best Ready to Square Off in All-Star Sunday.

     The first annual Augusta Metros All-Star Sunday will take place Sunday at Evans Middle School starting at 1:30 pm. Ball handling, speed, and shooting will be the first task at hand as players have to showcase all three in the Skills Competition. There will be many sharp shooters competing for the crown in the 3-point shootout. On the boys' side, the two front runners are Riverside Middle's Austin Canady and Eric Graham from GAIS. Graham is coming off a game where he made 6 3's and is as streaky as they come. For the girls, Faith Kneece from Mead Hall (Aiken, SC) is the favorite and has had a game where she knocked down 7 3's. Ellie Grindin (Riverside), Lexi Jeffcoat (Evans), and Marissah Tate (Columbia) will definitely put up a fight against Kneece for the 3- point crown.

     Not to take anything away from the other events, but the Shooting Stars competition may be the most exciting. In this event, faculty members will team up with a boy and girl player from their school to make a layup, free-throw, 3- pointer, and a half court shot the fastest. Columbia Middle and Evans Middle will have their principals participating, while I (Former Duke University and NBA player) will team up with Grace Culbertson and Xavier Harrison to represent GAIS.

     In the Grand Finale of the day, the All-Star games will be very competitive. The girls' East team features Yasmine Avery, Caroline Johnson, and Georgia Smith from the Columbia County Champs Riverside. Avery and Smith also teamed up on the Greenbrier High JV squad to win another county title this past week. Parker Ray, Caitlin Cox, Danita Baker, and Riley Wagaman, all from Stallings Island, teamed up with the Riverside group, will make the East group very strong. The West team is lead by the sharp shooting Jeffcoat, Bobbi Wardwell (Westminister), and Lauryn Saunders (Columbia) and will make things interesting.

     When looking at the boys' West roster, speed and athleticism stick out and it seems they do not have any weakness. In my opinion, the area's best middle school big man, Germane Armstrong, leads the way. The back court has speed and size with Chance Fugghett, Harrison, and Emanuel Bryson (Columbia). Long range bomber Graham will be salivating if these play-makers can create and find him for open looks. The boys' East group has more of the team players, but do not under estimate them; they are All-Stars. Artest Banks (Lakeside) is the most talented player on the squad and should provide offense. Canady can really fill it up and has the luxury of playing for his coach, Corey Warren, which should lead to some plays to get him good looks. Will Dorn (Augusta Prep) was the best player and won the Championship in the area's private school league. I look for Corey Warren, Jr. (Riverside) to challenge the guards from the west and make this a great game! Everyone come out and enjoy a great day of hoops!

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