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HILTON INVITATIONAL PREVIEW

Today, we preview the must-see matchups in this year's Hilton Invitational that will take place Saturday at Norcross. Also, we give you the latest swimming news in this week's notebook.


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Trivia
Question: 
What Georgia school pulled out an overtime victory over DeMatha during its last trip to Georgia?

Today's answer can be found in the newsletter!

Tuesday's Answer:
Johnson-Gainesville's Ty Cockfield scored 44 points in the Knights' 82-66 win over North Oconee on Tuesday.

BOYS BASKETBALL RANKINGS


 

Class AAAAAA

1. Wheeler

2. Shiloh

3. Pebblebrook

4. Tift County

5. Tucker

6. Norcross

7. Collins Hill

8. Douglas County

9. Alpharetta

10. McEachern


 

Class AAAAA

1. Miller Grove

2. McIntosh

3. Allatoona

4. Gainesville

5. ML King

6. Brunswick

7. Northside-Columbus

8. Northside-Warner Robins

9. Drew

10. Tri-Cities


 

Class AAAA

1. Jonesboro

2. Johnson-Gainesville

3. Lithonia

4. Columbia

5. St. Pius

6. Carrollton

7. Burke County

8. Americus-Sumter

9. Westover

10. Bainbridge


 

Class AAA

1. Laney

2. Cedar Grove

3. Jenkins

4. Butler

5. Morgan County

6. Johnson-Savannah

7. Rutland

8. Blessed Trinity

9. Savannah

10. South Atlanta


 

Class AA

1. Pace Academy

2. Seminole County

3. Holy Innocents'

4. Greater Atlanta Christian

5. Thomasville

6. Bryan County

7. Vidalia

8. Model

9. Crawford County

10. Harlem


 

Class A

1. St. Francis

2. Greenforest Christian

3. Athens Christian

4. Hancock Central

5. Treutlen

6. Whitefield Academy

7. Wilkinson County

8. Greenville

9. Calhoun County

10. Turner County


 

GIRLS BASKETBALL RANKINGS


 

Class AAAAAA

1. McEachern

2. South Forsyth

3. Osborne

4. Parkview

5. Archer

6. North Forsyth

7. Westlake

8. Norcross

9. Woodstock

10. Mountain View


 

Class AAAAA

1. Brunswick

2. Stephenson

3. Sequoyah

4. Cross Creek

5. Mays

6. Greenbrier

7. Effingham County

8. Forest Park

9. Southwest DeKalb

10. South Effingham


 

Class AAAA

1. St. Pius

2. Jonesboro

3. Buford

4. Mary Persons

5. Veterans

6. Americus-Sumter

7. Redan

8. Marist

9. Bainbridge

10. Carrollton


 

Class AAA

1. Dawson County

2. Kendrick

3. Laney

4. South Atlanta

5. Decatur

6. Morgan County

7. Beach

8. Calhoun

9. Washington County

10. Westminster


 

Class AA

1. Holy Innocents'

2. Pelham

3. Model

4. Wesleyan

5. Darlington

6. Putnam County

7. Thomasville

8. Vidalia

9. Lovett

10. Early County


 

Class A

1. St. Francis

2. Southwest Atlanta Christian

3. Taylor County

4. Savannah Country Day

5. Turner County

6. Calhoun County

7. Tattnall Square

8. Claxton

9. Mitchell County

10. Stratford Academy


 




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Thursday, January 22, 2015





HILTON INVITATIONAL
By Craig Sager II & Kyle Sandy
9th annual Hilton Invitational returns with more must-see match ups

 

The biggest high school basketball event in the country this weekend will take place at Norcross High School on Saturday as 14 of the nation's top programs prepare for a seven-game marathon in the 9th annual Hilton Invitational. Among the championship-caliber teams will be some of the most coveted basketball prospects in the country.

 

North Gwinnett High School (GA) vs Christ School (NC)

 

In the first time slot (11:30 AM), North Gwinnett will face Christ School (NC). The Bulldogs have struggled since 2014's

Photo by Ty Freeman

Elite 8 appearance and limp into the weekend with a 7-11 record after playing one of the toughest schedules in the state this season. Christ School sits 5-0 in their conference action and will complete a Georgia road trip that includes a Friday matchup at Rabun Gap and concludes with Saturday morning's clash with North Gwinnett. The Greenies fell 65-46 to Norcross last year in the Invitational.

 

Greater Atlanta Christian School (GA) vs Lee High School (AL)

 

Greater Atlanta Christian, which owns

Photo by Ty Freeman

four state championships the past five seasons plays at Hapeville Charter Friday night and will tipoff Saturday at 1:30 PM against Lee High School (AL) in the Hilton Ivitational. Sharp shooter Cam Boyd and the Spartans face a Lee team that is ranked No. 1 in Alabama's Class AAAAAA. The Generals last game versus a Georgia opponent was a 61-44 New Year's Eve victory over Alcovy back in 2012.

 

Jenkins High School (GA) vs Winston-Salem Prep Academy (NC)

 

The third game includes Class AAA's No. 3 ranked Jenkins Warriors, who are led by Georgia State-commit Malik Benlevi, a 6-foot-5 forward averaging 15.4 points and 4.6 rebounds per game. Jenkins will take on North Carolina juggernaut Winston-Salem Prep.

Photo by Ty Freeman

The good news for Jenkins is that Benlevi has missed the Warriors' last eight games with a knee injury, but is expected to return to the court for this weeekend. 6-foot-4 guard Trevion Lamar is the team's second leading scorer (10.3) and leads the team in rebounding with 6.3 per game. Seniors Eric Johnson (9.2 ppg, 3.7 apg) and Jamori Bryant (8.4 ppg, 1.7 spg) have stepped their game up in the absence of Benlevi. Senior Nicholas Severado is Jenkins' tallest player at 6-foot-8 and is the Warriors' rim-protector blocking nearly three shots per contest.

 

Jenkins has scored big wins over No. 6 Johnson, No. 5 MLK (5A), No. 4 Columbia (4A), and No. 4 Butler, while losing to No. 1 Miller Grove (5A) by seven. The Warriors have split in their out of state games this season going 1-1. Winston-Salem Prep has won three straight 1A state championships. The Phoenix offense starts with freshman Daivien Williamson, a 5-foot-10 point guard averaging over 13 points per game. Sophomore big man Zaire Williams flirts with double-doubles on most nights and is a shot blocking presence. NeQuan Carrington and Chrishawn Watson are both scoring threats while 6-foot-6 D.J. Harrison is another shot blocker for the Phoenix averaging nearly two per game. This meeting with Jenkins will be W-S Prep's only out of state game all season. Last season, the Phoenix attended the Hilton Invitational and was dropped by eventual state champ GAC, 72-64.

 

Covenant Christian Academy (GA) vs Montrose Christian School (MD)

 

The fourth matchup and halfway point of the action will pin Covenant Christian Academy with Maryland's Montrose Christian, the former school of reigning NBA MVP Kevin Durant. Montrose Christian is one of the top-ranked teams in Maryland and features Tulane commit Taron Oliver and Sacred Heart University signee Jermaine Ukaegbu. Covenant Christian brings Troy commit Tope Arikwe, a 6-foot-8, 230-pound power forward, to the matchup.

 

Norcross High School (GA) vs Madison Academy (AL)

 

At 5:30 PM, Class AAAAAA's No. 6 team, the Norcross Blue Devils take on Madison Academy (AL) with one of the biggest lineups in the state with 11 players listed as 6-foot-2 or taller. The host Blue Devils are experienced with six seniors playing key roles. 6-foot-6 Ricky Madison gets it done of both ends of the floor and is a double-double threat

Photo by Ty Freeman

every night. The High Point-commit went for 25 points and 11 rebounds in a win at No. 7 Collins Hill on Tuesday. Senior guard Tim Cameron is as solid as they come and holds offers from Georgia Southern, Louisiana Tech, and Middle Tennessee State. 6-foot-7 sophomore Rayshaun Hammonds is one of the top ranked players in his class, and is a nightmare in the paint. Devin Huffman is another strong guard that should play at the next level. Norcross has gone 2-1 against out of state competition this season but this will in the eight previous years of the Hilton Invitational, Norcross has never lost. 

 

Madison Academy's record isn't as sparkling as the Blue Devils but don't let them fool you. The Mustangs suit up just two seniors and rely on a plethora juniors and sophomores. 6-foot-6 shooting guard Joshua Langford is a high major prospect with interest from the likes of Kentucky, Florida, and Indiana. The five-star junior guard is averaging 26.8 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 4.1 assists per game to lead the Mustangs. Myles Parker is a 6-foot-7 sophomore who averages 10.5 points and 5.9 rebounds. Junior Will Acuff averages 9.8 points per game and 6-foot-8, 275 pound sophomore Austin Troxell bangs inside. Madison Academy has gone 0-2 out of the state this year with both losses coming from Georgia schools. No. 8 in 6A Douglas County nipped the 'Stangs by three and Class AA's No. 3 ranked team, Holy Innocents' won by 21.

 

Pebblebrook High School (GA) vs Dematha High School (MD)

 

The Pebblebrook Falcons who are ranked No. 3 in Class AAAAAA will face DeMatha, which is ranked No. 8 in the Nation by MaxPreps in the 7:00 PM timeslot. Pebblebrook features senior guard Ty Hudson (Clemson) and Georgia-commit Derek Ogbeide inside.

Photo by Ty Freeman

Hudson averages 19.1 points, 5.8 rebounds and 5.4 assists to go along with four steals per game. 6-foot-9 Ogbeide blocks over four shots per game and averages 13.7 points and 12.1 rebounds. The Falcons' x-factor however is unsigned junior point guard Jared Harper who leads the team in points (21.5) and assists (8.2). Trhae Mitchell rounds out the Falcons' attack averaging 13.4 points and 7.4 rebounds per game as a 6-foot-5 forward. Pebblebrook has gone 4-3 against teams outside of Georgia, dropping its past three games.

 

Prestigious DeMatha has been a hotbed for basketball talent. Alumni include Danny Ferry, Adrian Dantley, Victor Oladipo, and most recently Jerami Grant. This year's DeMatha squad features four-star sophomore guard D.J. Harvey and Binghamton-commit 6-foot-7 Thomas Bruce along with Drexel-commit Terrell Allen, a 6-foot-1 guard. The Stags are long all over the floor. Jaelin Grant is the youngest brother in the aforementioned Grant family and stands 6-foot-7. Forward Isaiah Jemel Buck has been recruited by Villanova, Virginia, and Xavier while three-star junior guard Markelle Fultz has piqued interest from the likes of Arizona, Maryland, and Georgetown. DeMatha has gone 6-1 in national games with its only loss coming to Sierra Canyon (CA) by five, who also beat Pebblebrook by one. The Stags' last meeting with a Georgia school came in the 2012-13 season at the Hilton Invitational where DeMatha fell to eventual state champs Norcross, 68-67.

 

Jonesboro High School (GA) vs Spain Park High School (AL)

 

The finale sets up one of the most intriguing matchups of the basketball season. Class AAAA No. 1 Jonesboro will face Alabama powerhouse Spain Park. The Jaguars host Vestavia Hills Friday night and will turnaround the next night to play arguable the best team in Georgia regardless of classification with Jonesboro (8:30 PM tip). Spain Park has been dominant against its Peach State opponents already this season and completed a three-game sweep of Fayette County (76-68), North Cobb Christian (69-56) and Pope (71-51) in the Lake City Classic last month. Sophomore Austin Wiley is Spain Park's player to watch and the 6-foot-9 power forward has risen to five-star status this season and is currently considered a top 10 recruit in the nation for the Class of 2017 by 247sports.

 

Jonesboro has its own nationally-ranked sophomore in 6-foot-5 shooting guard M.J. Walker Jr., captured its first-ever state championship last year and is off to a 19-1 start this season. Walker leads the team with 16.4 points per game, but it is the explosive scoring of senior Tracy Hector Jr. (12.4 points per game) and Deantre Mack (11.4 points per game) that make the Cardinals offense one of the best in the state.

 

 

 


SWIMMING NOTEBOOK
By Lauren Goldstein
North Oconee sweeps field at Clarke-Oconee Invitational

North Oconee's swim team controlled the Clarke-Oconee Invitational on January 17th at the Ramsey Center. North Oconee's Caroline Allen placed second in the girls 100-backstroke. The team of Caroline Allen, Emma Lowring, Alexis Shirley and Anna Rose Moore took the girls 200-free relay, Anna Rose Moore won the girls 500-freestyle and Eliza Petersen placed second in the girls 100-freestyle. Titans swimmers Megan Measel and Alexis Shirley placed first and third, respectively, in the girls 100-butterfly and Anna Rose Moore and Eliza Petersen placed first and third respectively in the girls 200-freestyle.

 

Oconee County's Danielle DellaTorre won the girls 100-breaststroke and 200-IM. Aidan Brock finished second in the boys 500-freestyle and Annie Williamson took home a pair of first place finishes in the 50 and 100-freestyle.

 

North Forsyth dominates at the Not So Quad Meet

North Forsyth claimed 14 events to give them a first-place finish in this year's Not So Quad Meet last Saturday at the Cumming Aquatic Center. The Raiders racked up 525 points to defeat South Forsyth (479), Forsyth Central (309), Pinecrest Academy (247) and Providence Christian (61). North boys finished on top with 280 points with nine swimmers placing first. Alejandro Garcia (50 and 100-freestyle), Jack Dalmolin (100-breaststroke and 200-IM), Gabe Brisuda (200-freestyle), Tony Scheyer (50-freestyle), Owen Wickman (100-butterfly) and the Raiders relay teams dominated the 200-medley, 200-freestyle and 400-freestyle. Logan Belt led Central with victories in the 100-backstroke and 500-freestyle and Micah Gilliam won the boys 1-meter dive with 281.7 points. The South girls edged their opponents with victories in the 200-medley, 200-freestyle and 400-free relays. Bayley Frierson added wins in the 200 and 500-freestyle, while teammate Rachel Sullivan led the Lady Raiders with first-place finishes in the 50-freestyle and 100-butterfly. Kelsey Robins placed first in the 100-freestyle, Nicole Sullivan in the 100-backstroke and Emily Carroll in the 100-breaststroke. Central's Macie Winter won the 1-meter dive with a score of 227.3. Twenty-six athletes or relay teams qualified for the state at the Not So Quad Meet.

 

Pope Freshman Britheny Jossaint leads her team to victory against Marist

Pope's swim and dive teams defeated Marist on January 15th with Pope girls finishing with 152 points and Marist with 141. Greyhound boys dominated the War Eagles 136-66. Pope freshman Britheny Jossaint took first-place in 100-backstroke and 50-freestyle. Girls 200-free relay and medley relay teams took first place. Greyhound boys finished first in the 200 free-relay and medley relay.

 

Pope junior Nick Goh placed first in boy's diving contest with 269 points. Marist freshman Michael Williams finished second with 127.10 points and Pope junior Greg Javadi placed third with 91.95 points. Greyhound freshman Matigan Donahue finished first with 150.45 points, Pope senior with Kelly Payton 137.55 points and Marist junior Sara-Adelaid Neel placed third with 119.40 points.

 

Lassiter Trojans finish on top at the River Ridge Quad Meet

Trojan swimmers competed in their last regular season meet against River Ridge, Walker and Alpharetta high schools on January 16th. Lassiter's top finishers were Parker Ciaramella (200-freestyle), Olivia Clark (200-freestyle), Nicholas Loprinzo (500-freestyle and 200-IM), Brogan Bunner (50-freestyle), Jake Waldner (100-butterfly), Amanda Carlson (100-butterfly and 500-freestyle), Alexis Asip (100-freestyle), Garrett Autera (100-backstroke) and Lauren Brewer (100-breaststroke).

 

Both boys and girls finished on top in the 200-medley relay. The men's relay team consisted of Brogan Bunner, Nicholas Loprinzo, Eric Glunn and Jake Waldner. The women's relay team was stacked with speed from Amanda Carlson, Lauren Brewer, Joy Wharton and Celeste Turner. The relay team of Parker Ciaramella , Brogan Bunner, Garrett Autera and Nick Loprinzo won the men's 400-free relay.

 

Alexis Asip (100-breastroke), Amanda Carlson (500-freestyle and 100 butterfly), Lauren Brewer (100-breaststoke) and Nuna Bamatraf (100-freestyle) finished with state meet qualifying times. The Trojan boys whom swam state qualifying times were Brogan Bunner (50-freestyle, 100 butterfly), Garrett Autera (100-backstroke), Jake Waldner (100-butterfly) and Nicholas Loprinzo (500 freestyle and 200-IM).

  

The Trojans are stacked with swimmers that finished with times to qualify them for the county meet. County meet qualifiers for the girls are Alexis Asip (100-freestyle), Ashley Eggart (100-breastroke), Caroline Miner (200 freestyle and 100-backstroke), Celeste Turner (50-freestyle and 100-butterfly), Emma West (100-freestyle and 200-IM), Lauren Brewer (200-IM), Lauren DesJardins (200-freestyle), Madison Quintanilla (50 freestyle), Mikaella Brandalise (500-freestyle), Miranda Butler (200-freestyle), Olivia Clark (50-freestyle and 200-freestyle), Rachel Cuttic (500-freestyle) and Samantha Fleming (100-butterfly).

 

The Trojan boys that swam county qualifiers were Carsten Link (50-freestyle and 100-freestyle), Eric Glunn (100-freestyle and 200-freestyle), Garrett Autera (50-freestyle and 100-freestyle), Jake Waldner (50-freestyle), Kevin Nastasi (200-freestyle and 100 breastroke), Kyle Waldner (500-freestyle), Matthew Williford (50 freestyle, 100-breastroke), Mitchell Marine (100-freestyle and 200-IM), Parker Ciaramella (100-freestyle, 200-freestyle and 100-butterfly), Spencer Vogel (100-freestyle and 200-freestyle), Trent Schorsch (500-freestyle and 100-backstroke), Trey Rucker (100-butterly and 200-IM), Will Cook (100-freestyle and 100-breastroke) and Will Horton (100-backstroke).




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