Two boys basketball teams represented the area well over the holidays by going out of town to capture tournament titles.
Glenn Hills swept three South Carolina schools to win the Taco Bell Classic in Columbia. Richmond Academy defeated three teams from the Atlanta area to win the Jared Cook Holiday Classic in Gwinnett County.
Glenn Hills defeated Keenan and A.C. Flora by a combined five points, then beat Hunter-Kinard-Tyler by 13 in the title game.
"We played real, real well, especially in the semifinals and championship," said Glenn Hills coach Travis McRae, whose team entered the tournament coming off a 34-point loss to Richmond Academy and played two of its games without starter Terrell Fitts, who was away at a football all-star game. "And Keenan, in the first game ... beating them on their home floor was tough."
Richmond Academy dropped Dacula, Newton and Wesleyan to win its tournament, which is named for the former University of South Carolina tight end, a Gwinnett native. Senior guard Desmond Lofland was named MVP following the Musketeers' one-point championship win over Wesleyan.
The Josey boys, Hephzibah girls, Silver Bluff girls and Laney boys also won tournaments in either Richmond County or Columbia County.
BEARS CLOSE: Burke County nearly captured another title for the area last week, falling only to eventual champion Gadsden City (Ala.) at the Sweet South Classic in Madison County.
After dropping their opener, the Bears beat Class AAAA schools Griffin and Douglas County.
Burke County will play host to Liberty County on Saturday night in a Region 3-AAA contest. Liberty County (14-0) is expected to be one of the top Class AAA teams in the state behind University of Tennessee recruit Jordan McRae, a 6-foot-6 guard.
REGION SCHEDULE HERE: Midland Valley and South Aiken will be among the last schools in the area to open region play when their Region 5-AAA schedule begins Friday.
The South Aiken boys play host to defending champion Dreher (9-1).
SWIFT SPRINTER: Glenn Hills senior Justin Lord recorded the fastest high school 60-meter time in the nation this year when he ran a 6.92 last week at the Boo Williams Winter Break Invitational in Hampton, Va.
No high school athlete in the country has posted a faster time, according to dyestat.com
GAMES OF THE WEEK
Boys basketball: Josey at Richmond Academy, 6:30 p.m. today: Both teams won tournament championships over the holidays and have combined to lose just one game in Region 3-AAAA. Defending champion Richmond Academy has won all but one region contest by double digits.
Girls basketball: Lakeside vs. Butler (at Glenn Hills), 7 p.m. Friday: The Panthers will play two of the best teams in Region 3-AAAA in less than 24 hours; they play Hephzibah at 5 on Saturday night. Lakeside and Butler both have one region loss: to Glenn Hills.
Reach Matt Middleton at (706) 823-3425 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
BASKETBALL STATS DUE EVERY WEDNESDAY
Individual player statistics are due at 4 p.m. Wednesday, no exceptions.
The Augusta Chronicle will publish a listing of area leaders in the following basketball categories: scoring, rebounding, assists, steals and blocked shots. Area leaders will be listed in averages per game in all applicable categories.
Nominations for area player of the week for both boys and girls will be due at this time. Please include any applicable statistics to support the nomination. The weekly stats and area players of the week will run each Friday.
Stats can be faxed to (706) 823-3408 or e-mailed to Prep Sports Writer Matt Middleton at matt.middleton@ augustachronicle.com. Please call (706) 823-3425 with any questions.