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Highlights from Grovetown vs North Augusta

Four teams I expect to be among the area’s best this season finished their preseason Tuesday when North Augusta’s boys and girls teams visited Grovetown for a pair of scrimmage games.

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Colin Rodrigues (North Augusta) sprints back to contest Zach Bell (Grovetown) at the rim.

Grovetown 78, North Augusta 74 (Preseason Scrimmage Game)

Four teams I expect to be among the area’s best this season finished their preseason Tuesday when North Augusta’s boys and girls teams visited Grovetown for a pair of scrimmage games that would that easily could have been mistaken either for region rivalry or even postseason matchups had we spectators not known better.

A few sequences during the third quarter of the boys game vividly illustrated the competitiveness of the players and the high level of talent on the floor. For example, after a North Augusta turnover, Grovetown’s Darius Dunn, who recovered the ball at the free-throw line on his defensive side, quickly spotted teammate Zach Bell leaking out at half court with no Yellow Jacket defender in sight. The instant the ball left Dunn’s hands, North Augusta’s Colin Rodrigues, who was standing near the corner, even with Dunn and a good 25 feet from Bell, broke into a sprint and made up enough ground to plant his feet on the volleyball line at the same time as Bell, who himself had planted to rise up for a dunk.

Unlike the other three times Bell blew the roof off of the gym with thunderous slam dunks in the third quarter, he was unable to finish this particular attempt. But the buzz in the gym from after he tried, and as importantly, after Rodrigues’s extra effort to make sure to contest and ultimately get called for a foul, made it obvious that we were watching two high-level teams that wanted to do everything in their power to win the bragging rights that were at stake Tuesday, whether it was a regular-season game or not.

Grovetown topped North Augusta 78-74 in the boys’ game. The Warriors were led by Bell, who scored 19 points, senior Zy Wright, who also tallied 19, and junior Julius Brown, who logged 15 points (4 three-pointers) and 9 assists.

Rodrigues (15 points), a junior, led the way for North Augusta. Senior Kaleb Cooper added 12.

North Augusta 59, Grovetown 52 (Girls)

In the first game, North Augusta’s Lady Yellow Jackets, the three-time South Carolina class 4A defending state champions, topped a promising Grovetown squad 59-52 behind 19 points by 6-2 freshman P’eris Smith and 17 by junior Kiana Lee.

Sophomore Keona Curtis led Grovetown with 15 points, and fellow sophomore D’mya Griffin added 12.

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