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“Beyond the Box Score”: Interview With Aquinas coach Patrick Green Plus More

Chad Cook chat’s with Aquinas coach Patrick Green about the importance of the unsung play. Plus boxscores from other area games.

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Justin Lloyd – Aquinas

Aquinas closed Tuesday’s road game against Augusta Christian with a 19-8 run to earn a 67-56 win and improve to 1-2 for the season. The spurt started when Tahj Vines broke a 48-48 tie with 6:49 remaining with a corner three on a feed from Patrick Green II. During the rest of the run Green would put in two layups of his own (here’s the link). Then Cam Parada and Justin Lloyd finished a lefty layup each. And the sprint ended when Vines threw in a “heat check” type three-pointer with the Fighting Irish ahead 59-52 with 1:50 remaining in the game.

The win was the first of the season for Aquinas after three tries, four if you count a preseason contest against Lakeside. After a nail biter in that preseason game, the Fighting Irish took were thumped by Thomson Saturday and Glenn Hills Monday before rallying Tuesday night. It struck me that the team’s fourth quarter run was propelled by a noticeable dose of teamwork, chemistry and energy, which was impressive for a young team which could have been reeling after a couple lopsided losses in the days prior.

The morning after the win, I asked second-year head coach Patrick Green about the team’s unselfish play, and about how the team’s chemistry has developed, and whether the bond between the players is something that has progressed throughout the first few games of the season, or if it has always been present. Coach Green’s thoughtful reply addresses the question about teamwork, and it describes the core principles he teaches his: the value of playing hard, playing together and playing with discipline.
Aquinas Head Coach Patrick Green:

“In reference to chemistry, those guys are constantly in the gym together. They’re always pushing each other. We drive off the proverb of “iron sharpens iron”, so they understand to grow they have to be challenged and challenge each other. And even off the court, they enjoy being around each other. It’s great to see the bond they have and to watch it grow the more battles they go through together.

I appreciate hearing that (my saying the Aquinas’s teamwork was evident). I think two of the greatest compliments you can hear about your team is that they play hard and play together. The other being that they play with discipline.

We talk endlessly about the benefits of playing as a unit as opposed to five individual parts. Starting defensively and carrying over to offense. Teamwork is huge for us, particularly in that we’re often out-sized to some degree, and even if we weren’t, it’d still be critical.

In that fourth quarter, those principles were on full display. We knew Augusta Christian was tough and well coached and that we’d have to be at our best to beat them. I’m proud that we locked in defensively in that quarter and on offense found the best shot, make or miss.

We’ve got a young team overall – the pass play you mentioned was from sophomore to sophomore. In fact, during that 4th run, we had three sophomores (Patrick Green II, Tahj Vines, and Justin Lloyd), a freshman (Camden Parada), and a junior (Jacquez Merriweather) on the floor. All those guys made huge plays for us. So, a young team, a talented group of guys and they’ve always been unselfish, but in our first two losses to Thomson and Glenn Hills, we weren’t always very patient. And we paid miserably for it.

We came out more patient against AC, still aggressive, but disciplined. We of course got several big buckets from our senior sharpshooter Alex Cosper in the opening half.

I think that run to end the game illustrated for them how good they can be when they play with aggression coupled with patience and trust. And ultimately, they had a determination to do all the little things that might not show in the box score to win that game.

We were in the same position heading into the 4th just the night before against Glenn Hills. And we didn’t make the best decisions. Didn’t play as one unit. Great learning opportunity though.

That’s one of the things you miss from the summer, the opportunity for these guys to play together and learn in the battle some of the things they’re having to learn early in the season.

Tonight though, is the kind of night these guys are more than capable of. They worked extremely hard in the off-season on their own and really pull for one another. They know, as we constantly discuss, that we’ll have ups and downs throughout the season but the one constant has to be our commitment to the team in our effort and our attitude.”

Here’s an example of sophomore Justin Lloyd making a fundamentally sound play that doesn’t appear in the box score but helped Aquinas earn Tuesday’s win. Lloyd boxes out AC’s Luke Wilson, who has about a 12 inch height advantage over Lloyd, drawing a foul and gaining his team possession of the ball during Aquinas’s run.)

School1Q2Q3Q4QFinal
Aquinas1414182167
Augusta Christian191415856

    Aquinas – Camden Parada 3 2-4 8, Patrick Green 2 0-1 4, Tahj Vines 6 0-0 14, Justin Lloyd 9 1-2 19, Jacquez Merriweather 3 5-6 12, Alex Cosper 3 0-0 9. Totals: 26 8-12 67.

    Augusta Christian – Johnny O’Keefe 6 2-6 18, Tray Moseley 4 0-0 8, Avery Evans 2 0-0 4, Elijah Crawford 4 1-2 9, Cam Slade 2 4-4 9, Luke Wilson 2 2-2 6, Jacob Thigpen 2 0-1 2. Totals: 22 9-15 56.

Three-point goals – Aquinas: 6 (Vines 2, Merriweather, Cosper 3). Augusta Christian: 5 (O’Keefe 4, Slade).

Boys

School1Q2Q3Q4QFinal
River Bluff2810161165
Cross Creek1120121457

    River Bluff – Myles Jenkins 6 8-11 22, Grayson Renner 3 4-4 12, Landon Stills 4 3-5 14, Evan Haig 3 2-2 9, Brice Gordon 1 0-0 2, Chase Powell 3 0-0 6. Totals: 20 17-22 65.

    Cross Creek – Devin Pope 5 1-2 15, Richard Visitacion 6 2-2 16, Ricardo Daggett 1 0-0 2, Corey Trotter 9 1-1 22, Antoine Lorick 3 0-0 6. Totals: 24 4-5 57.

Three-point goals – River Bluff: 8 (Jenkins 2, Renner 2, Stills 3, Haig). Cross Creek: 9 (Pope 4, Visitacion 2, Trotter 3).

Corey Trotter – Cross Creek
School1Q2Q3Q4Q1OTFinal
South Pointenanananana59
Aiken6121813453

    South Pointe – No scoring details.

    Aiken – Clay Howard 3 0-0 6, RJ Felton 8 2-2 19, Kam Williamson 2 3-4 8, Nate Holland 4 0-0 8, Keyon Landy 1 1-1 3, Dee Roberson 2 1-2 5, DeMarcus Mazone 1 2-2 4. Totals: 21 9-1 53.

Three-point goals – Aiken: 2 (Felton, Williamson).

Girls

*From 11/20

School1Q2Q3Q4QFinal
Lakeside1214131352
Harlem86111338

    Lakeside – Jania Stokes 4 6-9 14, Makayla Chambliss-Cook 2 3-3 8, Chloe Rivera 2 1-3 5, Kim Williams 4 6-10 14, Claire Messer 1 0-0 3, River Good 1 0-0 2, Dallyan Morales 1 1-2 3, Aeriel Patterson 0 3-4 3. Totals: 15 20-31 52.

    Harlem – Gracyn Gurley 3 0-0 8, Olivia Chen 4 0-2 9, Reagan Quattlebaum 1 0-0 3, Kali Garrett 6 0-0 17, Elizabeth Boudreaux 0 1-2 1. Totals: 14 1-4 38.

Three-point goals – Lakeside: 2 (Chambliss-Cook, Messer). Harlem: 9: (Gurley 2, Chen, Quattlebaum, Garrett 5).

*From 11/24

School1Q2Q3Q4QFinal
Lakesidena3013750
Westsidena1291233

    Lakeside – Jania Stokes 2 1-2 5, Makayla Chambliss-Cook 1 0-2 3, Chloe Rivera 2 0-2 5, Kim Williams 4 9-15 17, Claire Messer 3 0-0 9, River Good 2 1-2 5, Dallyan Morales 1 0-0 2, Aeriel Patterson 2 0-4 4. Totals: 17 10-26 50.

    Westside – Tetteria Holliman 0 1-4 1, Kaniya Ferguson 1 0-0 2, Taylor Boddie 6 5-7 19, Kennedy Armistead 0 1-2 1, Alexxis Ingram 2 0-2 6, Tayla Greenwood 0 1-1 1, Janiya Lee 2 1-3 3. Totals: 11 9-19 33.

Three-point goals – Lakeside: 5 (Chambliss-Cook, Rivera, Messer 3). Westside: 4 (Boddie 2, Ingram 2).

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[Livestream] Grovetown vs Evans in Region Battle for Playoff Position

Evans hosts Grovetown and looks to avenge their buzzer beater loss to the Warriors on January 22nd.

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“Sophomore Malik Ferguson picked up a loose ball in the middle of the paint with one second remaining, and right before the fourth quarter buzzer sounded, he released a shot that found its mark to give Grovetown 61-60 win over Evans Friday, a result that threw the top spot in the class 6A, region 5 standings into a three way tie between Grovetown, Evans and Heritage to mark the beginning of the stretch run for the league’s regular season championship. Ferguson’s shot came at the end of a full court dash by Grovetown after head coach Darren Douglas was able to draw up a play during a timeout that was meant to result in a bucket in only six seconds. The play was designed for senior Zach Bell, who eventually fumbled the ball after spinning between defenders at the end of a drive that began near half court after he gathered the ball from freshman Derrion Reid.”

That was Chad Cook’s rundown of the instant classic that these two teams played two weeks ago. That win by Grovetown sets up a must-win scenario for Evans as they look to maintain their footing in the race for a region championship.

Be sure to get your ? ready early because if tonight’s game is as exciting as the last one, you just might forget those jokers altogether!

Streams will be posted here. Tip-off times are as follows:
Girls – 6:30 PM
Boys – 8:00 PM

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Former Basketball Stars Lead the Way in Business, Community Service, and Artistic Pursuits

Harold Doby, Reggie Middleton and Roman Hill have turned a brand into a business, a lifestyle and a mental framework for impacting their community.

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Reggie Middleton (left) and Harold Doby (right)

On January 4th, the day after Harold Doby’s “Books and Life Lessons” (B.A.L.L.) charitable organization conducted a coat drive to help keep warm some of the most vulnerable people in the downtown area, I spoke with Doby and Reggie Middleton, two lifelong friends and former college and high school basketball stars, at Middleton’s “Came From Nxthing Designer Apparel” shop at 120 James Brown Boulevard. Our interview (below) covered the coat drive, Reggie’s entrepreneurial journey, and the meaning behind the “Came From Nxthing” brand, which originated from the music of Roman Hill, our third interviewee. Hill’s friendship with Doby and Middleton helped sprout a “movement” that has provided a framework for the three former athletes to impact the world through acts of community service, business, art, entrepreneurship and charity.

The interview provided a great chance for me to get reacquainted with two men I’ve watched grow from being boys who excelled in a game, to leaders of their families and their community. I bet others who watched them star at Glenn Hills and Winthrop (Middleton), and at Laney and Augusta University (Doby), will also gain satisfaction from hearing about their continued personal development. For example, Reggie explained how he took advantage of his basketball talent to earn a job playing professional basketball in London. Then he used his experience there to hatch a business idea to bring high-quality fashion for an affordable price to people in his hometown.

Reggie Middleton scored 1,186 points for Winthrop.

Harold’s concern for people who are most in need, whether it be the men and women he personally distributed the coats to earlier this month, or the students in his school he recalled giving clothes and shoes to when he was in grade school, is the original reason for my getting back into contact with the two men I once coached and taught when they were middle schoolers.

Harold Doby distributing coats in downtown Augusta on January 4.

I’m grateful we reconnected because they are a shining example of what can be greatest about sports and the community that builds around such a life journey: strong, caring relationships developed through shared experiences, encounters with adversity, and moments of triumph, as well as failures and hardships. Reggie’s story about how he has been able to take the difficult circumstances of the pandemic and nonetheless thrive in business with his “back against the wall” by drawing on his experiences as a basketball player growing up reinforces something I’ve always believed, that youth sports is great practice for real life. 

Harold Doby and Reggie Middleton, as well as Roman Hill, whom Doby first met as his rapping Augusta University basketball teammate, are winning the game of real life every bit as much as they did when they mastered the game of basketball as younger men.

Look out for news of the next Drive from B.A.L.L. Visit the Came From Nxthing Designer Apparel Facebook page to see Reggie’s merchandise, shop with him online or find store information:

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