The North Augusta Lady Yellow Jackets have not lost a game against an area team in five years. The four-time repeat class 4A state champion started its attempt at a “five-peat” campaign Tuesday with a commanding 57-28 victory over River Bluff, a class 5A quarterfinalist a season ago.
Meanwhile, North Augusta’s opponent for tonight, Cross Creek, the #4 ranked team in Georgia’s class 3A, tipped things off Tuesday with an equally impressive 55-39 win over Josey, Georgia’s #4 ranked class 2A squad.
Tonight’s “Ladies First Part 2” showcase game between the Lady Razorbacks and the Lady Yellow Jackets have all of the ingredients to be the best girls basketball game of the season:
The area’s only two players who signed a national letter of intent during the early signing period will lead each unit. Jordyn Dorsey, who Cross Creek head coach Kim Schlein thinks will set a new all time scoring record for her school, inked with North Carolina A&T. Dorsey scored 25 points, making 5 three pointers in the first half, in the win.
Meanwhile, Dorsey’s senior counterpart, signed with Francis Marion during the early period. Lee, a three time state champion, led all scorers with 22 points in North Augusta’s season opening win.
Both teams appear to have begun the season at a full sprint. North Augusta’s heralded defense only allowed River Bluff to score in double digits in one of the four quarters Tuesday. And when you count Cross Creek’s preseason game win against Evans, the Lady Razorbacks have knocked down 17 three pointer in only two games.
Also, in addition to Dorsey and Lee, Cross Creek has gotten impressive production from junior Erin Martin and freshman Michaela Bogans. North Augusta, on the other hand, can rely on P’eris Smith, who has been a key contributor on two state title teams already, even though she’s only a sophomore.
You can tell Cross Creek head coach Kim Schlein is excited about the opportunity to visit the area’s reigning champion in their new arena by her answers to these questions.
Here are her words on the importance of playing the best competition early in the season ahead of region play:
“Absolutely we have to play strong teams to improve and learn.”
… about whether this game is extra special because of the reputation and resume North Augusta has amassed during its historic run:
“This is big because we have to prove to everyone that we can beat the best! To be the best, you have to beat the best!! I believe we have something very special this year!“
… about whether there is something extra special about her four-year starter and all-state dynamo Jordyn as a senior:
“She’s being more of a leader and she wants to win it all! The pressure is off of her since she signed already! Now all she is focusing on is grades and basketball!“
… and about her team’s three-point shooting barrage in the first weeks of the season:
“The thing is; now we have 3 shooters being Erin Martin, Michaela and Jordyn! It’s easy to focus on 1 scorer but when you have 3, the defense has to work even harder! It opens up a while new offense for us!”
Follow @AugBball on social media to keep up with the latest highlights, statistics, and photos from tonight’s game!
[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.
“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
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.
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: