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Thomson Falls Short Against Hart County on Neutral Floor

In its fifth game of the season, and third in the last five days, Thomson finally met its match in the form of Hart County.

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                       #3 Lavonta Ivery (Thomson)

School 1Q2Q3Q4QFinal
Hart County218212272
Thomson 620211966

    Hart County – Tahj Johnson 3 2-4 8, Ben Edwards 1 0-1 3, Jay Heard 3 1-1 8, Sean Teasley 1 1-2 3, JC Curry 6  9-16 24, Spudd Webb 6 9-9 23, Ethan Spagnoli 1 0-0 3. Totals: 21 22-33 72.

    Thomson – Jalen Moss 3 2-6 9, Lavonta Ivery 6 3-6 18, Jaheem Battle 2 0-0 6, Vasco Winfrey 3 2-3 8, Jahkiaus Jones 3 1-1 7, J.C  Brooks 3 1-1 7, Tramon D’Antignac 1 1-1 3, Jaquan Hart 3 2-2 8. Totals: 24 12-20 66.

Three-point goals – Hart County: 8 (Edwards, Heard, Curry 3, Webb 2, Spagnoli). Thomson 6 (Moss, Ivery 2, Battle 2).

In its fifth game of the season, and third in the last five days, Thomson finally met its match in the form of Hart County, which topped the Bulldogs 72-66 Tuesday afternoon on a neutral court at Cedar Shoals High School. JC Curry and Spudd Webb* led the way in the winning effort with 24 and 23 points, respectively. Hart County surged to a 21-6 lead after one quarter before Thomson gained its footing.

The Bulldogs sprinted back into contention in the second quarter by outscoring Hart County 20-8 and narrowing the deficit to 3 points by halftime. Vasco Winfrey scored 7 points and JC Brooks 5 during the spurt. 

Once Thomson had made it a game, freshman standout Lavonta Ivery, who led the Bulldogs with 18 points, warmed up to the tune of 13 second half points, while making 3 three pointers after the break. And Thomson’s other heralded freshman, Jahkiaus Jones, also came alive as the game progressed. Jones scored all 7 of his points during the final quarter, including two on a nifty reverse layup that cut the deficit to 2 points with :21 remaining, providing a last ray of hope for the Bulldogs.

“We are young,” Thomson head coach Michael Thomas said about his team’s slow start. “We are going to look at the video so they can see…. but some stuff unfortunately they just have to experience.”

The good news is Thomas could see his young team growing and learning in real time as it faced its stiffest test of the season so far.

“We actually grew up within the game,” Thomas explained. I am very enthused by that, and if we could have played 5 quarters, or made recognition sooner…”

Thomson had started its season 4-0 before running into Hart County, the defending regular season champion of class 3A’s region 8, which posted a 23-6 record last season before being knocked out of the state playoffs in the second round. The Bulldogs have designs on a similar path for themselves this season in class 3A, after moving from class 4A. Today’s game provided a good measuring stick for what coach Thomas’s group will have to do to make those plans come true.

“For where we are, it was the kind of competition we needed at this time,” Thomas said of Tuesday’s experience.

More tests lie ahead for Thomson’s young team before region play heats up in January. The Bulldogs will take on rival Warren County at home this Saturday before facing Butler (location coming) the following Tuesday, and hosting Aiken on Saturday, January 2nd.

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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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