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Grovetown Falls to Lanier to End Lemon Street Classic Run

Grovetown dropped a 60-57 decision Tuesday to Lanier in the fifth place game of the Lemon Street Classic at Marietta High School.

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                  #4 Julius Brown (Grovetown)

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Grovetown 181681557

    Lanier – Andrew McConnell 9 0-0 21, Iajah Phillips 2 2-2 6, Cameron Thornton 1 1-2 3, Makai Vassell 1 2-2 4, Justin Birch 0 2-2 2, CJ Hyland 2 4-6 9, Mason Friedel 2 1-1 6, Conner Marcantel 1 0-0 2, Jayce Nathaniel 1 0-0 2, Tahai Morgan 1 2-2 5. Totals: 20 14-17 60.

    Grovetown – Malik Ferguson 4 0-0 8, Julius Brown 5 4-4 14, Zach Bell 8 1-6 18, Jaden Cobb 3 0-0 7, Markel Freeman 2 0-0 4, Derion Reid 1 0-0 2. 23 5-10 57.

Three-point goals Lanier: 6 (McConnell 3, Hyland, Friedel, Morgan). Grovetown: 2 (Bell, Cobb).

Grovetown dropped a 60-57 decision Tuesday to Lanier in the fifth place game of the Lemon Street Classic at Marietta High School. The Warriors led all the way to the 2:43 mark in the fourth quarter, when Mason Friedel nailed a three from the right corner to give the Longhorns a 56-55 lead. Zach Bell answered with a hanging, double pump finish in front of the rim with 1:20 remaining to put Grovetown back ahead by a point. But Iajah Phillips answered on the other end to provide the go ahead bucket, and Lanier’s lead held when James Madison bound Andrew McConnell drew a charge on Grovetown’s attempt to answer. Julius Brown drove into the middle of the paint and ran into McConnell while trying to drop the ball off to Bell for a finish at the rim.

McConnell finished with a game high 21 points, and the highly regarded senior guard made 3 three pointers in the second half while Lanier made up a 34-28 halftime deficit.

Bell and Brown led the Warriors with 18 and 14 points, respectively. The team’s veteran guards, playing without fellow senior leader Jaye Gant, who suffered a concussion in the team’s quarterfinal game against Miller Grove Saturday, answered every Lanier run until finally falling short in the last 60 seconds.

In addition to Bell’s hanging finish that put Grovetown ahead with 1:20 left, Bell also ran off five straight points late in the third quarter after a pair of Lanier three pointers cut Grovetown’s lead to 1 at 42-41. And late in the second quarter Brown responded to a 6-0 Lanier spurt that cut Grovetown’s lead to 29-28 with a three point play to give the Warriors breathing room before Malik Ferguson added a bucket to put the Warriors ahead 34-28 at halftime.

Grovetown head coach Darren Douglas participated in a short post game interview via text message while he was in transit back to the Augusta area, the third such trip he has made in four days as Grovetown and Evans were not able to ride school buses or stay in hotel rooms during the tournament in Marietta.

Chad Cook:

Today’s game had all the trappings of a “let down game.” It was your third game of the tournament, and your second consolation bracket game. It was your third round trip to Atlanta in four days. The shots were bound to not fall like they did yesterday. Yet your team was able to control the game for most of 32 minutes against last season’s state runner up in your class (6A). Were you pleased with the effort?

Darren Douglas:

In spots. I think Zach has to be way better than he was today. We let them hang around too long and it came back to bite us. We got what we needed from this event in terms of experience for some of our guys who haven’t played in this type of event and hopefully it helps us down the road.

Chad Cook:

You said after the Miller Grove game that you told your underclassmen that “Zach and Ju won’t always have it,” so they will need to step up and play like veterans. From your first comment I take it you think tonight was a night when Zach didn’t have it. It seemed to me like Julius did. Do you think your underclassmen still need to make progress, and if so will it just be about repetitions to get there?

Darren Douglas:

They do need to continue to improve definitely, but I thought they played decently tonight and playing these types of games will help them along their process.


Coach Douglas has stressed the need to play great competition during our interviews this week. Grovetown’s next scheduled game is against nationally ranked (#11) Pebblebrook on Saturday, January 2nd, at Kell High School.

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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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