Posted: 9:03 am Saturday, January 11th, 2014
Westlake’s boys 14-1 despite losing ‘some big-time players’ … Archer’s girls win showdown … Duluth’s sweep of Norcross
By Todd Holcomb
Westlake is a perennial Top 10 team in boys basketball, but the 14-1 start remains a little surprising because Westlake lost all-state guard Anthony Bagtas to Penn and Andre Elam to Livingstone College. Another top prospect, Kejuan Johnson, transferred.
”We lost some big-time players,” Westlake coach Darron Rogers said.
Ranked fifth, Westlake won an important Region 3-AAAAAA game this week against 10th-ranked Douglas County 74-73. Point guard Raymond Sanders scored 24 points. Saunders and combo guard Tyler Williams average 16.6 points per game. Dominic Joseph averages 10.2 points and 5.4 rebounds. He had 10 boards against Douglas County.
Westlake’s only loss is to Lincoln of Brooklyn, ranked by MaxPreps as the No. 3 team overall in New York state. Westlake has beaten three other Top 10 teams in Georgia, all from lower classifications.
Westlake also is getting good work from point guard Anthony Banks, combo guards Benjamin Lamb, Eric Hines and Jarred Heard and junior power forwards Jayvus Brown and Micaiah Henry. At 6-foot-6, Henry is the only player taller than 6-5.
“We are playing well defensively and we play with a good basketball IQ,’’ Rogers said. “Team chemistry is the best we have had in years. The players are accepting the coaching, and they are running the Westlake system. We press on offense, and we press on defense.’’
Here are a few other tidbits from Class AAAAAA as we look back on the week:
Third-ranked Archer (15-1, 8-0) never trailed in its 51-42 victory on Thursday against second-ranked Parkview (14-2, 6-1) in a Region 8 showdown. Point guard Madison Newby scored 17 points, made eight steals and had five rebounds. Parkview’s top player, point guard Genesis Perrymond, was not a factor because of a shoulder injury.
Duluth pulled a double shocker this week when it swept Norcross, the defending boys and girls state champions. Duluth’s girls (8-7, 42) won 46-38. They had lost 13 straight to Norcross. Duluth’s boys (10-5, 4-2) won 56-55 in overtime after trailing by 11 in the third quarter. They had lost 19 straight to Norcross. Bryce Wooten scored 10 points, had nine rebounds and made the game-winning layup with 5 seconds left. The last time Norcross had been swept was Feb. 10, 2012, against North Gwinnett.
Walton (12-1, 5-1) went from being the only undefeated boys team in Class AAAAAA to third place in Region 5 on Friday when beaten 72-58 by Milton (10-5, 5-0). Mo Lewis IV scored 18 points for the winning Eagles, who will play No. 1-ranked Wheeler (10-4, 6-0) for the region lead on Thursday. (Check out David Purdum’s story on the game and Milton’s transition to new coach Matt Kramer.) Wheeler defeated Cherokee 47-31 on Friday. Cherokee (13-3, 4-2) lost its first region game earlier this week to Walton and plays Milton on Tuesday.
Luella’s boys are 7-7 but now lead Region 2 with a 4-0 record after a 57-56 victory on Friday over Lovejoy, which entered 9-2, 4-0. Luella lost its best player, South Carolina-signee TeMarcus Banton, to fouls in the fourth quarter, and Lovejoy led by two when it missed two free throws with 8.5 seconds left. But Lovejoy missed two at the line, and A.J. Banton would up making a three-point play to win it.