Strong start, more tests on the way for St. Pius boys

The St. Pius boys could hardly have scripted the opening to their season any better.

Win a rivalry game? Check.

The Golden Lions downed Blessed Trinity 67-41.

Topple a defending state champion? Check.

St. Pius smothered Class AAAAAA champ Langston Hughes for a 67-58 win.

“It was a really high level game, but I don’t think either team executed really well,” St. Pius coach Aaron Parr said of the Langston Hughes game. “But it definitely shows us that we can play with anybody if we pay attention to detail and buy into how we need to play defense.”

Facing Virginia Tech signee Landers Nolley II, the Lions took a trap-and-rebound approach in the fourth quarter, holding Hughes to eight points in the fourth period.

“They were scoring a lot of points off offensive rebounds,” Parr said. “We started trapping them and making them take tough shots, and then cleaned up with our rebounding.”

Rest on laurels? Well, two of the team’s next three games are also against defending state champions – Friday against defending Class A Private champ Greenforest Academy and Dec. 2 against Class AAA titlist Pace Academy.

“It’s good and bad,” Parr said. “Football, I don’t know how they do it when they lose. You’ve got to wait a whole week. With basketball it’s right back at it. The beauty of playing a challenging schedule you find out your team’s weaknesses early.”

Girls Signings have Final Four Flair: With the early signing period for basketball wrapped, it’s no surprise that numerous prep players from Georgia are moving on to the next level.

There’s probably no deeper meaning to be gleaned from poring over who has signed with what school, but it is interesting to note that all of the 2017 NCAA Women’s Final Four participants inked at least one player from the Peach State.

Model’s Victaria Saxton signed with national champion South Carolina, Harris County’s Jessika Carter signed with national finalist Mississippi State, Winder-Barrow’s Olivia Nelson-Ododo signed with UConn and Lovett’s Jenna Brown signed with Stanford.

Here are some more signings from the early period:

Girls – Kaila Hubbard (Holy Innocents’), Georgia; Jada Rice (Collins Hill), North Carolina State; De’Sha Benhamin (Laney), Alabama; Taniyah Worth (Flowery Branch), Alabama; Tory Ozment (Buford), Michigan State; Cameron Swartz, (Fellowship Christian), Colorado; Ashley Foster (Eagle’s Landing), Western Carolina; Daishai Almond (Peach County) Southern Miss; Shynia Jackson (Warner Robins), East Tennessee; Jaron Stallworth (Collins Hill) 6-0 F, Mercer.

Boys – Amanze Ngumezi (Johnson-Savannah), Georgia; JoJo Toppin (Norcross), Georgia; Devin Vassell (Peachtree Ridge), Florida State; Mohammed Abdulsalam, (Greenforest Academy/Link Year Prep), UNC-Greensboro; Justin Lee(Collins Hill), Northern Illinois; K.J. Buffen (Gainesville), Middle Tennessee; Tye Fagan (Upson-Lee), Middle Tennessee; Carlos Curry (Dougherty), Middle Tennessee; Will Richardson, (Liberty County/Oak Hill), Oregon; Trey Doomes, (Allatoona/University School (FL), West Virginia.

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