More weekend hoops events on tap

There are a half-dozen basketball events scheduled around the state this weekend giving a broad menu for people looking to see numerous games in one day.

At Pope, the Southeast Basketball Academy Hoop Festival has five scheduled games featuring more than 45 college prospects. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for students for all five games. Children under age 6 get in free.

The event, which started out at the Cobb Civic Center and switched to Pope in 2012, is in its 10th year.

“The event is a platform to provide opportunities for exposure for the high school kids,” Organizer William LoPresti. “It’s a celebration of our talent in the state and it gives the teams a chance to play against opponents they might not see in the regular season.”

The schedule: 2:00 p.m. – Blessed Trinity vs. Hillgrove; 3:30 p.m. – Berkmar vs. Mt. Bethel Christian; 5:00 p.m. – Hoover (AL) vs. Kennesaw Mountain; 6:30 p.m. – Duluth vs. McEachern; 8:00 p.m. – Dacula vs. Pope.

For more information visit http://www.southeastbasketballacademy.com/event-details.html.

Other events: The SMI Christmas Classic at Bowdon, Dec. 14-16; The U Save It Classic at Dougherty in Albany, Dec. 15, 16 & 18; the Lakepoint Basketball Showcase at North Cobb Christian; the Strong Rock Christmas Tournament in Locust Grove, Dec. 16, 18, 22 and 23; the Queens of the Hardwood at Whitewater, Dec. 16.

Mercy at the points: Morgan Jones of the Our Lady of Mercy girls is averaging 37 points per game to go with 12 rebounds, 3 steals and 3 blocks per game. Jones sits atop the MaxPreps state scoring leaders, and her scoring average accounts for 67 percent of the Lady Bobcats’ points.

Latimer leads Stephenson: The Stephenson boys extended their winning streak to six Tuesday night behind senior guard Bryce Latimer, who scored 32 points, including 11 in the final 4:28 as the Jaguars handed Tucker its second straight loss.

Irish on the road: In addition to the in-state events, numerous Georgia teams are crossing state lines to play in events. One of those is the Dublin boys team, which has topped 100 points in each of its last two games. The Irish are 6-1 (the lone loss was to Class A Public defending state champion Wilkinson County and their last two games beat Twiggs County 106-72 and Treutlen 109-91. Five Dublin players average double figures in scoring, led by Kameron Pauldo (23 ppg) and Clarence Jackson (21). Dublin plays in the Kreul Classic in Coral Springs, Florida. The Heritage School from Newnan and Greenforest Christian are also scheduled to appear in the event.

Q&A WITH LANDERS NOLLEY
Langston Hughes senior shooting guard Landers Nolley led the Panthers to a state championship last spring and now he’s surrounded by a revamped starting lineup. Nolley, who signed with Virginia Tech in the early signing period, is averaging 27.7 points per game and making 46 percent of his 3-point attempts.

THOUGHTS ON RECRUITING:
It’s a relief to have that out of the way, so I can focus on the season and doing stuff I want to do my senior year.

ON SEASON SO FAR:
It’s been good. We’ve had a couple of bumps, but we’re on a winning streak now. I’m not really satisfied with my play, but we’ll be working on that.

WHAT AREAS OF THE GAME ARE YOU FOCUSING ON?
Being more assertive off the dribble, and my spot-up [jump shot], so I can be more effective at the next level. I looked at my percentage over the summer and my spot-up percentage was way down from off the dribble.

WHY VIRGINIA TECH?
A lot of people ask me that. They play a fast–paced offense. They shoot the ball every 9-10 seconds. They don’t really get too deep in the shot clock. At Langston, we don’t really spend too much time to get into what we get into. We get out into transition, get fouls, quick shots, get back on the defensive end.

ON DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THIS YEAR’S TEAM AND LAST YEAR’S TEAM?
I think this year’s team has more length. We’re quick on our feet and get a chance to get deflections and steals, we can get out and get the flashy plays, like dunks.

ON NEWCOMER TYLER SMITH, WHO TRANSFERRED IN:
Tyler really adds another threat on the wing, especially in the transition. When they’re focusing on me that’s when he can score and get rebounds.

ON PLAYING A TEAM THAT FORCES A SLOWER PACE:
We haven’t really been forced into a half-court yet, but we’re not afraid of it.

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