By James Butler
PEACHTREE CITY Ga. – The start of the end-of-the-year holiday season has become synonymous with the start of big-time high school basketball matchups.
Two of Fayette County’s best boys teams take the court today and Saturday in post-Thanksgiving Day matchups. McIntosh plays a pair of games at the Holiday Hoopsgiving at Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School, while Sandy Creek will play a game apiece in both the Atlanta Hardwood JamFest and the Holiday Hoopsgiving.
Today, the Chiefs face off with Douglas County before matching up with Florida’s IMG Academy on Saturday.
Both games will be prime tests for McIntosh. The game against Douglas County will see the highly productive Chiefs backcourt Will Washington and Jordan Lyons matchup with a Douglas County backcourt led by North Carolina signee Brandon Robinson.
Washington had 24 points and 8 assists in McIntosh’s only game thus far this season (an 89-68 win over Morrow), while Lyons had 24 points and 5 assists that game.
On the other side Robinson is averaging 28 points over two games this season, both Douglas County wins, and the Tigers’ two other double figure per game scorers are guards Kalen Clifton and Jahorie Copeland.
It will be intriguing to see how Washington and Lyons handle the size of Robinson (6-5) and play against a player considered to be one of the top 100 in the Class of 2016.
It’s proven that not many backcourts can match the production of the Chiefs’ duo on a game-to-game basis, but Robinson (who figures to have increased responsibilities this season) and his mates will try.
Ultimately McIntosh’s inside duo of Chase Walter and Dishon Lowery may be the difference in the game. The matchup with the sports-centric IMG Academy will also provide a test, though IMG’s basketball program pales in comparison to their football program and the Ascenders do not appear to be as talented this season on the hardwood as they have been in previous seasons.
Sandy Creek takes on Grady today at the Atlanta Hardwood JamFest at Mays High School before facing Utah’s Wasatch Academy on Saturday at the Holiday Hoopsgiving.
Grady features scoring guard and Bucknell signee Avi Toomer. Toomer scored 31 points in the Knights only contest thus far this season, a 78-77 win over Redan. Wasatch Academy is a national program and thus plays a national schedule.
Last season the Tigers came to the Hoopsgiving and defeated one of Georgia’s better teams in Pace Academy, so if they were to lose to the Patriots, travel and an unfamiliar environment will not be the reasons.
For its part, Sandy Creek is coming off of a 91-51 rout of Griffin that saw five Patriots score in double figures. A.J. Freeman led Sandy Creek with 25 points, while Elias Harden pumped in 20 and freshman T.J. Bickerstaff had 11. Evan Jester and Christian Turner both had double-doubles as Jester had 10 rebounds to go with his 12 points and Turner had 10 assists to go with his 11 points.
Sandy Creek remains undefeated at 4-0 and will continue to garner more attention in the State with two more optimal performances to close out the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.