Prep Basketball: Still plenty of big local games left on slate

By DOUG GORMAN
dgorman@newnan.com
With a little less than a month remaining in the regular season, local high school basketball teams have some big games still remaining on their slate.
At Newnan, it appears the Cougars have found their go-to player in the form of junior guard Doniel Dean, who scored 26 points in Friday’s 67-58 victory over rival East Coweta.
Dean can shoot from the inside and outside, but his biggest threat might just be his ability to get to the free-throw line. In the victory against the Indians, he was 10 of 10 from the line.
The Cougars’ junior has a talented supporting cast that has helped the team explode to a 10-2 overall record and a 1-1 mark in Region 3-AAAAAA play.

Senior Kaceon Person runs the floor and can dish off the basketball or pull up and shoot. Friday night he finished with 11 points.

Add 6-8 center Immanuel Griggs to the mix and the Cougars have another offensive threat.

Newnan didn’t have too much time celebrate its win over East Coweta. Less than 24 hours after beating the Indians, Newnan stepped out of region play with a game against New Manchester on the road in Douglasville. Results were not available at press time.

Tuesday, the Cougars get an even bigger test when they entertain Douglas County at the Max Bass Athletic Complex. The Tigers have emerged as one of the teams to beat after starting league play with a 2-0 record.

East Coweta head coach Ronnie Vandiver’s biggest challenge has been trying to find his team's identity. Despite the loss to Newnan, the Indians did have some people step up against the Cougars in an attempt to keep the game close.

Sanoj Allen was the team’s leading scorer, chipping in 19 points, but O’Darius Kendell also had his shooting touch working with a 14-point effort.

“We just have to find away for somebody to step up on a consistent basis,” Vandiver said in the days leading up to the Newnan game.

East Coweta’s boys dropped to 3-11 overall and 0-3 in Region 3-AAAAAA play. The Indians have now lost three games in a row.

It won’t get any easier for them Tuesday night when they play at Westlake, last year’s Region 2-AAAAA champions. Westlake, which lost its only Region 3-AAAAA game to Douglas County, brings an 11-4 record into the contest.

The Heritage School Hawks boys basketball team possibly came back to earth Friday night with a 67-62 overtime loss to Dominion Christian, but there’s no reason to think they won’t be able to challenge for a GISA 1-AAA title.

The Heritage School rolled off 11 wins in a row before falling on the road and there is plenty of talent to go around.

A younger East Coweta girls team came into its own Friday night with a 50-40 victory over rival Newnan.

Freshman Eboni Williams played a big role in the team’s victory over Newnan, scoring nine points en route to the win. Her basket midway through the third quarter pushed the Lady Indians to their largest lead of the game at 37-23 before Newnan went on a 12-0 run eventually trimming the margin briefly back to single digits.

There is still plenty of senior leadership on East Coweta squad with Ciarra Davison and Lexy Zelczak stepping up as offensive weapons for the Indians. Zelczak’s 11 points helped East Coweta to Friday night’s win. The Lady Indians center hit four shots from the field and was 3 of 4 from the line. At the forward position, Davison was also 3 of 4 from the line and hit three shots from the field to finish with 9.

Although East Coweta go off to a slow start, Friday’s win improved their record to a 3-12 overall record and a 2-1 mark in Region 3-AAAAAA play.

“We feel like we are going to win some more games, “ head coach Paula Jones said. “I think this victory helped us grow up some.”

Newnan’s girls are still trying to find away to jumpstart their season. After 10 straight losses, it appeared the Lady Cougars were on the right track after beating Tri-Cities.

However, the challenges keeping getting bigger for Newnan. After its game with New Manchester Saturday afternoon, the team faces the hottest team in the Region 3-AAAAAA on Tuesday when Douglas County comes to town. The Lady Tigers, led by veteran head coach Chet Forsh, have rolled off nine wins in a row and own a 9-2 overall record and a 1-0 mark in the region.

LaKil Derring kept the Lady Cougars in Friday’s game with a 21-point performance. The Newnan senior drilled three 3-pointers to lead all scorers.

Both Northgate basketball teams are trying to find a way to win on a consistent basis.

After appearing to get back on track with a sweep of Creekside on Saturday, Northgate fell on the road to Whitewater on Friday.

The loss dropped Northgate’s boys team to 4-9 and 3-6 in Region 4B-AAAAA. The Lady Vikings are 4-10 and 2-7 in subregion play.

The Lady Vikings lost 50-24 to the Lady Wildcats, getting five points from Ebonee Echols and Katie Mitchell to lead the squad.

Northgate’s boys got a solid effort out of Trey Stargill who scored 19 points in the hard-fought 57-53 loss.

The Vikings basketball teams return home Tuesday for a doubleheader with Starr’s Mill.

The Lady Panthers are 11-3 overall and 6-2 in region play. The Panthers headed into Saturday at 11-7 and 6-2.



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