'Small County' Boys
Hawks junior Yancey leads honorees
by Chris Goltermann
This year’s NCAA tournament proved that big games require big-time performances. And The Newnan Times-Herald’s first annual ‘Small County’ Boys Basketball Team isn’t short on players that came through in clutch moments during the 2013-14 season.
Rich Yancey was just one of them.
The Heritage School junior more often than not thrived when the Hawks needed him most as one of two All-State performers during a run to the Class AAA state quarterfinals, a major reason why he earned a nod among the county’s private school programs as this season’s ‘Small County’ Boys Player of the Year.
Despite finishing third out of Region 1-AAA, Yancey helped lead Heritage past Mount de Sales into the state quarterfinals with the last of six double-doubles during 2013-14.
Over the team’s final two games, the Hawks standout scored 23 points on 50-percent shooting from the field to go with 13 rebounds, 11 of which on the defensive side, to beat Mount de Sales before posting 20 points and 11 rebounds in a final loss to Augusta Prep.
It left Yancey around similar averages for the year among points and rebounds, finishing with 17 points and nine boards per game or the Hawks, who finished 23-12 this season.
En route to both All-Region and All-State honors, he also averaged two assists each contest.
This year’s “Small County” team, meanwhile, puts a spotlight on two key positions on the floor — point guard and center — among stand- outs from Heritage Christian, Trinity Christian and The Heritage School, all of whom experienced success in 2013-14.
Joining Yancey from the Hawks were fellow All-State standout and sophomore center Cole Jones along with point guard Glavine Groover.
Doubled, and at times triple teamed by opponents, Jones was as much a factor in opening scoring opportunities for Yancey. The 6-foot-3 sophomore still managed to also average a double-double per game with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Four times this season, Jones scored 20 or more in a game.
Jones also posted an average of two steals and two blocks while also named to this year’s All-Region 1-AAA team.
Groover, a senior, was the Hawks’ third leading scorer, posting just over eight points per game while a threat from 3-point range. He finished with averages of 8.3 points, 2.3 steals and 1.4 assists.
His efforts down the stretch included posting six steals in a playoff win over Mount de Sales to go with five steals and 12 points over Community Christian to help The Heritage School earn a No. 3 seed out of 1-AAA.
The Crusaders, playing their final season in the Independent Christian Schools of Georgia and Alabama, captured the league crown while closing the year with an 18-9 record. Towering 6-foot-6 post Drew Spiller led the way with a 23-point, 18-rebound effort in the championship game while earning Most Valuable Player honors and also earning a spot on the team.
For the season, the Heritage Christian sophomore averaged 18.1 points and nine rebounds.
Joining Spiller is Crusaders 5-10 point guard Jared Slaughter, who was just as valuable in Heritage Christian’s title run. Slaughter was multi-talented both as a scorer and offensive leader in most statistical categories. Along with his 12.1 points and 6.1 assists, the junior also posted 5.1 rebounds and 4.1 steals per game.
Trinity, which went through a coaching change at the halfway point of the season, is represented by junior point guard Korey McGinnis.
Joined in a balanced lineup that included seniors Daniel Jones and Luke Hammock and juniors Spencer Bryan and Christian Downs among five Lions that averaged between 8 to 10 points, McGinnis had 12 points in a victory over Flint River and 17 in a win over Holy Spirit.
Jones, Hammock, Bryan and Downs each earned honorable mention distinctions.