December 8, 2013

A Look Ahead: Basketball soon starts to heat up


— When you are getting into a cold pool, most people just jump right into it. Some sort of ease their way into the water so the shock of the coldness doesn’t attack every nerve at once.

That is sort of the way it is with the high school basketball season as well. Usually there isn’t a whole lot of meaning in the first month of the season, so no matter what happens, it really doesn’t affect a team’s postseason chances. So we are all still sort of easing into the water.

That changes this week for several teams as region games are starting to become part of the holiday festivities. Region 5-3A and Region 7-2A games will begin in earnest this week, with Friday’s meeting between Coahulla Creek and North Murray being the most interesting. The two teams play in Varnell, beginning at 7 p.m. with the girls, followed by the boys.

The Colts have been a much more competitive program this year with a 3-4 record and almost all of their games contested to the buzzer. Their win Saturday night against Southeast Whitfield was their first ever over one of the other county schools.

Perhaps the best matchup this weekend on local courts will happen Friday at Christian Heritage. Get there early because of the size of the Christian Heritage gym and also the following of the student sections for both schools. The two student sections were loud and boisterous all through the night this past Friday when the two teams met at Southeast.

The Raiders came away with a 66-60 win over the Lions, and it should be interesting to see what happens the second time around. Get there early, though.

For the complete list of games around the area this week, be sure to check out the Prep Schedule on page 3B.

• Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall helped lead the Tigers to the SEC Championship and a spot in the BCS Championship game Saturday night at the Georgia Dome with a win over Missouri. The last time I saw Marshall in the Georgia Dome was during the Georgia High School Association state playoffs in 2009 as he led Wilcox County to the Class A championship game over my alma mater, Savannah Christian.

There will be plenty of action at the Dome this weekend as the GHSA state championship games will be played Friday and Saturday.

Friday will see the Class A (private) championship at 2:30 p.m., followed by Class 3A at 5:30 and Class 5A at 8:30. Saturday’s action starts at 11:30 a.m. with Class A (public), followed by Class 2A (2:30 p.m.), Class 4A (5:30 p.m.) and Class 6A (8:30).

All games will be broadcast on Georgia Public Television.

• The Georgia Rampage will return linebacker Albert “Bam Bam” Catron for the 2014 season, which the team will play in the newly formed X-League. Catron played at Junior College Chattahoochee Tech, and coach Kacee Smith called Catron a “crowd favorite.”

The Rampage also signed Martin Ward, a former Marshall University running back, and former South Carolina State offensive lineman Gideon Scott.

Ward played at Mount Zion High School in Jonesboro and for three years with Marshall. His last season was in 2011. Scott played at Louisburg High School and graduated from South Carolina State in 2013.

Season and single-game tickets are available on the Rampage’s website, GaRampage.com, as February’s start to the season nears.