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Augusta Moves Up to #16 After a Hot Start Despite Limited Play

Even with limited opportunities to take the floor and show off its high-powered lineup, the Jaguars are seizing each moment.

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To state the obvious, this is not a normal season in college basketball. Usually by this time, Augusta would have played 9 or 10 games and be into Peach Belt Conference play. Because of cancellations the last two Wednesdays and another this Sunday, the Jaguars might enter January sporting an undefeated record, but after only playing two games. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that even with limited opportunities to take the floor and show off its high powered lineup, the Jaguars are seizing each moment. Augusta’s two wins, both at home, have been double digit victories against stiff competition. Last Saturday’s 97-83 triumph came against an Emmanuel squad that was chosen by the Conference Carolinas coaches to win its league in their preseason poll. And Lander, who Augusta topped 87-72 on December 2, won the Peach Belt Conference tournament championship last season after finishing third in the regular-season standings (Augusta finished second in the regular season with a 16-4 league record.)

Augusta Moves Up in the National Rankings

The voters for the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) NCAA Division II top 25 poll have taken notice by ranking Augusta #16 in the nation in the week-two installment, seven spots higher than in the week-one edition. Like the college basketball schedule, the NABC rankings are anything but normal. Ten of the top 25 ranked teams have yet to play a game, making it easy to understand why Augusta is moving up the ladder quickly with its pair of impressive wins.

Arnold, Crawford and Lucas-White Look Sharp Early

During Augusta’s two victories, the veteran heavy squad has looked to be in mid season form, whether it be their shooting from the field, or their dominance in the paint. Three players in particular have produced eye popping statistics in the small sampling of action so far:

Miguel Arnold

The 5-11 junior guard has scored 41 points in two games while shooting 55{09c61fb77e2bcde426c708075b0b08da781ba680a0652c8620c0e09fa2f8fad1} from the field, making 7 of 14 three point attempts and dishing out 9 assists.

Tyshaun Crawford

The 7-1 junior, who was voted preseason first team all conference by the Peach Belt coaches, has scored 39 points while making 15 of 19 field goals. Crawford also grabbed 17 rebounds and blocked 6 shots combined in the two games. He has also made 9 of 13 free throws, a marked improvement over last season.

Crawford’s fast start was noted in the NCAA’s recent account of its “all stats team”:

Darren Lucas-White

Lucas-White has stuffed the stat sheet from every angle during Augusta’s first two games, logging 40 points (73{09c61fb77e2bcde426c708075b0b08da781ba680a0652c8620c0e09fa2f8fad1} FG), 13 rebounds, 8 steals and 6 assists. But Lucas White’s most exciting action might have been the one shown in the first clip of this video, which didn’t show up in the stat sheet. Watch below to see Darren hit the floor twice in one defensive possession during a second half stretch against Lander in which he completely changed the game with an exceptional display of effort and will:

In the post game interview below, recorded after Augusta’s latest win, head coach Dip Metress talked extensively about Augusta’s hot shooting and about Arnold, Crawford, and Lucas-White, as well as other impact making Jaguars. The video also includes a post game interview with Arnold and several clips from the win over Emmanuel:

From Augusta’s December 2 win over Lander, in which the Jaguars outscored the Bearcats 59-29 in the second half to turn a 15-point halftime deficit into a 15-point victory, below is the game’s video summary:

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CSRA Sports Wrap Podcast – Episode 2

Because its regular season just ended, this week’s show is heavily focused on the high school scene, with an equal focus on both the area’s boys and girls side

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Because its regular season just ended, this week’s show is heavily focused on the high school scene, with an equal focus on both the area’s boys and girls side.

CSRA Sports Wrap Podcast – Episode 2

***Special Note: Starting at the 24:30 mark in the video above, Chad explained his understanding for why Evans didn’t play Milton Friday. After seeing the episode, Evans head coach and athletic director Kevin Kenny contacted us and asked to be interviewed so he could correct the record and give his first hand account of why the region tournament for the area’s class 6A region was canceled, and for why the game against Milton didn’t happen. Here is the interview with Coach Kenny, a direct response to the 30 second explanation Chad gave starting at the 24:30 mark of episode 2 (above).***

Evans Head Coach and Athletic Director Kevin Kenny’s Response to Episode 2

Show Notes – Episode 2

Segment 1 – A tour through the regular season

0:00 – 4:15

The impact of the virus on the high school season, using North Augusta’s boys as an example

4:30 – 6:35

Chad’s Fantastic Five (plus a 6th man) freshmen

6:35 – 8:15

Describing and showing of the most eye catching individual highlights of the season

Girls Basketball in Focus…

8:15 – 11:50

Focusing on girls basketball, Charles describes what it has been like to see Laney take a step back and watch Cross Creek, Butler and Josey all take down the Lady Wildcats and assert themselves as forces to be reckoned with.

11:50 – 18:30

More about local girls basketball…

Chad weighs in on the changing of the guard on the girls side and Jordyn Dorsey’s excellence on the court AND in the classroom is highlighted as we hear from Jordyn herself.

But before we hear from Jordyn we take a tour through pretty much the entire area when it come to girls hoops. Finally, we hear from Jordyn at about the 18:00 mark.

***The CSRA Sports Wrap Podcast is also available in an audio only format. Here is the SoundCloud version of Episode 2:***

***And here is the SoundCloud audio version of Coach Kenny’s response to Episode 2***

Segment 2 – Court Side Seats

Focusing on recent thrillers we witnessed:

– Butler vs Laney (Doubleheader)

– Wheeler vs Kell

– Augusta Christian vs Ben Lippen

– Butler vs Westside

– Fox Creek vs Strom Thurmond***

18:30 – 20:15

Butler vs Laney (girls)

20:15 – 21:30

Butler vs Laney (boys)

21:30 – 23:30

Chad talks about Butler’s stacked roster and its dominant final week of the regular season, with blowout wins over Laney and Westside.

23:30 – 24:15

And we finish the Butler talk by showing the bucket Brionna Sims (of the Lady Bulldogs) scored Friday to eclipse the 1,000 point barrier, as well as the celebration that followed.

24:30 – 25:15

What happened to Evans vs Milton?

25:15 – 27:30

Class 6A Showdown

#1 Wheeler vs #2 Kell

Scoota Henderson – The next Sharife Cooper, Ant-Man Edwards, Collin Sexton

Wheeler – The defending Class 7A state champion

27:30 – 32:00

Augusta Christian vs Ben Lippen

Augusta Christian’s January surge and a rundown of its key players.

Is freshman Elijah Crawford the best player in the South Carolina Independent School Association (SCISA), which is the high school home of Zion Williamson?

32:00 – 33:30

About Elijah Crawford’s progression throughout the years and his work with trainer Darrin Shine. Can Elijah Crawford (a freshman) one day become a the kind of player Scoota Henderson (a junior) is?

33:30 – 35:35

Butler vs Westside – For the Class 2A regular season region championship

Charles talks about a favorite player of his, senior point guard Ronnie Striggles.

35:35 – 37:25

Fox Creek vs Strom Thurmond

***Segment 3 – Augusta University Basketball Update***

37:25 – 40:20

Augusta University vs Flagler Doubleheader

The Lady Jaguars improved to 4-1 in PBC play

40:20 – 42:40

We hear from men’s head coach Dip Metress, who explains why his team, even though it has been severely impacted by the loss of 5 players for the rest of the season, will not be “opting out.”

43:30 – 47:00

Previewing next week’s show

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