Jackets split week, end on high note
The North Augusta High School boys basketball team suffered its first loss of the year, but bounced back in a big way to end the week.
The Jackets (2-2) lost in a game against Evans, Ga., 52-43. In that game, Chandler Harrison led the Jackets with 14 points, followed by senior point guard Christian Davis with 12. Malik Dunbar was held mostly in check, only tallying eight points.
However, against Greenbrier in their home opener, the Jackets thumped the Wolfpack 64-41. Davis got 20 points in that one, with Dunbar scoring 16 and Harrison having 12 points.
“I think the good thing for us is that we were scoring early,” head coach Al Young said. “Our shots were falling, and when that’s happening, things go well for us. I thought we played well defensively, and I think we looked a lot better than we have in the past. I think we’re getting a lot better.”
The bounceback was in large part due to the guard play of Davis and Jaquez Smith. The two were able to draw in multiple defenders against Greenbrier and kick out to Dunbar and Harrison for open looks.
The team also received some reinforcements in the form of football players Victor Johnson, Keyon West and Jaleel Bryant. West played significant minutes giving Davis and Smith time to rest, and Johnson started at center for the Jackets and cleaned up the offensive and defensive glass.
“I think it’s what we have been needing,” Young said. “It’s so nice to see them come in and play so well. We’re so young, and the football players have only been with us for about four days (following the win on Saturday night). We just need to gel a little bit and continue to improve. We just need to work hard and get better.”
The youth that Young talks about comes from the fact that both Harrison and Dunbar are only juniors.
Johnson, in particular, was a big piece missing from the Jackets’ rotation in the early going.
“We need him in there, because he played a lot last year and has a lot of much needed experience,” Young said. “We know he is going to continue to get better as we practice and play.”
Coming up the Jackets will have a chance to avenge their loss against Evans in a game that was to have happened on Tuesday night. Following that the team will play host to Cross Creek on Friday night and also host Strom Thurmond on Saturday night. The Rebels and head coach Bo Rouse will be without their best player from a year ago, Daquarius Johnson, who transferred to play for the Greater Augusta Independent School Eagles in the offseason.
The game against Cross Creek is scheduled for an 8:30 p.m. tip, but will occur following the girls’ game. The matchup between the Jackets and the Rebels will start at 7:30 p.m.
Scott Rodgers is the news editor at the North Augusta Star and has been with the paper since January 2013 after previously working at the Aiken Standard. Follow him on Twitter @NAStarRodgers.