Thursday, December 19, 2013
As far as big games are concerned at the Region 4-A level, Fox Creek and Wagener-Salley is the premier matchup.
The two teams are likely to finish first and second in the race for the crown, and on Friday night, the Predators (6-1, 1-0) got a leg up on the War Eagles with a 65-41 road win.
Head coach Andrew Peckham said the first region win against Wagener-Salley was “huge” for his team.
“We knew coming in that was going to be one of the toughest teams in our region for sure,” he said. “I was proud of the way our guys played, and actually I don’t feel like we played great. We executed well enough, especially in the second half. We went on a huge run, I think it was 8-0, and stretched out our lead to 20 points. To go into Wagener, and play the way we did, was huge for us.”
In that game, the Predators were once again led by Marques Sumner, who scored 19 points. Ikel El was right behind him with 15 points and Brandyn Quiller had 13 points.
“I think it’s big because it’s one of the best teams in our region,” El said. “It’s a big confidence builder.”
Going into many games, Peckham said the coaching staff kind of knows what to expect from Sumner and Quiller, offensively and defensively. The team has been looking for a third guy to step up and give the team double-digit points and get rebounds.
“What Ikel did at Wagener was huge,” Peckham said. “He was 7-of-11 from the floor and tied for the lead in rebounds. If he continues to do that, it will take some of the pressure off Quiller and Sumner, and we need that third scorer.”
The Predators followed up the big win with a 48-41 win at Westminster. Sumner, who sat out most of the fourth quarter against Wagener with a leg cramp, once again was the leading scorer with 23 points. El had 10 points, Corrin Cannon had seven and Quiller had four points.
Cannon, who had five points against Wagener, was a player that Peckham said is a “huge factor.”
“A lot of teams don’t account for Corrin, and he can shoot the ball,” he said. “If you give him space, he’s going to hit a three or a 15-foot jumper. He’s a smarter player, defensively and offensively.”
Next up is another region match in a game that was to have happened Tuesday at North. Following that, the team will play in the Monterrey Christmas Tournament at Evans High School. The Predators will open against the host Knights in the nightcap at 8:30 p.m. on Dec. 26.
“It feels good because it’s a lot of non-region teams,” El said of participating in the tournament. “You get to show that you can compete with anybody.”
Scott Rodgers is the news editor at the North Augusta Star. He graduated from Alvernia University in 2010 and is currently a graduate student at Drexel University. Follow him on Twitter @NAStarRodgers.