Thursday, February 6, 2014
The snow and ice couldn’t slow down the North Augusta High School boys basketball team.
The Jackets needed to bounce back after a deflating loss to region foe Aiken in overtime. They got just that, with key wins over Dutch Fork and Lexington.
Led by junior Chandler Harrison, North Augusta (15-4, 5-1 Region 5-AAAA) dispatched the Silver Foxes at home on Friday night, 65-55. Harrison had 18 points, Christian Davis had 14, and both Malik Dunbar and Victor Johnson had 10 apiece. The team then turned around and went on the road to Lexington the next day, beating the Wildcats 50-44. Harrison led the way once again with 13, but Davis was right behind him in the score book with 12.
“I thought our kids played well and played hard,” Al Young, the team’s head coach, said. “They really seem to have been into the game mentally, and I was just so proud of their effort. They did well and had a real desire to win. I thought that they did for both. We just didn’t make a lot of mistakes, though we did make some at the end of the Dutch Fork game. I thought we were able to hold on and finish the game.”
The always-humble Harrison said it was a total team effort that allowed him to put up points.
“My teammates help me get open a lot,” he said. “I just happened to be the one who’s hot the past couple of games, so my teammates looked for me. The Aiken loss hurt a lot. Maybe we needed it though, because now we’re going even harder than before. We got to go hard from the tip until the end of the game, and we definitely can’t and won’t take a loss at home.”
Young always speaks highly of Harrison, who is not only a talented player but also one that he said is very coachable.
“He works hard in practice every day, and he goes through his drills hard,” Young said. “He’s just been so consistent in practice and in his development. He doesn’t complain about anything; he doesn’t complain about getting the ball, getting shots, not getting shots; he’s just there. He’s a definite team player, and he is so focused. He’s one of those players that’s willing to do whatever it takes to win. The big thing about him, I think, is, when you look at the score book and see he’s the leading scorer, you wonder how. It’s not obvious, and it doesn’t jump out at you. When the game is over, though, and you look at the stat sheet, he’s right up there at the top, and he’s consistently there.”
Coming up, the team will play White Knoll in a game that was to have happened on Tuesday night. The team will travel to South Aiken on Friday night as well.
Should North Augusta win those two games, it would set up a showdown with Aiken at home on Feb. 11. That is a game that could decide the region championship, just as it did last year.
“Last year it depended on the difference in the score, and that was the tiebreaker last year,” Young said. “We talked about changing that, and I’m not sure if it was changed or not. We just have to keep playing and keep winning. If we can do that, I’d love for it to come down to a tiebreaker. My main focus is that we continue to play well and win.”
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.