Upson-Lee (7-8 overall, 3-6 Region 4-AAAA Div. B) at Spalding boys (7-8, 4-5): The Jags of Spalding finally broke their 4-game losing streak with a nice 82-73 win over North Clayton, arguably the team’s best win of the season. Several Jags, like Omari O’Neal, Alex Bonner and Cameron Johnson, stepped up on Tuesday and the Jags finally fell in love with shots inside the 3-point arc. In fact, the Jags only missed 4 shots in the entire fourth quarter at North Clayton — and only one of the 4 was a trey.
Jags head coach Kemo Spear was glad for the win, but he took it in stride.
“I kept telling the guys that good things happen when you play hard,” Spear said. “We played hard against North Clayton and we beat them to end the streak. Now we just have to keep it up.”
Hopefully the Jags will play as well tonight against last-place Upson-Lee, a team that isn’t playing badly for a squad littered with freshmen. Spalding can’t afford to take the Knights lightly, even though they’ve lost 3 straight games, as the Jags are only one game better than Upson in the subregion standings. The win against North Clayton will basically be for naught if the Jags slip up in tonight’s home game, scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Upson-Lee (5-10 overall, 3-6 Region 4-AAAA Div. B) at Spalding girls (9-8, 3-6): The Lady Jags of Spalding have lost four of five games in the second half of the season and tonight’s game against Upson-Lee will hopefully be the start of a turnaround for them. To do that, the Lady Jags must adjust their attitude and focus on taking better shots and playing better defense. Upson-Lee has tied Spalding in the standings, so this is a big game for the Lady Jags.
Should they win this game, the Lady Jags will have a chance for revenge against Riverdale next Tuesday at home, Jonesboro next Friday (road) and Griffin next Saturday (home). Two of those three teams (Riverdale and Griffin) beat Spalding by a combined total of 5 points, so a climb up the subregion standings is possible if Spalding comes to play. They must play better, starting with tonight’s home contest which is actually slated for 6 p.m.
Griffin (11-6 overall, 5-4 Region 4-AAAA Div. B) at North Clayton boys (9-8, 6-4): Sole possession of third place in the subregion standings is on the line Friday, as the Griffin Bears will try to put their heartbreaking overtime loss to Riverdale behind them as they take on another Clayton County team tonight at 7:30 p.m.
The Bears will try to pin the fourth straight loss on North Clayton, a team coming off a loss to Spalding Tuesday. The Bears will have to contain North Clayton’s Stafan Bradley, who torched Spalding for 34 on Tuesday, and they will also have to rebound well.
“We need to learn how to close games out. We got away with not doing that for our last three games, but it came back to bite us against a really good team in Riverdale on Tuesday,” said Bears head coach Prelvis Paster. “We’ve also got to play very smart on defense and keep the Eagles off the glass.”
The Bears would be wise to follow Spalding’s path to victory against North Clayton — taking good shots in the paint and keeping the turnovers to a minimum.
Griffin (8-9 overall, 5-4 Region 4-AAAA Div. B) at North Clayton girls (10-8, 6-4): If the Griffin Lady Bears beat North Clayton and Riverdale loses to Jonesboro tonight, the Lady Bears can actually climb to second place in the subregion standings. That will be big for the Lady Bears, especially since they had to forfeit their Jan. 8 win over Upson-Lee due to playing one of their girls more than five quarters between the varsity and junior varsity games.
“We have to make smart decisions, play good defense and deny the inside pass,” said Lady Bears head coach Veronica Lee. “We also must execute on offense and execute our press. We do that and we have a chance to win.”
The Lady Bears have been very balanced during their win streak, getting scoring from several players. Against Griffin, it was Aurelia Mangham with the hot hand and against Riverdale, Ashton Elliott stepped up to lead the team. They will need that balance to play a North Clayton team that plays steady and takes pretty good shots from the field. The Lady Eagles also play good defense, which allowed them to rally and beat Spalding on Tuesday.
The main players for the Lady Eagles are reserve guard Christal Williams (20 pts vs. Spalding) and starting guard-forward Alejandra Anderson, who had 17. Game time is set for 6 p.m.
Griffin Christian (13-6 overall, 4-1 GISA Region 4-AA) at Harvester Christian boys (0-13, 0-5): The GC Crusaders should have no problem winning their seventh straight game tonight, as they travel to Douglasville to take on winless Harvester at 7:30 p.m.
Harvester is extremely bad this year, actually scoring only 5 points in a loss earlier this season. The Crusaders are coming off an easy 65-26 home win over Piedmont Academy last weekend.
“We’ll take this, especially after the stretch of tough games we’ve had this season,” said Crusaders head coach Mic Savage.
Griffin Christian (7-11 overall, 1-4 GISA Region 4-AA) at Harvester Christian girls (5-8, 1-4): The GC Lady Crusaders have a chance to break their five-game losing streak on the road tonight, as they play a Harvester team that has lost three straight games and only beat Furtah by two points on Jan. 8.
Hopefully the time off between games has helped energize the Lady Crusaders, who need a win in the worst way if they plan to challenge for fourth place in the standings. Game time is set for 6 p.m.