After his most trying regular season ever, Augusta State coach Dip Metress wanted to make everyone aware of the final team making its way to next week’s Peach Belt Conference Tournament.
“Call the Chamber of Commerce in Columbus (Ga.),” he said. “Look who’s coming to dinner.”
The Jaguars’ postseason hopes were in doubt after forward Harold Doby was suspended for the season after his arrest on a gun charge in mid-January. Then Metress booted center Chad July off the team and then backup guard Josh Samuels.
Short-handed, Augusta State needed a win Saturday at Flagler to keep its season alive. Before the game, Metress told his players to write down the initials of one person who doubted they’d ever play college basketball. The move worked.
Ryan Weems scored 27 points and Augusta State led all the way in a 56-40 road victory over the Saints.
Augusta State, the East No. 4 seed, will play West Division champion Montevallo at 7 p.m. Friday in the tournament quarterfinals.
“Our guys haven’t quit all year,” Metress said by cell phone.
With the victory, he locked up his ninth consecutive winning campaign with the Jaguars (14-12).
With Augusta State milking the clock, Flagler recorded only three field goals in the first half and shot 29 percent for the game. The Saints shot just 4 for 20 from 3-point range.