Originally created 07/12/98

Peach Jam: Local team starts strong



Don Brock has been worried all week leading up to the play-in games how his Georgia/Carolina Hoopsters would perform in the Nike Peach Jam Invitational.

Turns out, he didn't have much to worry about at all.

The local squad completed the play-in hat trick on Saturday night as Lower Richland guard Edward Scott drilled a 3-pointer at the buzzer to spark the Georgia/Carolina hoopsters to a 65-62 overtime win over Arizona in Pool A.

Georgia/Carolina went 3-0 on the day as it defeated New Jersey, 39-34, and D.C. Jabbo-Kenner, 55-45, to capture the No. 1 seed out of Pool A. Jabbo Kener will be the No. 2 seed.

Arkansas (3-0) and Kentucky (2-1) advanced to the field of 24 out of Pool B as the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds respectively. Shreveport and Georgia Elite finished 1-2 in Pool C.

But the team of the day was the local squad which finished unbeaten and was led by the play of the Lower Richland trio of Scott and Ivan and Rolando Howell. Rolando Howell, a 6-foot-9 junior, scored 16 points to lead the local squad in the night session.

"When you have good players, a lot of things happen," said Brock, who drove a student driver in his driving school car between sessions at the Peach Jam. "They know what toughness is and how to step up in key situations."

Lower Richland, which beat eventual Class AAAA state champion South Aiken 72-57 at the Beach Ball Classic this season, has four players on the local squad including Scott's backcourt mate Eric Dugon.

The Diamondbacks have to be considered the favorite for the South Carolina Class AAAA state title in 1998-99 if Saturday was any indication.

"My coach (LR coach Carl Williams) always teaches me to keep my confidence up in a situation like that," said Scott of his game winner. "We have a real good chance this week of winning it if we keep our confidence up."

The win over New Jersey in the morning session marked the local teams first win in the Peach Jam since 1996 when a Ty Shine-led area squad edged a William Avery-led Georgia Stars squad, 69-68.

Rising Josey senior Robert Wilson was the locals leading scorer with 11 points in the win over New Jersey.

Everyone contributed as Brock started out the games by playing the Augusta area kids together and the Lower Richland-led Columbia area kids together. Due to a lack of practice time, Brock felt it was best to play his players that way and then adjust from there.

"These play-in games were good for us because we needed to develop some cohesiveness," Brock said. "Going on feel? That was the only thing I could do."

Scott led the squad in the win over Jabbo with 12 points and great floormanship. Newberry rising sophomore Pat Cooper and North Augusta's Tyrone Walker added 14 points and 11 points, respectively.

Butler's Richard Wilson scored 17 points and helped Georgia Elite erase an 18-point deficit in a 60-48 win over the Charlotte Royals in the morning session of Pool C.

Charlotte led 31-13 at one point before Wilson, playing point guard, led the comeback charge.

Shreveport edged Georgia Elite 57-53 in the afternoon session despite 24 points from highly touted Elite sophomore Rashaad Carruth. Elite made it to the round of 24 by edging Mississippi Magnolia, 60-58, in the nightcap.

Arkansas (2-0) is the Pool B leader, one game ahead of Milford and Kentucky.

All three Play-In Pool leaders -- Georgia/Carolina, Arkansas and Shreveport -- wrapped up No. 1 pool seeds in Monday's 24-team field with wins in Saturday's late session.