Originally created 01/27/99

Lions flip the 'On' switch



For five minutes in the first half, Augusta Christian looked average.

But the Lions turned up the heat in the second half and burned Westminster 81-49 at Westminster on Tuesday night.

"Coach (Mike Gold) told us about how we turn the light switch on and off," Augusta Christian's Nathan Michaels said. "It's whether we can play or not if we can keep that light switch on."

Augusta Christian (16-2) jumped out to a 23-5 first-quarter lead after Michaels nailed a 3-pointer. The Lions ended the quarter with a 29-11 lead.

In the second quarter, Westminster (13-7) got back into the game with a 16-3 run, capped by Rok Smaka's two-handed slam that cut Augusta Christian's lead to 38-33 with 35.3 seconds left in the half.

But Joey Isaac made two layups in the final 7.4 seconds of the half to give the Lions a 42-33 halftime lead.

"It was big," Michaels said of Isaac's final four points of the half. "It gave us the confidence going into the second half."

The third quarter was all Augusta Christian as the Lions shut down the Wildcats offense. James Seegars, Andrew Duke and Isaac made three consecutive slam dunks in a 53-second span to give the Lions a commanding 62-36 lead going into the fourth quarter.

"That ball movement, that's our style of play," Gold said. "At times, we look pretty good."

Augusta Christian outscored Westminster 20-3 and held the Wildcats to just one field goal in the third quarter.

"When we play in the region and state tournaments, we can't just cut the switch off," Gold said. "We're tired of that. That's what cost us in the state finals last year.

"We just need to continue to capitalize on other people's mistakes and play our style of ball."

In the girls' game, Augusta Christian put it away in the first quarter and cruised to a 57-21 win over Westminster.

The Lady Lions (13-4) opened the game on a 13-0 run, capped by Maudestine Barnes' 15-foot bank shot, en route to a 16-1 first quarter lead.

Things didn't get much better in the second quarter for the Lady Wildcats (2-16) as Augusta Christian went on a 13-4 run to start the quarter and extend its lead to 29-5.

"Our second string got a lot of playing time and our first string is starting to come together as a team," Lady Lions guard Kelly Keller said.

Kellie Tiller led Augusta Christian with 15 points, while Keller had 12. Elizabeth Huckabee led Westminster with 10 points.

Chris Gay can be reached at 868-1222 or cag112hotmail.com