Originally created 01/27/01

North Augusta tops Aken



Under normal circumstances, North Augusta's playoff chances would be looking pretty good.

But even after Friday night's 71-57 Region 3-AAAA win over the Aiken Hornets, it still is uncertain.

Even though the Yellow Jackets improved to 9-3 overall and are No. 2 in the region at 4-1, North Augusta's postseason hopes depend on a decision by the South Carolina High School League.

"They told us to appeal in late January, early February, and there could be a chance that we could go to the playoffs," North Augusta coach Keith Arrington said.

North Augusta violated practice rules during the summer by holding practice with more than three students at a time. The high school league did not allow the Yellow Jackets to participate in any tournaments during the season and declared them ineligible for postseason play.

"The school has written an appeal to the board, and we should know something this coming week or the week after," Arrington said.

As for the game, it was all Yellow Jackets.

North Augusta led by as much as 14 in the first half, and had a 40-28 advantage after two quarters.

"I thought we played real well at times but lost our intensity in the second half," Arrington said. "They pushed the ball at us, and we weren't getting back really well. You have to stay intense with them."

Aiken (7-11, 1-4) cut the lead to four, 50-46, with just fewer than seven minutes to play, but the Hornets could not get over the hump as North Augusta's Quinton Ferrell hit a 3-pointer from the left wing, and Henri Perry hit a jumper to push the lead to 55-46.

"The turning point in the game was free throws," said David Barksdale, Aiken's first-year coach. "We were down by six, we had to foul, and they made their free throws."

Orlando Washington poured in a game-high 21 points for the Jackets, while Perry finished with 10. Jeff Wright and Lafayette Stewart chipped in 15 and 10 points, respectively.

"I think our guards did a good job of handling the ball," Arrington said. "We were pressuring them, and they didn't handle that too well. From there we got away from them."

A.J. Gordon had a team-high 19 points for the Hornets, while Brandon Simpkins had 11.

In the girls game, Aiken pulled out a region win over North Augusta after the Lady Yellow Jackets failed to tie the game in the closing seconds.

Four of the Lady Hornets' five starters - Ebony Jones (13), Kim Justice (14), Nola Grant (16) and Tomeka Forrest (10) - reached double digits as Aiken improved to 10-7 overall and 2-3 in the region.

Jessica Parker was the lone offensive threat for North Augusta (6-11, 1-4), scoring a game-high 20 points in the losing effort.

Reach Miguelangelo Hernandez at (706) 823-3304.



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