Originally created 01/21/05

Lakeside, Greenbrier stars are heating up on offense



They waited until the weather got real cold to catch fire.

Two area players turned it up with dynamic Player of the Week performances over their past four games.

Lakeside senior guard Earl McCrommon, doing his best Matt Scott impersonation, filled up the Panthers' side of the board with points.

McCrommon, who's been carrying a down team mostly by himself this year, poured in 31 points on Friday in a 24-point loss to Statesboro. The 5-foot-6 Allen Iverson fan nailed seven 3-point shots - including six in a row - as the Statesboro crowd gave him a standing ovation as he exited the floor.

That was the warm-up act.

McCrommon torched Evans' backcourt from behind the line, this time with six 3-point shots.

On the girls side, Greenbrier's Melissa Lewis had a more consistent flame to her game. Lewis totaled 18, 28, 26, and 24 points over her past four games as she led the Wolfpack to a 3-1 week.

Lewis, a 5-foot-9 junior forward, is averaging 18.1 points and 10.1 rebounds through 17 games.

BOYS BEHIND THE GIRLS: Another interesting factoid popped up last week. The Augusta-Aiken area, known for its great athletes, is developing a reputation for outstanding girls basketball talent that, overall, shines a little brighter than the boys.

It's a common sight across area gyms. Several packed houses exhale when the girls' game ends.

"I really think the girls play in the Augusta metro area has really hit another level over the last nine years," Greenbrier coach Garrett Black said.

"Richmond Academy, Josey and Glenn Hills have all won state championships, and Hephzibah has been right there a couple of times. This area's caliber of girls basketball is really known around the state."

To back up the point, over the past week, of the teams that called into The Augusta Chronicle with their scores, 26 boys scored more than 20 points in a game.

There were 39 girls with 20-point nights during that same span.

That's just the games that were called in. Several of the top girls teams had businesslike weeks with low-caliber foes, so their top players only put in about two quarters of playing time.

GAME TO WATCH: Laney rising star in Eboni Fields goes up against a strong Josey backcourt tonight in a can't-miss contest. The game will likely determine the pole position and top seed in the Region 7-AA tournament.

Laney is 13-6 and 10-1 in region play. Josey is 16-4 and 10-1. Both teams are stocked with underclassmen and juniors.

IT'S A STEAL: Alleluia Community Schools' nickname is the Angels, but this band has some heavenly hands.

Five players - stopped by leading scorer Ben Veihman - average more than three steals per game.

Joining the pickpocket club are Alex Alzheimer, Nate Napier, Bobby Finnegan and Tom Molitor.

DOUBLE-FIGURE DEMONS: Josey boys' 20-0 season is fueled by perhaps one of the most balanced rosters in the state. Three Eagles have hit double figures in points in each of the team's past four games.

Dominique Archie leads the team with a 20-point per game average, followed by Najee Talbert at 13.2. Deadly 3-point specialist Josh Adams averages 12.6 points.

The ever-steady Gabriel Robinson averaged 15 points per night over the past week, lifting his average to 11.5 points per game.

Take note Eagles fans. The Class AA Final Four in Macon is set for Thursday, March 3 and the championship is March 5.

INJURY UPDATE: Greenbrier's Lady Wolfpack dodged a near-nightmare with a second opinion on playmaking guard Michelle Swiec. An injury initially thought to be a stress fracture near her ankle has been upgraded to merely strained ligaments.

"It's no stress fracture," Black said. "Thanks goodness or we would have been done. It's going to be touch-and-go. It's a strain right on the top of her foot. We iced it a good bit today. We'll see how it is Friday and make a decision on how much she'll go this weekend."

A thumb injury to another starter will be closely watched.

"Brooke Johnson hurt her thumb pretty bad today," Black said. "Hopefully, she won't need surgery and the injury bug will quit biting us for a while."

Greenbrier (14-5, 2-1 Region 2-AAAA) is closing on a school-record for wins. The current mark is 17.

Reach Jeff Sentell at (706) 823-3425 or jeff.sentell@augustachronicle.com.