Hoops to seize spotlight

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The transition from football to basketball season begins this week, the area's first without football this school year.

The basketball season's most significant result so far has been Laney's 79-70 boys win over Richmond Academy, which came Saturday night in the 100 Black Men of Augusta tournament.

Richmond Academy lost only twice to area teams a year ago and returned four starters. Laney, which won 19 games a year ago but did not qualify for the state tournament, got 27 points from star Rod Hall and 16 from Corinthian Brown in the win.

Laney coach Justin Durham cited Hall's scoring and the rebounding of Brown, LaTron Hunter and Keith Walker as the difference.

"Our three-headed monster controlled the defensive boards," said Durham, whose team returned three starters from last year. "But it was a lot closer than a nine-point game. They have a heck of a ball club.

"If we played them 100 times, it may go 50-50."

MARSHALL HONORED: Greenbrier will retire the jersey of the late Eric Marshall tonight before its boys game against Grovetown.

Marshall, the 2003 Augusta Chronicle player of the year who played at Wofford College, collapsed this spring during a pick-up basketball game. He was 24 and had planned to be a Wolfpack assistant coach this season.

The school will accept donations for the Eric Marshall Memorial Fund. His family and Wofford coach Mike Young are expected to attend.

The boys game begins at 7:30 p.m.

REGION PLAY: Most Region 3-AAAA teams begin their basketball schedules today because they are playing a 20-game region schedule, one of the largest in the state.

Region 3-AAAA teams played 18 region games a year ago. The addition of Grovetown has bumped that number up to 20.

GAMES OF THE WEEK

BOYS BASKETBALL

Butler (0-2) at Richmond Academy (1-1), 6:30 tonight: Butler lost twice over the holiday to Aiken County teams and tonight must leap into region play against the defending champions. Richmond Academy didn't lose its first game until Dec. 30 a season ago, but it is coming off a loss to Laney.

GIRLS BASKETBALL

Strom Thurmond (0-1) at Silver Bluff (0-1), 6 p.m. Thursday: Both teams advanced to the South Carolina Class AA semifinals last season, but Silver Bluff returns a stronger core.

Reach Matt Middleton at (706) 823-3425 or matt.middleton@augustachronicle.com.


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