Class 2A blog: Top weekend games for Week 9

ajc.com

Washington County boys, girls travel to 4A’s Baldwin for pair of ranked matchups

Here’s a look at the top games this weekend:

Boys

No. 4 Washington County Golden Hawks (10-2) at 4A’s No. 3 Baldwin Braves (10-2)

The Golden Hawks travel to the Braves for a Saturday matchup and come in on a four-game win streak that includes Swainsboro and once-ranked Dodge County, the latter of which moved them to 4-0 in Region 3.

The Golden Hawks are senior-heavy with their top-five scorers set to graduate. Willie Henderson leads the way, averaging a team-high 14.1 points and 9.4 rebounds to go with 1.8 steals. Travonte Byrd (10.4 points, 1.1 steals) is their other double-digit scorer, followed by Caleb Moore (9.5 points, four assists, three steals) and Javecckio Thomas (9.3 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.3 steals).

They are 2-2 against ranked teams, with wins over No. 7 Butler 53-48 and 5A’s No. 8 Southwest DeKalb. They lost 4A schools No. 1 McDonough and No. 9 Statesboro.

Baldwin’s two losses came back-to-back against 4A’s top two teams, McDonough and Westover, which halted an eight-game win streak. The Braves rebounded to beat Dougherty and Spalding. They’ve played just twice since Dec. 23 and last played Jan. 7. The Golden Hawks will have played seven games in that span.

The Braves beat 5A’s No. 10 Jones County for their only win over a ranked team.

The Braves are mostly young, with seven of their top eight scorers either juniors or sophomores. Rudolph Satcher (16.2 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.2 steals) and Christian Burnett (11.6 points, two steals), both juniors, are their top scorers. Junior Shatavious Hogan leads the team with 8.2 rebounds and two blocks.

No. 5 Vidalia Indians (16-1, 5-0 Region 2) at Swainsboro Tigers (5-3, 5-1)

The Indians have yet to play a ranked team and their only loss came to a Tattnall County team they’d beat later in a rematch. Their win over Bacon County on Tuesday pushed their win streak to 14.

The Tigers also lost to Tattnall County, Woodville-Tompkins for their only region loss, and Washington County, though that game was in a holiday tournament and didn’t count toward the standings. They’re also coming off a win over Bacon County.

These teams will play Saturday, and meet again in the regular season finale on Feb. 4.

Girls

No. 5 Northeast Raiders (11-4) at Central Chargers (12-3)

On Saturday, these crosstown rivals will play each other for the second time this season. The Raiders won 87-38 on Dec. 18.

The Raiders rebounded from their final game of 2021, a 69-50 loss to Northside on Dec. 28, with a pair of 18-point wins over Dodge County and Bleckley County to open the new year. On Tuesday, they beat Lamar County 60-47 to improve to 5-0 in Region 3.

Raiders senior guard Jakia Little is averaging 25 points, 7.2 rebounds and 4.5 steals, and junior Laniya Richardson (13.9 points, 3.6 steals) is their other double-digit scorer.

For the Chargers, their loss to Northeast was part of a two-game skid that also saw them lose to Veterans, 44-42. They’ve won four straight since, all by double digits.

No. 6 Washington County Golden Hawks (9-1) at 4A’s No. 4 Baldwin Braves (11-2)

These teams play Saturday in Milledgeville, and again on Jan. 22 in Sandersville. Following Saturday’s game, the Golden Hawks will play Northeast on the road.

The Golden Hawks’ only loss was 52-51 to 6A’s unranked Northside-Warner Robins, which came after a 4-0 start. They’ve since gone on a five-game win streak that includes No. 8 Dodge County.

Senior Ashley Gray leads the Golden Hawks with a 19.9-point scoring average, adding 8.1 rebounds, 3.6 steals and a block. Junior Mikaili Parker (14.8 points, 3.4 steals) and senior Deasia Canty (10.8 points, 6.8 rebounds, 5.1 steals) are their other double-digit scorers.

The Braves’ losses came to 4A’s No. 2 Carver-Columbus and No. 3 Luella. All of their wins have come against unranked opponents. Their top scorers are sophomore Madison Ruff (14.3 points, 4.4 steals) and freshman Janaye Walker (11.3 points, 9.6 rebounds, 2.2 blocks).