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The Lady Lions dominate the Garden City Classic

Posted: December 11, 2011 - 1:06am  |  Updated: December 14, 2011 - 3:40pm
Augusta Christian's Anna Motes drives against Augusta Prep's Jamie Alexander during an early-season game. Motes was the MVP at the Garden City Classic, which the Lady Lions won at Augusta Prep.  Augusta Christian is 6-0 to start the season.  Photo by Jim Blaylock
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Augusta Christian's Anna Motes drives against Augusta Prep's Jamie Alexander during an early-season game. Motes was the MVP at the Garden City Classic, which the Lady Lions won at Augusta Prep. Augusta Christian is 6-0 to start the season.

 

As Nick Isaac has developed a shutdown defense with his Augusta Christian girls basketball squad, he’s stressed communication above all else.

But not all noise is necessarily good noise.

“The girls have been working real hard in practice, just learning how to communicate,” the second-year coach said. “You can talk, but we don’t want baseball chatter. We want real, genuine communication.

“… You’re directing your teammates on the floor.”

Last weekend, the Lady Lions rode a dominant defense to the tournament title in the Garden City Classic at Augusta Prep.

Defeating Briarwood, Thomas Sumter and, in the finals, cross-town foe Westminster, Augusta Christian held its tournament opponents to an average of 25 points per game.

The Lady Lions backed up the win over Westminster Tuesday with a 42-32 victory to go 6-0 on the season.

They haven’t allowed more than 35 points in a game thus far.

“Defensively, we’ve been really lights-out,” Isaac said. “We’ve been holding our opponents to under 25 percent field-goal shooting, and we’ve been getting offensive rebounds.

“When you do those two things, you’re going to win a lot of games.”

Augusta Prep finished fifth in the girls tournament bracket.

In the boys title game, Westminster defeated Dominion Christian for the title.

Augusta Christian topped Augusta Prep 73-46 in the third-place game.

Anna Motes was named as the tournament MVP while helping Augusta Christian to the championship.

She said that facing a local team in the final didn’t change the team’s focus or really even give it much of a different feel.

“Maybe a little bit, but it’s the same thing because we want to win all (of our) games,” Motes said.

For Amaura Brandt, the tournament victory marked the first check on the team’s list of goals for the season.

It meant even more after the Lady Lions lost in the finals last year to Curtis Baptist.

“That was one of the things on our ‘to-do’ list,” the senior said. “It was really exciting to be able to check off the first one, rather than have to say, ‘Oh, we messed up that goal.’ ”

A focus on strong defense complements a team that Isaac said has shown no problems getting a flow on offense.

Rather than installing a system that requires players to do the same thing in every situation, the coach has given his players freedom in the system.

“The girls play off each other, so it’s almost like a freelance type of deal,” Isaac said.

“They have rules and they have concepts, but those concepts change depending on what their teammates do and how the defense is playing.”

He said that the goal is “to get them out of the habit of playing like robots.”

With one goal down, the Lady Lions are focusing on the next one: a region title.

GARDEN CITY CLASSIC

At Augusta Prep

Boys Main Bracket

Quarterfinals

Augusta Prep 55, Briarwood 48

Augusta Christian 71, Thomas Sumter 60

Westminster 60, Curtis Baptist 53

Dominion Christian 67, Augusta Eagles 66 (overtime)

Semifinals

Dominion Christian 58, Augusta Prep 43

Westminster 63, Augusta Christian 45

Championship

Westminster 59, Dominion Christian 43

All-Tournament Team

Augusta Prep: Michael Downing

Augusta Christian: Nick Fortenberry

Westminster: Robin Lodders (MVP), Matthew Tebbs

Thomas Sumter: Kris Payne

Augusta Eagles: Matt Miller

Curtis Baptist: Aaron Spurlock

Dominion Christian: Harrison Kristofak, Isaiah Primus

Briarwood: Tyler Daniel

Girls Main Bracket

Quarterfinals

Augusta Christian 53, Briarwood 24

Atlanta Girls 43, Augusta Prep 26

Westminster 52, Dominion Christian 15

Thomas Sumter 40, Curtis Baptist 29

Semifinals

Augusta Christian 49, Thomas Sumter 16

Westminster 36, Atlanta Girls 24

Championship

Augusta Christian 46, Westminster 35

All-Tournament Team

Augusta Christian: Anna Motes (MVP), Amaura Brandt

Augusta Prep: Katie Murphy

Atlanta Girls: Daisy Mashburn

Curtis Baptist: Alyssa Spurlock

Westminster: Javara Douglas, Samantha Trobaugh

Thomas Sumter: Tallon Graham

Dominion Christian: Jental Hawkins

Briarwood: Tiffany Pate

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