The Augusta Christian basketball teams proved to be too much for the Greater Augusta Independent School squads Friday night.
The Lady Lions set the tone for the evening with a 49-26 win over the Lady Eagles, followed by the Lions’ 73-49 rout of the Eagles.
After starting the season 8-2, the Lady Lions dropped three games at the 2013 Carolina Invitational in Charleston, S.C. – two by two points – in late December before getting back on the winning track.
“I just told the girls it was good to be back home,” said Lady Lions coach Nick Isaac. “We needed to get back home, be in familiar territory. We always play well at home, we haven’t lost at home this year.”
Through the first three quarters with the starters playing the lion’s share of the minutes, the Lady Lions (9-5) played suffocating defense on the inside forcing the Lady Eagles (7-4) to shoot from the outside, which they did with infrequent success.
Lady Lions senior guard Anna Motes had no such problem as she was hot from the outside, sinking four 3-pointers. She was also able to get out on the break, taking the ball in for fast-break layups after corralling long rebounds time and again. She scored her game-high 25 points before sitting out the entire fourth quarter at which point the Lady Lions had managed to craft a 43-14 lead.
“I thought we played well as a team, shared the ball,” said Isaac. “I thought Anna (Motes) played really well, probably the best I’ve seen her play in two years.”
Lady Lions freshman KymMya Thomas started off slow before scoring eight of her 10 points in the third quarter.
Senior Caroline Roberson made her fourth appearance of the year coming off an injury, scored eight points and shut down the middle defensively.
“We’re a better basketball team with her on the floor,” Isaac said.
Grace Culberson led the Lady Eagles with eight points.
Nick Fortenberry’s second 3-pointer of the night came in the third quarter as he buried one straightaway from two feet behind the arc. On his next shot he moved a bit to the right and just a little further back before finishing his barrage four possessions later with another trey a few more feet to the right.
The senior guard led the Lions (11-2) with 18 points with the four 3-pointers, but was hardly alone as the Lions netted 12 from downtown. Madison Williams, Jordan Dingle and Zach London each had two while Ashton Grant and Alan Worsham each had one.
“I was just trying to get going,” said Fortenberry. “In the beginning I wasn’t hitting a few shots but they started to fall and I was like ‘yes’ and my team started getting momentum. It was good, it was great.”
The Lions jumped out to a 21-10 first-quarter lead with three 3-pointers, tough defensive play and converting turnovers into points on the other end.
“We came out and shot the ball well and defensive pressure gave us some good steals,” said Lions head coach John Harris. “The team was very active defensively and that keyed our start.”
In their first game of the year against the Eagles (3-7) on Nov. 19, the Lions squeaked by with a 72-69 win.
“The guys are feeling more comfortable now with everybody,” Harris said. “We added new faces and I’m a first-year coach so the first game we were still learning each other. I’m learning them and they’re learning me. We’ve come a long way.”
The Lions were in such control Friday night that after Fortenberry’s final 3-pointer midway through the third quarter, the Eagles went on a 14-0 run yet still trailed 58-36 with just under seven minutes left in the game.
Lions’ center Calvin Taylor was an imposing presence defensively and scored 10 points as did Williams and Dingle.
The Eagles were led by Jaylan Robinson’s 14 points while Kyle Brown added 13.