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Augusta Christian boys win Garden City Classic

Posted: December 6, 2017 - 1:36am

Augusta Christian won the Garden City Classic championship over Augusta Prep, 63-54, on Saturday evening.

At the very same time, however, it was the Cavaliers who suffered another devastating loss at Augusta Christian, as Augusta Prep star point guard Ryan Jolly went down with a significant right ankle injury just minutes into the second quarter.

For Augusta Christian, they were able to do what they couldn't last year - win the Garden City Classic; the Lions lost to Westminster in the championship game a year ago.

Augusta Christian's star point guard Nate Dunlop - while playing the way he typically does no matter the circumstances - took advantage of Jolly being out. With his assortment of behind-the-back crossovers, his ability to drive the lane and his exceptional shooting touch from anywhere on the court, Dunlop was able to notch 35 points, earning him the Most Valuable Player award.

Augusta Christian's Derek Payne scored 13 points, while Larrington Perry had nine points of his own.

In the girls championship, Westminster defeated Augusta Prep, 67-47. Lizzy Cave and Ashley Davis of Westminster had 14 points each, while Jamie Holodak led the Lady Cavaliers with 22 points in the loss.

In the boys contest, Augusta Christian coach Charles Welch said he wasn't confounded by Dunlop's performance.

"He is such a good basketball player," Welch said. "People knew him last year as a three-point shooter. They knew him as someone who can post up a little bit. Now all of a sudden he is playing the point guard position. He's creating for other people; he is finishing plays. I wouldn't trade him for anybody. He's got to be in my opinion the best player in the CSRA because he is such a complete player."

While Carrington Perry wasn't the leading scorer, he was the Lions' unsung hero. With just over three minutes left in the third, Perry made a perfect pass that led to an easy layup. Then on the very next play, he stole the ball and raced up the court before throwing up an alley-oop off the backboard, which led to Dunlop catching the pass and dunking the rock with authority. This made the score 49-34 with 2:34 left in the third quarter.

To Perry, though, it's just about following his coach's philosophy.

"It all comes down to following the coach's rule, basically - no turnovers," Perry said. "You just got to hit the player who is hot, and that happened to be Nate Dunlop tonight."

Despite the Cavaliers losing Jolly early on, they fought hard throughout the game. After Tej Patel sank two free throws to make the score 54-49 with 3:31 left in the game, Dunlop continued his masterful performance.

Dunlop, who is being recruited by the likes of Temple University, Appalachian State University and Belmont University, snagged a pass off of a curl play before taking the ball hard to the hoop. A foul was called, and Dunlop made 1 of 2 free throws. After his team did a prodigious job of swinging the ball around from side-to-side, Dunlop found a wide-open lane and scored.

This made the score 58-50 with 1:31 left in the contest, which cemented a Garden City Classic championship.

"I was feeling it tonight in the first half," Dunlop said. "It's just about staying within the flow and going out there and if you are feeling it, go out there and play."

Augusta Christian's defense resulted in just one Augusta Prep player scoring over double figures, and that player was Bailey Adams, who scored 12 points.

On a sad note for Augusta Prep, Jolly, who had nine points, went down with the ankle injury after grabbing a rebound in the second quarter. Cavaliers coach Mike Guthrie, however, said he was impressed with his team.

"I'm very proud of the team for stepping up and keeping the game close," he said. "I told them they would have to do that for the rest of year."

 

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