The Mars Hill men's basketball team has suffered through a long season. The Lions are 4-18 and have had to go through an in-season coaching change.
However, one bright spot has been the play of former Greenbrier standout Justen Hartfield.
Hartfield, a 6-foot, 180-pound guard, was last season's Eric Marshall Award winner as the Columbia County Player of the Year. As a true freshman, he saw limited minutes early in the season at Mars Hill, but he has showed flashes of brilliance since.
In December, he played a career-high 21 minutes at Newberry. The Lions lost 98-85, but Hartfield responded to the additional minutes with a game-high 18 points on 6 of 9 shooting, including 3 of 5 from three-point range. He also had three assists and two rebounds. Hartfield had three other double-digit games heading into a weekend home game versus that same Newberry squad.
When his number has been called, Hartfield has answered the whistle. And he did so once again this Saturday. He came off the bench to lead the Lions with a career-high 25 points in 27 minutes. He was 8 of 13 from the floor, 2 of 5 from three-point range and made all seven of his free-throw attempts.
Mars Hill lost 83-79, but Hartfield continues to prove he deserves more minutes. Despite playing only 11.6 minutes per game this season, Hartfield is averaging 5.4 points per game. He is shooting 33 percent from three-point range and 87 percent from the foul line. There is no denying that Hartfield's future at Mars Hill is extremely bright.
Farrar Continues to Shine: Earlier this season, I updated you on the fine play of Grovetown product Kwajelin Farrar. The 6-1 freshman has been sensational for USC Aiken since the very moment she stepped on campus. Well, her solid work has not gone unnoticed.
Hero College Sports News (herosports.com) recently conducted a fan poll looking for the Top Freshman in Division II women's basketball. The website offered up five finalists fans could vote for, and Farrar made the cut. Last year's Co-County Player of the Year has showed no letdown from her hot start. She is averaging 13.7 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per game on the season.
Former Knights will play at next level: College Football's National Signing Day was huge for a number of Columbia County players and a few former county athletes. Former Evans Knights defensive lineman Parker Stokes and Dylan Jordan each signed to play college ball, too. Stokes transferred to Jefferson County, where he helped lead the Warriors to a 10-2 season and was named Region 4-AA Defensive Player of the Year. He signed to play at Furman University.
Jordan made the jump to Aquinas for his senior campaign. The 6-6, 225-pound quarterback-tight end helped lead the Irish to a state playoff berth this season. He will play college ball at West Georgia this fall.