Although Augusta Christian has played just four games, the Lady Lions already have a couple of record-breakers on the roster.
Augusta Christian basketball players Sara Beth McKinney (left) and Jordan Little broke the school's career rebound and assist records, respectively, this year after only four games. They have stepped up their games to make up for the three seniors who graduated last year.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Juniors Jordan Little and Sarah Beth McKinney broke school records for assists and rebounds in a career, respectively, in the Garden City Classic Championship.
Little broke Jessica Sowell's record of 199 assists against Briarwood. In the same game, McKinney passed Virginia Wright's record of 619 rebounds.
"I had no idea I was close to the record," McKinney said. "Winning is more important, but I guess it's good to say I have the record."
The play of Little and McKinney has helped ACS jump out to a surprising 3-1 start to the season.
The Lions lost three key players from last year: Wright, Shanice Broadwater and Brittany Little. Wright averaged more than nine rebounds, and Broadwater was the team's leading scorer.
"We have a lot of question marks heading into the season," coach Keith Walton said before the season. "We lost a lot of key players, but we also have some good ones coming back."
Walton, though, knew what he was getting out of Little and McKinney.
McKinney averaged 8.1 points and a county-high 17.1 rebounds a game.
At 5-foot-8, McKinney has to go up against taller players every night.
"I just work hard to get the ball," she said. "All I think about is getting that ball."
Little had 7.4 points and five assists a game.
"Those two will have to step up for us and be leaders," Walton said. "We have some other good players, but we might have to lean on those two."
Leadership was very important because Walton installed new sets for the Lions this season. For the first time in recent history, ACS would press on defense.
Pressing would be necessary for the Lions to succeed in the South Carolina Independent Schools Association. SCISA basketball is more up-tempo than the Georgia Independent Schools Association.
"Coach told us that the teams we would be playing would be quicker and more athletic," Little said. "We have run as much or more than any team to get ready for the tempo we will have to play at."
The tempo, McKinney and Little said, surprised some of the teams they played in the recent Garden City Classic.
"You could tell they were frustrated," McKinney said of Curtis Baptist and Westminster. "We've always played these teams, so they are used to a pace when we play them. When we started pressing, they looked like they panicked."
Both girls credit the press for the early season success the Lions have had, but their individual play has been the key.
McKinney and Little had raised their scoring averages and were named to the Garden City Classic All-Tournament team.
McKinney is averaging 11 points, 13.3 rebounds and 6.5 steals a game. She posted two triple-doubles during the Garden City Classic.
Little has more than doubled her scoring average to 16 points a game while raising her assists to 6.3 a game. She averaged 17.7 points in the tournament.
"I think we have stepped it up a little," McKinney said. "We had to replace a huge scorer in Shanice, so we wanted to be bigger scoring threats. We have had some help from some other girls."
Lynlee Satcher and Larrie Reece have also provided viable scoring options, averaging 13.8 and 8.3 points a game, respectively.
"It was easy to come together," Little said. "Most of us have been playing together our whole life. I think, with everything we have, we can win a state title this season."
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