Marty Griffin didn't know what to expect when basketball practice began last fall.
Augusta Christian's Josh Whitaker snags a rebound during a game against Augusta Prep on Jan. 4 in Martinez. Despite losing all of last year's starters, the Lions are 7-5.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
The Augusta Christian boys coach was staring at a number of questions.
He wasn't sure how his team would adapt to play in the South Carolina In-dependent Schools Asso-ciation.
He wasn't sure how he could replace his six best players and still field a competitive team with players who had not really played together.
He wasn't even sure who his starting five would be.
"I'll tell you what, we are going to play a lot of guys," he said before the season. "It just remains to be seen how they will respond."
Consider most of those questions answered.
The Lions have had a surprising start to the season, going 7-5 despite losing all of last year's starters. Four were all-region players, Warren Chapman, Jamal Womble, Adam McKinney and Mark Herrman.
"Any team that loses as much as we did will take a couple of steps back," Griffin said recently. "But these guys have come together and are talented. We will still take some lumps, but this team has some potential."
Griffin will play 10 or 11 boys every game. That has provided a tremendous scoring balance for the team.
Eight different Lions have scored in double figures this season. No other team in the county - boys or girls - has had that kind of scoring balance.
"That is the thing about us," said Kyle Redd, who averages eight points a game and has posted double figures in scoring in four games. "We can have so many different guys step in to help us out."
Nolan Belcher, Wayne House, Preston May, James Mullins, Fred Auston, Chad Brantley and Josh Whitaker have joined Redd in double figures this season.
Whitaker's 10.2 point average leads the team, but most of the other players are within striking distance of the team's lead in scoring.
The balance has worked thus far, with the Lions at 3-2 in SCISA play. ACS has beaten W.W. King, Wardlaw and R.E. Lee but dropped two on a road trip to Hilton Head Prep and Hilton Head Christian.
"As the season goes on, we can only get better," Redd said. "These guys will get a chance to get better by playing with each other. Hopefully, by the end of the year we will be clicking."
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