This was a tough choice. Reggie Rice and Rich Poythress were outstanding for Greenbrier and they went to the state tournament for the first time in school history. Also, Hank McCladdie was the best player for Evans, who spent most of the season as the county's top team.
However, when I thought about it a while it became clear that Earl McCrommon was the choice. Lakeside definitely struggled this year, going 1-20, but McCrommon did his part.
The 5-foot-7 guard poured in nearly 23 points a game. He also led the county in steals with more than four per contest. He was continually double-teamed and he still could not be stopped. He is quick as a cat, and he starts and stops as fast as anyone. Plus, he is the best on-ball defender in the area. Hopefully he will get a shot at the next level. He could play for me any day.
It's not too late to have fun at the 2005 Masters
It's Wednesday of Masters week, and some of our visitors have already blown all their money at the various nightspots around town. Others have paced themselves a little more, and some golf fans are just getting in town.
With the latter two groups in mind, I've decided to give you an idea of how you can cram as much fun as possible into the final four or five days of this year's Masters.
Autograph seekers: Well, you guys are in a bit of a bind. When it comes to getting players to sign autographs during Masters Week, the early bird really does get the worm.
Most players prefer to sign early in the week. They are playing practice rounds, and they are much more apt to sign on Monday or Tuesday. However, if you hit the course early this morning (like right now - well, after you finish reading my column, of course) you could get lucky.
I recommend that you stand near the ropes between the driving range and the back of the clubhouse.
All of the players will hit the range at some point, and many will stop and sign for the onlookers. If you wait until after lunch, you'll be in trouble as most players are on the practice putting green, or on the Par-3 Course.
Food, food, food
If there is one thing I truly know about, it is food. I've broken this down by categories to help you guys out.
Cheeseburgers: No. 1, hands down, it's the Pimento Cheese Burger at the Village Deli in Daniel Village. I know this sounds like a weird combination, but trust me. You may move to Augusta permanently when you taste this hunk of heaven.
No. 2: Delta Sandwich Shop (home of the Perry Burger). Before I had the Pimento Cheese Burger this would have been my choice. Also, the original owners, Perry and Lib Whitaker, no longer own the business. Perry passed away a few years back and Lib (who's the sweetest lady in the world) decided to sell the business. They were certainly part of the place's charm, but the burger is still delicious. It's located at 1208 Wilson St. near the Academy of Richmond County.
Italian: I love Italian food, and surprisingly Augusta has several great spots for Italian cuisine. However, one stands above all others. Luigi's in downtown Augusta is the place for Italian food. Trust me on this one. This is also a great place to catch the golfers as several, including Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Phil Mickelson, frequent this spot.
Steaks: Augusta and the surrounding areas seem to have the most steak houses, per capita, of any place in the America.
My favorite is T-Bonz on Washington Road. You may have eaten at another T-Bonz around the South, but regardless of how good or bad your experience was you are guaranteed two things at Augusta's T-Bonz: Down-home Southern hospitality and the best steak you've ever tasted. Also, this is another favorite hangout of the golfers.
Hangouts (great atmosphere with great food): Dudley's Doghouse, Columbia Square Shopping Center; Indigo Joe's, Wheeler Road; Wild Wing Cafe, Washington Road; and Applebee's, Belair Road in Evans
Casual Dining: Fatz Cafe, Belair Road in Evans, is still fairly new, but if you are staying in Columbia County, you should check it out. The atmosphere is great. You could spend two hours just looking at all the great golf and Augusta historical framed photos that line the walls. The food is great, too. I recommend the pot roast. Usually pot roast is something that is just better when cooked at home. That is, until I tried it at Fatz.
If you are a seafood fan, you have to try Rhinehart's Oyster Bar on Washington Road.
Upscale Dining: There are so many great restaurants in the CSRA. This is a tough category to choose just one or two. So here are my favorites.
Cadwalladers Cafe, Davis Road in Martinez; D. Timm's Jazz Cafe, downtown at Sixth and Ellis streets; French Market Grille, Surrey Center off Berckmans Road.
Picks and more
At the time I'm writing this story I have no idea if my prediction for Louisville to meet North Carolina in college basketball's national title game actually came to fruition.
Don't worry, if the Cardinals do square off with the Tar Heels, I will get plenty of bragging in a future column.
I actually have been on a tear with my picks over the last 18 months or so, including selecting Phil Mickelson to win last year's Masters.
Obviously, it is complete luck, but it makes me feel better to pat myself on the back a little. So, humor me, and let me have my fun. So here are my thoughts on the 2005 Masters.
Everyone is talking about the Big Four: Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh, Ernie Els and Phil Mickelson. Well, I agree with the majority of golf experts that these four players could all be in the hunt, but I have a funny feeling that someone else will sneak in and steal their thunder this spring. Below is my list of six players to keep an eye on.
Retief Goosen: Granted, this is not a huge stretch. Goosen is a two-time major champ and is ranked No. 5 in the world. I like Goosen because he's such a competitor. If he gets to the back nine on Sunday with a chance to win, he will not beat himself. He has the mentality of a grinder, but he has great skill as well.
David Toms: Toms is also very highly ranked (eighth in the world), and he, too, is a major champion, but for some reason his name is not mentioned with the likes of Vijay or Tiger. While Goosen is cool and calm under pressure, Toms is much more fiery. However, he has shown that his emotion does not affect his game down the stretch. Plus, he has played terrific so far this season.
Adam Scott: Like Toms, Scott has been hot this season. He has the perfect game for Augusta and maybe the most perfect power swing on tour. He and Tiger have almost identical moves on the ball. Scott will definitely win a green jacket before his career is over.
Chad Campbell: Campbell is the ultimate grinder. He is not quite a household name yet, but he could be very soon. He is deadly straight and has a solid short game.
Zach Johnson: Like Campbell, Johnson paid his dues on the mini-tours. Johnson dominated the nationwide tour two years ago, and it seems like he is in the hunt every week. That consistency will come in handy this week.
Charles Howell: O.K. this is a bit of a homer pick, but before missing the cut at last week's Players Championship, Howell was off to the best start of his career. In eight events he has earned $925,828, good for 16th on the PGA Tour. He is also sixth in scoring average this year at 69.61. Also, before his only missed cut of the season last week, Howell had finished in the top 11 in four of seven starts.
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