After completing the first half of the 2005-06 basketball season, Ajay Miller and April Woodard lead the Harlem Bulldogs and Lady Bulldogs in scoring.
With Miller's 18.1 points per game, and Woodard averaging 11.9 per game, the teams' offenses typically run through the two seniors.
For Miller, it hasn't always been that way.
The senior forward started his prep career as a freshman at Harlem. After seeing limited action on the varsity squad his first year, Miller lost his eligibility for the entire sophomore season and half of his junior year.
"It was my grades," Miller said. "I thought I could get a free trip, but I had to work hard to get back on the team."
Miller eventually was allowed back on the team after improving his grades and completing a few online courses. Miller said that behind the climb back to a better grade point average was Harlem basketball coach Kim Chambers.
"Coach Chambers helped me out a lot," he said. "If it wasn't for him, I wouldn't even be on the team."
As the team's starting forward, he has become a key asset to the Bulldog offense.
Not only does Miller lead the team in scoring but he's also tops in rebounding (7.1 per game) and shooting percentage (52.5 percent).
Miller dropped 31 points on Thomson on Dec. 3 and turned in a 24-point performance in a 3-AAA region game against Hephzibah.
Though Chambers has helped in refining his shot, Miller said, there's someone else who has had a big part in his success. His mother, Elaine Miller, is a former Harlem Lady Bulldog.
"My mom taught me how to play basketball," Ajay Miller said. "She gave me my first basketball when I was 3 years old."
Since then, Miller has improved into one of the top scorers in Columbia County. In Saturday night's overtime loss at Evans, Miller netted 14 points to come close to a near upset over the Knights.
"He's a strong player," Evans coach Kevin Kenny said. "He creates match-up problems because he can shoot the three, but he can also post up as a forward."
Saturday's trip to Evans did see the Harlem girls come away with a 38-36 win over the Lady Knights.
Leading the way once again was senior guard April Woodard with 13 points, including three 3-pointers.
Woodard leads the team in six categories including free-throw shooting (71.0 percent), 3-point shooting (37.9%), scoring (11.9 points per game), rebounding (5.4 per game) and blocks (6).
Her favorite stat, and perhaps the most fun to watch, is the 31 assists (3.4 per game) she's dished out this year. Highlight-worthy passes have come often this year with plenty of no-look and drive-and-dish assists breaking down opposing defenses for an easy layup for a teammate.
The passes are always sharp and accurate, but Chambers said they come almost too often.
"She's such a team player that we can't get her to shoot enough," Chambers said. "Even a college scout asked her why she didn't shoot more."
That scout, a recruiter from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, guaranteed her playing time after seeing her talent two weeks ago.
Woodard said she's still undecided on where she'll take her game after she graduates this spring.
The Harlem Bulldogs (4-7) and Lady Bulldogs (7-4) will suit up next at the Firehouse Subs Shoot Out at Evans High School. At the tournament, Harlem will face Lincoln County on Wednesday, Dec. 28, and will play in either the championship or consolation game Dec. 29.
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