With the two busiest months of high school basketball still to come in Columbia County, one basketball season has already come to an end.
Middle school basketball teams wrapped up the year Dec. 15 with two teams finishing a perfect season.
Grovetown Middle School's girls basketball team finished the season with a 12-0 record, defeating Riverside Middle on Dec. 13.
With the same 12-0 mark, the Riverside Middle School boys basketball team defeated Columbia Middle School.
The Eagles' 45-28 win over Columbia Middle on Dec. 15 brought the team's two-year record to 22-2. This year's wins were produced by a solid crew of eighth-grade athletes.
"There were 10 eighth-graders on the team this year, and they all played," Riverside coach Glen Roberson said.
"They know basketball. We're a good team, but luck has been with us, too."
A bit of good fortune has bailed the Eagles out several times this season.
Evans Middle took Riverside to overtime earlier in the season, and the Eagles survived for a one-point win against Grovetown Middle.
In the final game of the year, the Eagles left nothing to chance. Riverside mounted an early 17-5 first-quarter lead and never looked back. Eighth-grader Charles Wills led the charge with 10 points in a 17-point win over Columbia.
For the Lady Patriots of Grovetown Middle, the unbeaten record highlighted a climb to the top from a team that, Grovetown coach Shari Bowman said, had never won a game until this past season.
"It means so much to them," Bowman said. "They never got too cocky. They never let up. That's what set them apart from everybody else."
The team was also set apart with the addition of 6-foot-2-inch seventh-grader Ebony Wells.
The sister of two Lady Bulldogs on the Harlem varsity basketball team, Ebony was a dominant force underneath the basket for Grovetown this year with an average of 10 rebounds per game.
Eighth-grader Javinia Riddick scored an average 10 points per game for the Lady Patriots.
"She is probably the best (middle school) player in the county," Bowman said.
Although there is no official postseason or playoff system for middle school sports to determine the season's champion, Bowman said the undefeated title is the middle school equivalent of an area title.
"These kids are just great," Bowman said. "I had to buy some of the students' shoes so they could play, but they went out there every night and tried so hard."
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