Posted On: 11/19/18 12:39 AM

Saturday marked a solid start to the 2018 Jared Cook Classic, with 4 matchups throughout the day. There were some surprises, exciting action, and guys rose to the occasion. Before we get ready for 5 more games at North Gwinnett today, here are a few thoughts from Day 1.


Archer might be one of the best defensive teams you’ll see this winter


I’ll be honest, I was a bit surprised at the final outcome and how Archer’s game went against Lanier went on Saturday. I was expecting a tight, fast-paced, physical battle. While it was fast-paced and physical, Archer ended up blowing out Lanier by a score of 88-56. Defense was the key to this win for the Tigers. They flustered the Longhorns throughout the game, speeding them up and forcing them into bad decisions time and time again. Archer drew countless offensive fouls throughout the course of the game, which I thought helped them to gain and keep momentum at various points. Hitting 10 3’s and getting production from lots of different players (8 guys with 5+ points) helps a lot also, but I felt like it all started with their defense. If they keep up this kind of play, they will give teams loads of trouble this year. Gabrield Price, CJ Hines, Cameron Lee, and Brent Smith all looked good.


Mill Creek’s juniors just get it done, and will have to the whole season.


Mill Creek had a convincing 73-58 win over Milton on Saturday, in which they had a 18-7 run to end the 1st half and a 15-1 run to start the 3rd quarter after a somewhat slow 1st quarter. Senior Bernard Battle stepped up in the 2nd half for the Hawks, but this team’s juniors are what really got them going. Kendall Latney, Jack Kostel, Sebastian Augustave, and Zion Wimby combined for 44 of their 73 points in the contest. They are all 2020 guards who contribute in a variety of ways and play well off each other. Their chemistry is evident; if one guy is hot, they will find him and have no issue with their own points taking a backseat. Mill Creek plays in an extremely tough region with impressive teams like Mountain View, Collins Hill, Discovery, Peachtree Ridge and Duluth. This Hawks team will need these guys to continue to step up against top opponents. They have a big matchup tonight against Shiloh, which should be a good teller of where they are at early on.


North Gwinnett could sneak up on some people this year


After only winning 3 games last year, North Gwinnett started the 2018-19 season on a good note with a 61-52 win over Etowah. The Bulldogs shot extremely well from the outside early in the game and did not panic when shots weren’t falling as the game progressed. Once Etowah made a push in the 2nd half, they responded by forcing an important turnover or by converting on a crucial basket to stop the chance of a comeback. Chandler Johnston, Connor McCormick, and Jordan Young all had solid games for the Bulldogs. You have to take into consideration that NG does not have their football players back yet either. Guys Like Jared Ivey and JR Martin will be important players for them also. They are in that same difficult region as Mill Creek, but if the Bulldogs are hitting shots and clicking in other areas, they should be able to get some upsets. Figuring things out and gaining chemistry in non-region games will be important.


Peachtree Ridge’s depth will be a problem for opponents all season


If you have 5 different guys who score in double figures in a single game, it will be hard to beat. That’s exactly what Peachtree Ridge did on Saturday. They also have other guys like Rich Rivers and Mayo Akinsunmi who did not necessarily have great offensive games on Saturday, but are very capable on that end. When GAC tried to adjust to certain players, other stepped up without production falling off. The Lions played 11 guys and pretty much all of them made a positive impact on the game. Defensive specialists, energy guys, you name it and they had it coming off their bench. I felt like their ability to play so many different guys and keep people fresh was a huge difference in the game, considering that GAC is missing football players and have a shorter bench right now. I was really impressed with the guard play of Kam Oyola and Christian Williams, Brian Knight’s versatility, and the tough inside presence of Amari Davis and Justin Caffey. Tonight’s matchup against Lambert for Peachtree Ridge should be a lot of fun.


Hunter McIntosh should be a high priority recruit


Every time out, Hunter McIntosh sets a great example for his team and gets the job done; Saturday was no different. McIntosh finished with 25 points and 7 3’s in an intense game against aforementioned Peachtree Ridge, battling the entire game and coming up big for the Spartans. He had an absolutely dominant stretch in the 3rd quarter of the game to the point where Peachtree Ridge resorted to fully face-guarding him the rest of the game. I have always been impressed with his toughness and gritty play attacking the basket. While I knew he could shoot as well, I don’t think I had ever seen him connect from deep the way he did on Saturday. With Tulane head coach Mike Dunleavy and associate head coach Doug Stewart sitting directly behind GAC’s bench the whole game, McIntosh put together an outstanding performance and earned an offer from the Green Wave staff yesterday. There hasn’t been much talk about what he has going on with his recruitment, but I’m sure he will have numerous programs coming after him hard over the next few months.