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PREP BASKETBALL NOTEBOOK: Terrell, Westover primed for Top 5 duel Saturday; Seminole girls off to 11-2 start

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

DAWSON -- Both teams got a day off Tuesday when Westover saw its game against Crisp County rescheduled because Crisp couldn't make the trip to Albany because of the weather, and Terrell County missed a chance to play Webster County because Webster was closed for the same reason.

They will need the rest.

Terrell County, which is off to a 10-1 start and ranked No. 5 in The Herald's Top 5 Poll, will face No. 3 Westover on Saturday night and there's no doubt it will be the usual standing-room-only crowd when they meet in Dawson.

"It should be a packed crowd,'' said Terrell County boys coach John Davis, who plays Albany's big-time programs at Monroe and Westover every year and the Greenwave's only loss this season is to Class AAA Monroe. "We've established a good relationship with them, and it's a good rivalry."

It will be a memorable weekend for Westover, which first faces its biggest rival, Monroe, in one of the top rivalry games in all of Georgia on Friday night at the Albany Civic Center.

The Patriots will probably play in front of more fans this weekend than any prep team in Georgia -- in brutal back-to-back games.

"Yeah, it will be a big weekend,'' Westover coach Dallis Smith said.

Davis is just glad his team is on the flip side of this coin.

"That's how it is sometimes when you have to face back-to-back powerhouses,'' Davis said. "I'm glad they're playing the powerhouse on Friday and not me. Maybe they can use up a lot of energy playing Monroe.''

Terrell County, which made it to the Final Four last year, has dominated Region 1-A so far, making a point last Saturday with a one-sided victory at Mitchell County, where the Greenwave jumped out to a 36-10 halftime lead and cruised to a 63-44 win that was never close.

Dekoven Ware had a career-high 18-point night and also pulled down 10 rebounds, and his presence is one of the big reasons the Greenwave are ranked No. 4 in the state. Terrell County doesn't have a starter taller than 6 feet, and that's Ware, who is the only player who didn't start last year.

Davis has four seniors back, and that's why he isn't surprised at this year's success.

"We only had two seniors last year, and we brought back four starters,'' he said. "They're seasoned players who have been in the program for four years and are very knowledgeable of the game. They play hard and they haven't quit no matter who we have played. We went (to the Final Four last year) and that was a very motivational thing for us this year.''

They want to go back, and are playing like it. Super 6er Terel Hall, one of the top point guards in this part of the state, is averaging 20 points and eight assists a game. He isn't the straw that stirs the drink. He's the blender.

"Everybody has been playing well,'' Hall said. "Everybody has been stepping up.''

Returning starters Markez Dotson, Charles Brown and Brian Browner have all had their moments at different times this season to keep the Greenwave rolling.

And Ware? Well, he has stepped in and become a force -- just like Davis envisioned it.

"No, it didn't surprise me to see him play so well,'' Davis said. "He has the potential to do well, and he's been coming on pretty strong.''

So have the Greenwave.

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HOW 'BOUT THOSE LADY INDIANS?:

Go ahead and circle Jan. 25 on the calendar. That's when the Pelham girls meet Seminole's girls in a Region 1A-A game in Donalsonville.

Anyone who has been following the region, especially the south end of this zoned region, knows Pelham and Seminole have emerged as the powers this year.

Pelham, ranked No. 5 in The Herald's Top 5 Poll, was supposed to play Seminole at home last Friday, but a power outage at the school forced the game to be rescheduled for Feb. 12 -- the last day of the regular season.

They meet on Jan. 25 in Donalsonville, and there's a good chance both will still be unbeaten in the region race.

Few thought Seminole, which has won nine of its last 10 games and is now 11-2, would get off to this kind a start.

"It has been a surprise,'' said Seminole coach Jesse McCleod, who had to find a way to replace Carrie Washington, a 5-11 post who led the Lady Indians to the second round of the playoffs last year before graduating. "But they have really worked hard.''

McLeod had to go to a youth movement, and the youngsters couldn't have responded much better. He starts three sophomores and two seniors, and his young guns have made a big difference.

Seminole's top two scorers are sophomores.

Alexus Watson, a 5-10 sophomore, is averaging a double-double, scoring 19 points and grabbing an average of 10 rebounds a game.

Katrese Brown, a 5-7 sophomore guard, is a torrid shooter. She's averaging 16 points per game, and can kill a team from the 3-point line.

She made five 3s in the first quarter against Terrell County, and she's coming off a 19-point night in Seminole's 54-39 win against Mitchell County on Tuesday.

Patrice Brown, a 5-5 sophomore point guard is averaging eight points a game and running the offense. Seminole also has had a big start from seniors Meshelay Mobley, a 5-5 guard, and Georgette Brown, a 5-10 forward who is averaging 10 points and eight rebounds per game.

"We thought we could be pretty good. It was just how much they matured,'' McLeod said. "But they worked real hard over the summer and they have picked up the system. They've played pretty consistent.''

It shows. Seminole beat defending Region 1-A champ Randolph-Clay, 70-40, and had little trouble with Mitchell County, which dropped from Class AA to Class A this season. The Lady Indians have split a pair of games with Class AAAA Lee County, beating the Lady Trojans, 58-50, on Dec. 11 in Leesburg and losing 53-34 in Edison in a Christmas tournament. They meet in the rubber match Friday at Seminole.

Then it's back to the region schedule, a region Seminole might just win.

"We're a better shooting team than we were last year,'' McLeod said. "And we run the floor better. We like to try to press. They're a good group of girls and they do what we ask them to do.''

And it hasn't taken long.

"They're a little young,'' McLeod said. "We've got three sophomores on the floor and sometimes we have four. This is one of the youngest teams I've had, but they try to adjust, and they're quick learners.

They're a good group to work with.''