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Schools turn up the A/C for some summer hoops

POSTED: June 11, 2014 12:00 p.m.
Larry Wynn/Barrow County News

Apalachee's Kamar Baldwin goes for a reverse layup during a Dec. 2013 win against Winder-Barrow. Baldwin was recently offered a scholarship to UT-Chattanooga.

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While the Spurs are having trouble keeping their fans going, Apalachee and Winder-Barrow are getting ready to turn the air up on full blast for some mid-summer basketball camps.

The Cats and Doggs are hosting two thirds of the second session a short summer league, North Georgia Hoops, and will get off to a start on June 16. 

Apalachee is hosting games four straight nights from June 16 to June 19, with their first day’s matchups being against North Oconee and Mill Creek. Winder-Barrow’s Bulldoggs will host over the same span with games on the first day against East Hall and Jefferson. 

On the second day, June 17, Apalachee will play East Hall and Oconee County High School while Winder-Barrow will take on North Oconee and Hebron Christian Academy, where head coach Ron Garren spent time a couple years ago as an assistant coach.

Apalachee will open competition on the 18 against Jefferson before ending the day against Hebron Christian Academy. At the same time, just across the county, Winder-Barrow will open with Athens Christian and close with Oconee County.

Finally, Apalachee will face Newton and Athens Christian on June 19 while the Bulldoggs will play Mill Creek and Dacula. 

The Bulldoggs have already hit the hardwood a few times in some summer games, starting with the first session of North Georgia Hoops hosted by Jackson County and Banks County. The Doggs ended up playing eight games over the three day camp and finished with a 4-4 record.

“We had some good games and we had some bad games,” Garren admitted.

Things turned around for the Doggs this week, though, as they are currently 3-1 through the Dacula Shoot-Out at Duluth High School. In four games against South Forsyth, Northview, Duluth and Lanier, the Hoop Doggs have faced tougher competition than the previous camp, but have fared better.

“After getting eight games under our belt, we’re looking a lot better,” Garren noted. 

Winder-Barrow got an early preview of their newest region opponent on Tuesday with a game against Lanier on a neutral court, in which the Doggs unofficially earned their first region win of the year. 

“We felt like it was our best game all summer,” Garren added.

With the 12 games already passed and the next week of camp to come,  Winder-Barrow will finish the summer with approximately 22 games already in their system. They may have five or six more, depending on whether or not they attend a camp at Clemson to end the month of June, but Garren already has a good feeling about this team.

“I’m real pleased with where we are,” Garren concluded, specifically referencing upcoming sophomore Brandon Hayes and rising juniors Dresden Williams and Jay Branch as key players to watch moving ahead.

Apalachee has also had a productive summer on an individual and a corporate level. In addition to their 14-1 record so far after camps at UT-Chattanooga and games in the first week of the North Georgia Hoops Camp, junior standout Kamar Baldwin is already making waves outside the state of Georgia.

While in Chattanooga, the leading Wildcat won the dunk contest and grabbed himself an early scholarship offer from the Mocs. While Baldwin is likely to receive offers from larger and even more prestigious schools over the next two years, this summer’s news reinforces the idea that he is in fact a college caliber player after just two years of varsity exposure and experience.

“He is impressive,” Apalachee head basketball coach Kevin Morris said.

Although the Wildcats and the Bulldoggs will not get a chance to see each other this summer, as they will both be hosting portions of the summer camp, fans have an unparalleled opportunity to see their favorite team play entertaining and educational summer basketball over the next couple weeks.



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