Howard Named Coach of the Year
Savannah native Anita Griffin Howard has been named the 2017 Peach Belt Conference Women’s Basketball Coach of the Year.
Howard hit the ground running in her first year as the head coach at Columbus State University, guiding the Cougars to a Peach Belt Tournament championship title, the PBC west division title and a topfive national ranking. The Cougars enter the NCAA Division II Tournament with a 28-1 overall record, a 19- game winning streak, and are the top-ranked team in the NCAA Southeast Region. CSU leads the PBC in scoring defense and are second in scoring offense. They also lead the conference in blocks, opponent field goal percentage, rebounding and rebounding margin. Howard, a graduate of Beach High and Armstrong State, keeps the Coach of the Year honor in Columbus for a third straight season; Jonathan Norton was a co-Coach of the Year in 2016 and won outright in 2015.
Hill Named Player of the Year
Former Savannah State basketball player Jeremiah Hill has been named Player of the Year in the Gulf South Conference while teammate and former Johnson High standout Saadiq Muhammad earned second team GSC honors.
Hill, a Richmond Hill native, helped lead Valdosta State to a regular season first place finish in GSC play with an average of 19.2 points per game. In addition, Hill also led the team in assists with 110 and steals with 54. The 6-foot-2 guard became the newest member of VSU men’s basketball’s 1,000 point club when he hit the mark on Senior Day against Lee on March 25. Hill accomplished the feat in less than three full seasons as a Blazer.
At the time of the award, the 6’7” Muhammad, also a SSU transfer, led the GSC in field goal percentage at 61.2 percent (139-of-227).
Tigers End Season With A Win
The Savannah State men’s basketball team ended their 2016-17 season with a come from behind 95-88 victory over South Carolina State on March 2 in a game played at Tiger Arena before a crowd of 2,300. SSU trailed by ten points in the second half before rallying for the win. Troyce Manassa led the Tigers with a game-high 10 rebounds to go with his career-high 42 points. Dexter McClanahan added 15 points for SSU while Casey Wells chipped in 13 points. Savannah State ends their season with a 13-16 record and a three game-winning streak. SSU posted a 10-6conference record. Manassa and Wells were the only two seniors on the team.
The SSU men’s basketball team will not participate at the 2016-17 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference basketball championship. The men’s team did not meet NCAA APR standards for the 2015-16 season, and as a result cannot participate in any post season competition this season.
CAU, Benedict Win SIAC Titles
The Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference crowned their 2017 champions on March 4 in Birmingham, Alabama. Clark Atlanta defeated Ft. Valley State 64-62 for the men’s championship while Benedict downed Central State of Ohio 77-72 in the women’s game. Both winners received automatic bids to participate in the Division II basketball tournament.
Beach, Johnson To Play For State Title
Beach High and Johnson High will play for all the marbles on March 9 in the girls GHSA Class AAA state championship in Athens.
During the season, the teams have played four times. Johnson prevailed 45-42 on December 13 and Beach took home a 62-56 overtime win in the Holiday Classic on Dec. 19. The Bulldogs won again on January 27 by a score of 52-49 and Johnson came out victorious in the Region 3-AAA championship game on February 10 by a score of 61-57.
Class A Final Four Game
Woodville-Tompkins had their season come to an end on March 4 in Valdosta with a 62-60 loss to Telfair County in a girls Class A Final Four game. The Wolverines end their season with a 24-6 record.