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North Oconee boys basketball continues to roll.
NOHS visited Oconee County last Saturday, defeating the rival Warriors 89-48.
The win over OCHS was the Titans’ seventh straight victory, and after blowing out Madison County on Tuesday night 79-51, they’ve won eight straight, and many in dominant fashion. North Oconee sits at 19-3, and has yet to lose a game in 2024.
Senior Byrd Carter led the Titans in scoring with 22 points, once again showing his ability to drive to the basket and finish through contact.
Justin Wise scored 15 points and added 6 assists, flashing his strong 3-point shooting as well as his penchant for setting teammates up for easy looks.
North Oconee head coach Rick Rasmussen praised Wise for his selflessness on the court.
“He’s a microcosm of our whole team. He’s a future division one player, he’s super talented, but he’s happy if we just win, and he’ll make the extra pass,” Rasmussen said. “He could probably take over more than he does, but he’s just happy to be on a winning team and having fun and all we care about is the right things. Justin’s an extremely unselfish kid with a great future.”
Senior Shep Thompson was lights out, making six 3-pointers en route to a 20-point scoring night. His teammates on the bench and the student section in the crowd were electrified by the shooting display.
“A three is a layup for him,” Rasmussen said. I always say ‘hey, make your layups’ and I’m talking about 3-pointers because Shep can fill it up, he really can.”
The chemistry and understanding between the players is one of the trademarks of North Oconee’s team this season. The Titans are electric to watch, and any of their starters can have a big game on a given night.
“We love each other, we’re a family. It’s a great group,” Rasmussen said. “It’s probably the most selfless team that I’ve had.”
Rasmussen said his team performed at a high level from top to bottom.
“It’s always good to sweep your rival. The kids played well, they had a good time with it,” Rasmussen said. “I thought we played well all the way through the whole team, I thought our starters played well and the reserves played well.”
The only concern for North Oconee in the Oconee County game was sophomore Khamari Brooks, who exited the game in the first quarter after seemingly reaggravating an injury to his right wrist.
Rasmussen said he thought Brooks was fine and could’ve re-entered if the game was more competitive. Brooks was back in the lineup for the Titans’ Tuesday matchup with Madison County, scoring 11 points and grabbing 15 rebounds in their 79-51 win over the Red Raiders.
For the Warriors, freshman Mason Hall was a major bright spot, putting up 19 points and 5 rebounds in an impressive showing. Hall had another great game in the Warriors’ loss to Monroe Area on Tuesday night, scoring 21 points.
The 2023-24 season continues to be a rebuilding one under new head coach Ryan Smith, but Oconee County’s players continue to give it their all in each game. There are flashes of really strong team basketball, but it just hasn’t quite come together in the form of wins this season.
Up next for the Warriors is a Friday night matchup against Hebron Christian. The Lions defeated the Warriors 73-47 on Jan. 9 in the teams’ first faceoff.
The Titans will host Johnson High School on Friday night as they look to keep their winning streak going.