C.A. Johnson’s basketball teams return to Region 4-1A action on Tuesday at Wagener-Salley. The Green Hornets boys and girls are both off to 2-0 starts in their inaugural campaign at the small-school level.
The CAJ boys, fresh from competitive showings at two high-profile holiday tournaments, beat Ridge Spring Monetta (73-28) and Fox Creek (55-43) prior to the holiday break and the reinstatement of junior point guard Aaron Brown.
Most recently, CAJ finished second at the Taco Bell Holiday Tournament to Washington County (Ga.) after avenging two previous losses to archrival Keenan in the semifinals.
“Washington County had a lot more depth and size, and they just wore us down,” said Hornets coach Louis Dreher. “We didn’t win the championship, but we did reach our goal of at least getting to the championship game. Now, we’re focused on winning a region championship.”
Dreher admitted he is learning the opposition on the fly in the eight-team Region 4 fraternity.
“The only team we have any familiarity with is North, but the rest of the teams in the region are new for us,” said Dreher. “So, we kind of in uncharted territory and we’ll have to learn on the fly.”
Brown’s return has solidified the lineup, and brings both scoring and passing skills to the table. The rest of the starting cast includes senior Dayton Whitmore, junior forwards Aaron Haggins and Davon Dash and 6-foot-8 junior center Terell Magazine.
The Hornets expect their first major test in region play to come on Friday when they host the familiar North Eagles, who also went 2-0 in early conference action in December.
The CAJ girls scored wins over Ridge Spring-Monetta (32-30) and Fox Creek (54-24) in their first two 4-1A outings. Whitney Green accounted for the bulk of the Hornets scoring vs. RS-M with 23 points, and added 18 against Fox Creek. Jamie Corbett emerged with scoring honors vs. the Predators with 23 points.
Green, a junior, is averaging 13 points, five rebounds and three assists. Corbett, a senior, is averaging 10 points, five rebounds and four assists.
The Hornets currently share the top spot in the region standings with Hunter-Kinard-Tyler, the No. 1 team in 1A, Williston-Elko and Blackville-Hilda.