High School Sports

Ben Lippen brings St. Joseph's back to the pack

Ben Lippen set up a potential three-way tie for the SCISA Region 1-3A boys basketball championship by bringing St. Joseph’s back to the pack with an impressive 70-57 win over the Knights on Tuesday.

The Falcons and Heathwood Hall, which handed St. Joseph’s its first region loss last Friday and beat Augusta Christian 48-29 last night, are a half game back of the Knights, who concluded region play with an 8-2 report card.

Ben Lippen plays at Augusta Christian and Heathwood Hall hosts Cardinal Newman on Friday. Wins by a Falcons and Highlanders will result in a three-way tie for the region championship. In that case, the teams would be declared tri-champions and seeding for the SCISA playoffs would be left to the state tournament committee.

The Falcons (18-7, 7-2) were in command from the outset, jumping out to a 19-9 lead by the end of the first quarter. BL was especially tough in the defensive end and off the glass. The Falcons defense hounded St. Joseph’s into a 35% shooting performance from the field and limited Knights hot shot Kevin Assinesi to a meager 11 points, well below his season average. BL finished with a commanding 42-23 edge in the rebounding department.

There was plenty of individual glory to go around. Derek Snelgrove fired in a game high 21 points and grabbed six rebounds. Mitchell Deter pumped in 17 points. Gabe Smith rang up a double-double – 10 points, 10 boards. Drew Fraley contributed 12 points, seven rebounds and three assists. Point guard Chad Burnett finished with seven points and three assists.

Heathwood Hall (16-5, 7-2) received 16 points from Corey Littlejohn in the low-scoring win in Martinez, GA. to keep pace with the other contenders.

On the girls side, Augusta Christian wrapped up its second straight region championship by downing Heathwood Hall with a 53-42 win over second-place Heathwood Hall.

Amaura Brandt, the daughter of USC Aiken women’s coach Mike Brandt, scored 15 of her 26 points in the Lions’ decisive 23-point burst in the fourth quarter.

AC (18-4, 9-0) will be the region’s No. 1 state playoff seed, with the Highlanders (11-8, 7-2) at No. 2.