Saturday 2/26/22: Cumberland Academy of Georgia played host to the AAC All-Star game and activities. It was the twelfth All-Star weekend in AAC league history, and the energy was more exciting than many because it had been two seasons since the last All-Star weekend due to Covid last winter.

The day began with all four teams practicing and then came the skills competitions. The girls 3-point contest came down to an exciting final between Olivia DeHaan from Howard versus Lexi Strothers-Egelston of AASD. Lexi outshot Olivia to take the 2022 3-point crown. On the boy’s side Braden Kramer of our very own Cougars defeated Jake Benosky from Howard 12-9 in the final. Kramer proudly took home the boys 2022 3-point title.

The next competition was a 2 on 2 King of the Court game. In short, two kids matched up fairly with size, dribble skill, and shooting touch took on two others in halfcourt pickup games. If you were scored on twice, you are eliminated from the contest. The last team standing to score wins. TCS Cougar, Galya Kysar played with Emily Suarez from MSA and they battled through the contest finally defeating her teammate, Anika Helm from TCS and Ava Beck of Howard.  This now makes two Cougars taking home some hardware!

The boys followed and two Cougars made it to the final giving us a chance to have another Cougar to take home an award. Alex Hogg of TCS and Abdou Samba from AASD took on Anthony Kovach from Cottage paired with Benito Branche-Emrich of Tapestry Charter. Hogg and Samba won the plaques defeating Kovach and Branche-Emrich in a very tough battle.

The dunk contest was the final competition before the games and Alex Hogg easily defeated the others who entered. Alex did a reverse two-handed jam to move to the final and finished Zachary Graves of Howard off with an alley-oop pass off the glass from teammate Kramer. Hogg caught it with two hands and flushed the ball through the rim earning the rights of dunk champion.

The girl’s game was exciting for the first half and it appeared on the way for a great finish, but the team in white jerseys completely outplayed the dark jersey team in the second half. The white team, coached by our own Lyle Cutchin went on to win 67-38 and the MVP was a toss-up of Kysar or Strothers-Egelston who both led their team in scoring. Galya was strong in rebounding and Lexi collected many steals. After a coaches meeting, the MVP was agreed upon and Lexi from AASD earned the trophy. The senior ends her Panther career taking two trophies home. Other Cougars also did well. Anika Helm and Ana Mills both scored some baskets to go with Galya aiding their team to victory.

Alyssa Briggs and Celeste Jeoffroy were on the dark jersey team and did well. Celeste grabbed some boards and Alyssa was second in scoring on her team.

The boys game completes the day and went down to the last two possessions. Once again, it was the white jerseys that prevailed winning an exciting 49-46 back and forth battle.

After Braden Kramer made two free throws to go ahead 49-46 the dark jersey team appeared to make a basket to get within one point with just .12 second remaining, but Daniel Byman’s basket was waved off. The back official called a travel, which later video evidence proves he took two steps, and the bucket should have counted. Now the dark side had to steal the ball or foul. The white team threw the ball into the rafters giving possession to the dark team. The white team fouled on the inbounds pass but both free throws were missed, including an offensive rebound putback to cut it to one as the buzzer sounded. Just like the girl’s game, there was a tight race for MVP between three boys. Aidan Briggs of TCS led his team in points, rebounds, and blocks but his team lost. Travis Hodges from AASD had the game high of 17 points but Alex Hogg of Cottage was a defensive force in the paint. After the coaches met, they agreed Hoggs’ blocked shots were the most valuable piece to his team’s victory. Matter of fact, the senior blocked 4 of the black teams final 6 shot attempts. Alex Hogg earns his third award, the MVP trophy.

Anthony Kovach also helped Kramer and Hogg to the win. On the dark jersey team, Andrew Dorsey really played well playing alongside Briggs and Byman.

Boys Game Notes:

Alex Hogg earns the triple crown with dunk contest, 2 on 2 King of the Court, and MVP. He finished with 9 points, 16 rebounds (All-Star record until read below), 3 assists, 2 steals, and 15 blocked shots (All-Star record). How fitting that the Cougars’ all-time shot blocker also breaks the AAC All-Star game record for most blocks in any of the previous 11 contests and is his career high.

Aidan Briggs had a ridiculous stat line himself. He shot well in the 3-point contest but lost to teammate Kramer in the semi-final in a close 11-8 shootout.  If his team were to make the final shot, no doubt he would have won the MVP. Matter of fact, there has only been one to win MVP in All-Star history on the losing team and it almost happened again. Aidan corralled an All-Star record 21 rebounds, scored 15 points, and added 5 blocks, 2 steals, and 2 assists. Without an All-Star game last season, Briggs has still played in three straight contests. He is the only AAC player to come 1 rebound shy of three straight double-double All Star games. His freshman year he had 10 points and 9 boards, sophomore year had 16 points and 12 rebounds, and now the above mentioned 15 & 21. His All-Star status is unlike any other and he still has one last All-Star game to play. He will go down to Macon next Saturday to represent Cottage in the GISA senior All-Star game.

Braden Kramer proved to be the 3-point champion as he connected on three

more in the All-Star game. Kramer scored 13 points, icing four big free throws at the end to aid his team to the win. He also added 6 steals, 3 blocks, 3 rebounds and 2 assists.

Andrew Dorsey showed why he was one of three JV players selected. He came through with several key plays in the game to keep his team close. Dorsey finished with 4 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 steals.

Daniel Byman scored a basket (really two), had 5 steals and 4 rebounds. His 2 on 2 team also did well.

Anthony Kovach came so close to winning the 2 on 2 challenge. He helped his team win the All-Star game with 2 boards and 1 steal.