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Sandy Creek Boys’ Basketball defeats Fayette 77-45

Fayette’s Duane Burks calls for teammates to set up an offensive play. Photos by Michael Cuneo

By Michael Cuneo – 

The Sandy Creek Patriots boys basketball team defeated Fayette County High 77-45 on Dec. 4, moving the team to 5-0 on the season. Fayette falls to 1-3 after the loss, giving the group one of its worst starts to a season in recent memory.

Fayette’s Kaleb Banks grabs a loose ball and heads toward defenders.

It was all Sandy Creek early on as defensive efforts from sophomore Micah Smith led to a spectacular block near the rim in the first quarter. The Patriots built a respectable 18-8 lead in the first quarter, something they would maintain for the rest of the game.

Sandy Creek head coach Jon-Michael Nickerson said one of the team’s most significant challenges this year would be overcoming the loss of crucial seniors that have led the team to success in previous years.

“The biggest challenge is we don’t have Jabari Smith. We don’t have Myles Rice. We’re going to have to do it [win] by committee. We’re going to have to take a lot less challenged shots. We’re going to have to make sure we really share the ball and create great shots for each other.” Nickerson said.

Fayette’s Duane Burks handles the ball from the edge of the key.

The loss of Jabari Smith certainly hurts Sandy Creek. Smith, a 5-star recruit and Georgia Gatorade Basketball Player of the Year in 2020, now plays for Auburn. Smith’s excellent play led Sandy Creek to a state championship matchup that the team lost to Cross Creek 57-49.

However, the loss of Smith didn’t seem to hurt the Patriots on Saturday as the team was able to fire on all cylinders.

Only time will tell, but Sandy Creek is out to a great start in 2021, outscoring opponents 347-263 and sitting atop their AAA 5 region rankings through the first five games. The Patriots will play at home on Friday, Dec. 10, as they take on Greater Atlanta Christian (Norcross).

Sandy Creek Defenders lockdown Fayette in the paint.

By Michael Cuneo

Michael Cuneo is a news and sports reporter for the Fayette County News. Michael graduated from Georgia State University with a degree in Journalism in 2020. In his off time, Michael enjoys torturing himself as an Atlanta Falcons fan. Follow Michael on twitter @michaelcune