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Pair of former Newton County basketball standouts to play in NCAA, NIT tournaments
Isaiah Miller has continued his high-flying ways as a freshman at UNC-Greensboro. - photo by File Photo

COVINGTON, Ga. -- Both the NCAA and National Invitational tournaments will have a bit of a local flavor to it this year, thanks to a pair of Covington natives who will play in each. 

Former Newton standout Isaiah Miller played a key role in helping his UNC-Greensboro squad clinch a spot in the Big Dance while averaging 8.5 points per game as a freshman for the Spartans who punched a ticket to a first-round matchup with Gonzaga as a 13-seed by winning the Southern Conference tournament. 

The Spartans (24-7) defeated ETSU back on March 5 in the conference tournament championship game. Miller tallied 10 points, four assists and three rebounds in 21 minutes of action during that game. The 6-foot freshman will take the court his UNC-Greensboro teammates at 1:30 p.m., televised on the TNT network. 

But Miller said he feels like he’ll be walking onto the court at Boise’s Taco Bell arena with more than just his teammates by his side. 

“I feel really good representing my school from back home, because I feel as if they all look up to me,” Miller said. “So it’s my job to lead by example, and I just want them to see that if they have a dream, they should chase it and never stop grinding until they reach the top.” 

Ashley Williams
Former Alcovy star Ashley Williams will lead her Alabama team into the second round of the women's NIT tournament Sunday against UCF. - photo by Submitted Photo

Miller isn’t the only local talent still playing college hoops during tournament season. Former Alcovy standout Ashley Williams, now a senior at Alabama (17-11), has helped the Crimson Tide advance to the second round of the NIT, using a 69-56 win over Southern Wednesday night to earn a home game against UCF on Sunday at 3 p.m.

Williams is Alabama’s second leading scorer (11.4 ppg) and top rebounder (7.3 rpg), and her field goal shooting percentage of .481 ranks second on the team. 

Williams tallied over 1,000 points and rebounds during her high school career, and is considered one of the best girls basketball players to come through Alcovy in its 12-year existence. Playing for a shot at a postseason tournament championship is a sweet way for the 6-foot senior to finish an impressive, yet topsy-turvy career.