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Social Circle boys basketball can’t escape King’s Ridge’s upset bid
AJ Vinson
AJ Vinson (33) was a workhorse for the Redskins Wednesday night recording a 19-point, 11-rebound double-double. - photo by Cassie Jones | The Covington News

SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga. — The Social Circle Redskins nearly climbed out of a 22-point hole against King’s Ridge, but ultimately they came up short. Therefore, No. 1 seed Social Circle was upset by the No. 4 seed Tigers 69-60 at home in the Class A-Division I state playoffs Wednesday night. 

Head coach Taylor Jackson fought back emotions when relaying what this season meant to him. 

“It’s been an up and down journey,” Jackson said. “It’s really been my first reset whereas the past two seasons it’s been, ‘You don’t have to reset because they’ll be back.’ There were a lot of question marks through the roster, but for the players to just endure has been amazing.” 

At the halftime break, Social Circle trailed 42-25 and, not long into the third quarter, King’s Ridge’s lead grew to 22 points. 

Nevertheless, the Redskins slowly and surely clawed back into contention. 

First, they transitioned to a full-court press defense that seemed to rattle the Tigers’ offensive approach. Applying stifling pressure caused King’s Ridge to commit a five-second inbound violation, a backcourt violation and numerous other turnovers. 

Then, when King’s Ridge did penetrate the Redskins’ press, Social Circle would alter its shot attempt and collect the rebound. 

On offense, Social Circle connected on a few three-pointers that ate into the deficit. The Redskins would capitalize on fast break opportunities as well. 

At the 2:31 mark of the final quarter, the Redskins had trimmed King’s Ridge’s lead to just seven points, trailing 65-58. But that’s as close as they got to coming back to avoid the upset. 

Afterward, Jackson commended his players for the heart they showed in Wednesday’s contest. 

“It’s just a picture of [the players],” Jackson said. “It’s a group that’s always had to fight for respect, value and a seat at the table. That’s just who they are. They always fight and they never think it’s over. That’s Social Circle basketball.” 

The way King’s Ridge built its lead was primarily through the Tigers’ effective three-point shooting.

In total, the Tigers connected on 12 three-pointers, seven of which came in the first half. 

To get the open shots, the Tigers had a steady ball movement through Social Circle’s 2-3 and 3-2 defensive scheme. 

Sometimes, though — even when the Redskins would contest the Tigers’ shot — King’s Ridge still connected. 

Jackson highlighted how that’s just the result of facing a quality team. 

“Hats off to [King’s Ridge],” Jackson said. “When they’re hitting on all cylinders, they’re very difficult to guard.That was very impressive to them.” 

Senior AJ Vinson was a workhorse for the Redskins most of the game. He led the way with a 19-point, 11-rebound double-double. DaShon Hyman contributed 15 points and collected six rebounds, too. 

Social Circle’s season leading scorer Lamarius Jackson pitched in 14 points as well with three rebounds and five assists. 

All three players are part of the second-winningest class in Redskins history at 84-30 — one game shy of the class of 2022’s best mark. 

Jackson labeled this year’s senior class as a “special group.” 

“You’re talking about a group that has redefined what it means to step on the court and play boys basketball,” Jackson said. “They really laid the foundation for how hard you work.” 

The Redskins’ 2022-23 season comes to an end with Wednesday’s result. They went 17-11 overall and 6-0 in Region 5A-Division I. Just five days prior to their state playoff game, the Redskins celebrated the program’s second straight region title at home. 

And, though the season didn’t end the way they wanted it to, Jackson still believes this season was one of importance for the future of Social Circle basketball. 

“It’s been a good reminder that you have to fight for everything,” Jackson said. “I’m really proud of our boys.”