SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga. — Despite not finishing the regular season in the same undefeated fashion as last season, the Social Circle Redskins conquered a new feat in 2023.
The Redskins downed Oglethorpe County 72-54 to double down on their region crown to go back-to-back on their home court.
After defeating Jasper County in the semi-finals, head coach Taylor Jackson and the rest of the Social Circle basketball team were set to face the Patriots in the region title game for Region 5A-Division 1.
After taking down Oglethorpe County twice already earlier in the season, the boys in red and white were in for another challenging matchup, but ended up on top.
“It’s no secret we lost a lot of production after the Final Four [last season],” Jackson said. “Guys had to step into new and unfamiliar roles. Just getting these guys to adjust to new roles and be leaders and be tough. It’s been a year-long journey.”
It took one final scoring run to help Social Circle bring home the region title trophy.
The Redskins entered the fourth quarter leading 53-44. Then, Quindarius Jackson reentered the game from an earlier injury after which Social Circle put a dagger in the Patriots’ region championship hopes.
Quindarius along with Lamarius Jackson and DaShon Hyman’s athleticism inside combined with the numerous fast break opportunities.
Quindarius and Lamarius propelled their team to a 15-2 run to put the game away for the Redskins.
This run ended with a 72-54 win and a consecutive region championship for the Social Circle Redskins.
Lamarius led the Redskins in scoring with 23 points while Quindarius followed with 17.
Following the win, coach Jackson did not hold back on his feelings about his top duo.
“[Quindarius and Lamarius] are the best players in the region. In my opinion, it’s not even close,” Jackson said.
The first quarter was a tight one between the two schools, with Social Circle leading for the majority of the quarter.
Social Circle’s Lamarius Jackson was making plays for the Redskins early as the senior was able to use his speed on the fast break to get easy baskets.
The Patriots would not go away easily, as Oglethorpe played close with multiple three pointers.
The points on the perimeter eventually gave the Patriots the lead at the end of the first quarter as the Redskins trailed 13-16 going into the second.
Lamarius connected with his brother, Quindarius Jackson, for a statement and-1 to open the second quarter. This play would be the beginning of a long back-and-forth between Social Circle and Oglethorpe that would last for the majority of the time remaining until halftime.
With just under two minutes left in the quarter, the Redskins put together the run they have been looking for all game.
Quindarius found Lamarius in the corner for a big three-pointer, then AJ Vinson grabbed a key rebound on the next offensive possession before putting it back up with authority.
On the next offensive possession, DaShon Hyman connected with a three for one last exclamation point in the first half.
“[That run] was super important,” Jackson said. “Oglethorpe played tough, inspired basketball. They are a very talented team but we knew that if we can get that dam to break, we will be in charge.”
The run for the Redskins gave them a 36-27 lead going into halftime.
The first half of the third quarter showed the Redskins in full motion as they began to gain the advantage on both sides of the ball.
Quindarius and Lamarius continued to run the court as the duo looked unstoppable on the fast break.
Strong interior defense from Vinson kept the Patriots out of the paint, but Oglethorpe County was able to gain some momentum after Quindarius Jackson sat out with a lower back injury.
“We always control the paint on defense,” Jackson said. “AJ is the best interior defender in the state, you can’t just score layups on AJ.”
Lamarius was awarded Region 5A-Division I’s Player of the Year along with Quindarius’ First Team All-Region honor. Hyman earned Second Team recognition with Vinson getting honorable mention.
Now, Region 5A-Division I’s Coach of the Year Jackson will once again lead his squad to the state playoffs as the No. 1 seed.
The celebration will be sweet for the Redskins but they will be back in the gym quickly, as they have their eyes set on their first round matchup in the state playoffs on Wednesday.