Despite losing seven seniors, the Riverwood boys haven’t missed a step.
The Raiders are 11-1 headed into the Wellstar Lake City Classic tournament at Allatoona High School, which runs Dec. 28-30. The fast start puts them on a similar arch to last season, when they went 29-2 before losing in the state quarterfinals.
“Because we had so many new guys, I didn’t know what to expect,” Riverwood coach Buck Jenkins said. “I knew we had the potential to do well.”
Jenkins, who is starting his seventh season as head coach, said the unselfish attitude of the players has been a key.
“We’ve got unselfish guys who are always looking for the best shot,” he said. “They don’t care who scores the points and because they’re willing to pass the ball and because they’re buying into making good decisions, we’re continue to have opportunities to win.”
The guard-oriented team is led by senior Elijah Jenkins, the son of the coach. The 6-3 guard is averaging 18 points this season, up from 12 a year ago, and has signed to play at Embry-Riddle University in Florida.
Elijah Dudley, a junior move-in from St. Louis, has made a big impact. The 5-foot-9 guard is averaging 15 points and shooting 50-plus percent on 3-pointers.
The muscle is provided by Josh Brown, a 6-7 senior who averages 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Riverwood will open the tournament against Kennesaw Mountain at 10 a.m. on Dec. 28. Defending tournament championship Carrollton and Morrow are the other AAAAA teams in the event. The field also includes Kennesaw Mountain, Alexander, Central, Hillgrove and Central Macon. The other bracket includes Warner Robins, Collins Hill, South Paulding, Hughes, Allatoona and three out-of-state teams.
Tournament of Champions: Wheeler will be a great place to see some of the top Class AAAAA teams in the state. The tournament will be Dec. 27-30 and feature 16 teams in the National Division and 14 in the American Division. The National Division includes nine teams from outside Georgia.
Miller Grove, a seven-time state champion, will compete in the National Division. The Wolverines will open the tournament against Sacred Heart of Anniston, Ala. Miller Grove is currently competing in the Kreul Classic in Coral Springs, Fla. The American Division will include Griffin, Kell, Lithonia and Columbia.
Buford: The boys will compete in the Arby’s Classic in Bristol, Tenn., from Dec. 27-31. The Wolves will open the tournament against Sullivan East, Tenn., at 4 p.m. The girls will play in the Ram Classic at Grayson High School, Dec. 27-29, and open against Jonesboro.
Cedar Shoals: The Jaguars will compete in the Sweet South Classic at Morgan County, where they boys are the defending tournament champions.
Peach State Holiday Classic: A solid lineup has been secured for the Peach State Holiday Classic at Clayton State on Dec. 21-23. The boys field includes Colquitt County, Fayette County, Maynard Jackson, Mundys Mill, North Clayton, Southwest DeKalb Tucker and Westlake. The girls field includes Eagle’s Landing, Fayette County, Lithonia, Morrow, North Clayton, South Atlanta, Southwest DeKalb and Therrell.
Lanierland Tournament: One of the state’s oldest events will be held Dec. 28-30, with the first round at North Hall and the final day days at Gainesville High School. The Flowery Branch girls are the No. 1 seed and play Johnson in the first round at 6:30 p.m. The Flowery Branch boys are the No. 1 seed and open the tournament against Gainesville at 8 p.m. The tournament also includes Chestatee, East Hall, North Hall, Lakeview Academy and West Hall.
Carrollton girls: The Trojans are playing in the Carolina Invitational in Charleston, S.C., De. 28-30. Last year the massive tournament fielded 10 tournaments with eight teams in each division.
Loganville girls: The Red Devils are competing in the Andrew Johnson Bank Ladies Classic in Greeneville, Tenn., Dec, 28-31. Loganville is the only Georgia team in the field and opens the tournament against Greeneville, the host school.