Going up for the ball

Walnut Grove’s Shawn Walker, left, finished the season as the leading rebounder in Walton County while Monroe Area’s Derrick Brown, right, led the county in scoring.

Because of the COVID-19 lockdown, Shawn Walker didn’t meet his new team and head coach until a week before preseason workouts began for the new basketball season.

But it didn’t take long for the South Gwinnett transfer to make his presence felt, both physically and verbally.

“He’s an outspoken kid,” said Walnut Grove boys head coach Will Witherspoon. “But he’s very likable. The other players really were really drawn to him.”

At 6-foot-3, with a lengthy wingspan, smooth moves, and unstoppable motor, he quickly cracked the starting lineup at power forward. He ended the year as the only player in the county to average a double-double, leading the area in rebounds with 10 a game and eighth in scoring with 11.

He was selected first-team all-region in 8-AAAAA.

“I had no idea he was coming, but I sure am glad he showed up,” Witherspoon said.

As for as wins and losses, the Warriors regressed this season. After compiling 18 last year, they finished with just 10 this winter. But they managed to get back to the state tournament after falling short last season. In the process, they swept all three games with cross-county rival Loganville.

“I don’t think that happens if he doesn’t show up,” Witherspoon said.  

Also making a huge contribution was another transfer. Demyron Williams arrived by way of Grayson and scored 11 points a game for the Warriors from his guard spot. He was named honorable mention all-region.

Monroe Area’s Derrick Brown won the area scoring title, averaging 19.3 points a game, adding more than 5 points to the 14 he scored last winter. The county’s defending rebound champ, he dropped to third this year, averaging 9.2

Finishing just ahead of him was teammate Damareon Whitner with 9.4

Noah Hicks, who suffered a season-ending injury in the first game of last season, stayed healthy this year and scored 17.5 a game for George Walton Academy, good enough for second in the area. 

Social Circle’s Tyrhell Branch finished third in scoring for the second straight year, averaging 17.2, two points better than last season.

Scorers

Player/School  Avg.

Derrick Brown, MA     19.3

Noah Hicks, GWA        17.5

Tyrhell Branch, SC       17.2

Larry Kennedy, LCA     15.3

Chris Dorbor, LHS       15.0

Kennedy Johnson, GWA         14.8

Cam Lee, WG  14.0

Shawn Walker, WG     11.0

Demyron Williams, WG          11.0

Nhine Willis, LHS         10.0

Rebounders

Player/School  Avg.

Shawn Walker, WG     10.0

Damareon Whitner, MA         9.4

Derrick Brown, MA     9.2

Chris Dorbor, LHS       8.0

A.J. Vinson, SC 7.7

Nhine Willis, LHS         7.0

Kennedy Johnson, GWA         5.9

Chase Jocelyn, GWA   5.8

Cooper Rubio, LHS      5.6

Cam Lee, WG  5.0

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