The Thomaston-Upson Recreational Department won back to back state titles in the 12 & under basketball in 2011and 2012. The players of that All-Star team have reached Coach Tim Cook at Upson-Lee Middle School, and Cook has the Knights playing some of the best basketball of anyone in the area.
The Knights have dismantled every team they have played and their average margin of victory is well over 20 points, including a 61-19 victory over Pike County to start the season. ULMS swing man Tavias Fagan is averaging over 16 points per game, but according to Cook, the eighth grader has plenty of help with some younger players on the team.
“Fagan has led us in scoring this season and is a major part of our success,” said Cook. “I feel like these guys play so well together and they know what each other is going to do on the court. They have a great sense of the game and what we want to do. I think playing in the summer in some AAU leagues and playing together growing up at the Civic Center has a lot to do with our team chemistry. I’ve really been impressed with some of the younger players on our team. Seventh graders Zyrice Scott and Travon Walker have played very well. Walker gives us a big body in the middle, and Scott is a point guard in the purest sense. He really distributes the ball well and and can score when he needs to.”
After the Lady Knights demolished the Lady Patriots from Greenville by a 64-4 score, the Knights took on the Patriots, a team which traditionally has tall athletic players. It was the Knights ability to control the pace of the game, and knock down open shots which led to 28-13 lead at half time.
Tavias Fagan, who led the Knights with 17 points, finished the first half with 12 points, one shy of the Patriots total. In the third quarter UL really clamped down on defense, not allowing a single point in the third quarter. At the end of the third quarter, the Knights held a commanding 41-13 lead.
Upson-Lee was able to clear their bench and give the starters a rest in the fourth quarter. The Patriots made a rally outscoring ULMS 16-5 in the final quarter, but the damage had been done, as the Knights earned a 46-29 victory.
Tavias Fagan led all players with 17 points. Cameron Traylor added eight points, Zyrice Scott finished with six points, Brontavious Harris and Travon Walker each tallied four points, while Rodney Raines, Alex Lockhart, and Antavious Scott each scored two points. Anthony Wiggins chipped in with one point in the victory.
The ULMS Knights will take on the undefeated Blue Devils from Manchester Middle School. Each team sits with a 5-0 record, and will have the fast track to the No. 1 seed in the region. Tip off for this all important showdown is slated for 6 p.m. tonight at the ULMS gymnasium.