Hot starts for hoopers; Fields crucial for Rhodes at regionals

Fall and winter sports are starting to overlap, contributing to what might be one of the busiest alumni roundups of the year.

On their way out are the fall sports, where Spencer Fields led Rhodes to qualify for the Division-II cross country championships and Katie O’Connor took over a team lead.

On their way in are the winter sports.

In wrestling, both Jermel Lewis and Hunter Quinn made podiums for Emmanuel wrestling.

In basketball, Bartow County alumni seemed to love season openers, with A.J. Mosby, Kimora McClinic, Elijah Robinson and Corey Tobin all balling out to start the season.


Ryan Davis (Francis Marion Jr., Cartersville) — Davis started the season by playing 29 minutes off the bench in a close 72-70 win over Catawba on Friday. He had four points, three rebounds and led the Patriots with six assists. The next day, he was again the first man off the bench in a 78-70 win over Lenoir-Rhyne, scoring eight points with four rebounds, three assists and two steals in 27 minutes.

Kimora McClinic (Middle Georgia State Fr., Cartersville) — The Middle Georgia State Knights are already five games into their season, with a 2-3 record. McClinic made an immediate impression in her college debut, scoring a joint-team-high 14 points on Oct. 30 in a 76-51 win over Voorhees. She had nine points and three rebounds on Nov. 1 in an 89-69 loss to Life before cooling off and seeing her playing time reduced. McClinic scored two points in eight minutes in a 47-41 win over the University of the Virgin Islands on Nov. 3 and was scoreless in two minutes in a 57-49 loss to Stillman on Nov. 4. She bounced back a little in her most recent game, getting 17 minutes in a 74-68 loss to Coastal Georgia last Wednesday and scoring one point.

A.J. Mosby (Alcorn State Sr., Cartersville) — Mosby acquitted himself well in a tough assignment to begin the season, leading the Braves with 15 points on 7-of-13 shooting as Alcorn State lost 99-59 to LSU on Friday. He also had three rebounds and a team-high three steals in 32 minutes in that game. It was another tough game for the Braves on Sunday, as they lost 109-72 to Creighton. Mosby had eight points in that game, along with three assists and two steals. Through two games, his 11.5 points per game average is second on the Braves.

Elijah Robinson (Emmanuel Sr., Excel) — Robinson started off the season on fire, scoring a team-high 25 points on 9-of-20 shooting in a 102-92 Emmanuel loss to North Georgia on Friday. Facing off against Woodland grad Carrod Watson, Robinson also had 10 rebounds for a monster double-double. He was held out of Emmanuel’s next game, a 95-86 loss to Georgia College on Saturday, with a minor injury.

Darius Thrower (Truett-McConnell So., Excel) — Thrower played 12 minutes with one point and three rebounds in a season-opening 108-75 win over Toccoa Falls on Halloween, and since then has seen time in every one of Truett-McConnell’s games as the Bears have started 5-0. His best effort came in the second game, when he scored six points in seven minutes in an 80-56 win over Welch on Nov. 3. He also had four points in 12 minutes in an 87-65 win over Columbia International last Tuesday.

Corey Tobin (Reinhardt Sr., Cartersville) — Tobin’s senior year has been incendiary so far, as the sharpshooter has thus far reached double-digit points in all four of the games he’s played in. That started when he knocked down 5-of-10 3-pointers and scored 18 with eight rebounds in a season-opening 99-98 loss to Voorhees on Oct. 30. Reinhardt got its first win on Nov. 3, 99-84 over Ave Maria, as Tobin made 6-of-9 3-pointers and poured in 21 points with six rebounds. He had 14 points and three steals in just 17 minutes on Nov. 4 in a 128-91 rout of Welch. He had his worst shooting game of the season but still scored 10 points and grabbed eight rebounds last Monday in an 82-71 loss to Voorhees before sitting out Tuesday against Selma University. Through five games, Tobin was leading the Eagles with 15.8 points per game with 5.5 rebounds. He was shooting an even 50 percent (17-for-34) from 3.

Carrod Watson (North Georgia So., Woodland) — Watson has started all three games so far for North Georgia. He had 11 points and three rebounds last Monday as the Nighthawks opened their season with a 105-86 win over Piedmont, and followed that up with 11 and six in a 102-92 win over Emmanuel Friday. He then had three points and five rebounds Saturday in an 81-70 loss to Queens.

Hakeem Winters (Point Jr., Cartersville) — Winters has been a solid contributor off the bench, playing in all five games thus far for the 3-2 Skyhawks. He had his best game in the season opener, scoring six points with five rebounds in 14 minutes as Point lost to Thomas, 95-86. Winters is averaging three points and 2.2 rebounds per game.

Rudy Winters (Columbus State Jr., Excel) — Winters started, played a team-high 30 minutes and scored nine points with three rebounds last Tuesday in Columbus State’s 84-67 exhibition win over LaGrange.


Spencer Fields (Rhodes Jr., Darlington) — Fields led the Lynx to a second-place finish at NCAA Regionals on Saturday that will see them advance to the national championships. Fields, who was named the Southern Athletic Association Runner of the Year after winning the conference championship on Oct. 28, ran a 24:14 8K Saturday, breaking his personal record by a minute and six seconds and finishing third overall behind Christopher Newport’s Grayson Reid and Berea’s Logan McKenzie. Rhodes’ 51 points just missed a regional championship, as Christopher Newport’s 43 edged the Lynx out.


Katie O’Connor (Western Carolina Sr., Cartersville) — O’Connor kept up her great senior season last week, leading her team with 18 kills and adding four block assists in a 3-2 loss to UNC-Greensboro on Wednesday. She followed that up by again leading the Catamounts with nine kills with no errors and added two block assists as Western Carolina ended its regular season Friday with a 3-0 sweep of The Citadel. The two big games were enough to move her into the team lead with 272 kills on the season, against just 54 errors. Each of the other members of her team with at least 200 kills has at least 90 errors. O’Connor also has 102 total blocks on the season, again first on her team. WCU will face Southern Conference No. 2 seed East Tennessee State in the conference tournament quarterfinals on Friday.


Jermel Lewis (Emmanuel Jr., Woodland) — Lewis finished second at 197 pounds at the King Open over the weekend. He beat Belmont Abbey’s Colton Brittain 13-6 in the first round and then had two narrow decision wins to make the finals. In the first, he beat Queens University’s Benjie Hund 3-2, and followed that up with a 2-1 win over Oklahoma Wesleyan’s Tiryer West. That put him in the finals, where he lost on a fall to King’s Elijah Seay.

Hunter Quinn (Emmanuel So., Cass) — Quinn started his season with a third-place finish in the Freshman/Sophomore competition at 157 pounds at the Hokie Open on Nov. 5. After a bye, he beat King University’s Matthew Danner 4-1 in the second round. He then beat Limestone’s Avery Dinardi 10-3 before falling to Appalachian State’s Isaiah Johnson 5-2 in the semifinals. He recovered to beat Old Dominion’s Cade Hepner 10-5 in the third-place match.

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