WARRENTON, Ga. - The Warren County High Screaming Devils control their own destiny in the second half of their 2008-09 basketball season.
Already, the team is off to a bit of a surprising start and just two games off the pace of playing .500 basketball.
Currently sporting an overall record of 4-6, the Screaming Devils resumed action on the hardwood Tuesday night at home against the Taliaferro County Jaguars from Crawfordville. On Friday night, they travel to Augusta to take on Aquinas before taking on Hancock Central's Bulldogs on Saturday night.
The Screaming Devils have improved a lot since starting the season and losing their first five games.
"We're a very young team that's come a long, long ways from where we were earlier in the season," first year Warren County Head Coach Lavon Grant said during an interview last Friday. "The players have worked really hard to get where they have gotten since the start of the season."
One of the team's biggest victories recently came against the Washington-Wilkes Tigers - one that gives them a 1-0 record in the Region 4-A standings and one that is most pleasing to Coach Grant.
"I don't think anybody gave us a real chance of beating Washington-Wilkes before we played them," Coach Grant said. "It was a real big win for this team and a confidence booster, too."
Warren County's Cornelius Pinkston hit a game-winning layup at the buzzer to lift the Screaming Devils to a 61-59 upset win. Pinkston's thrilling offensive play followed a big defensive rebound by Jonathan Lewis, who grabbed the ball off the boards with just eight seconds remaining in the game. Lewis played a fierce game, snatching down 15 rebounds against the Tigers.
On the season, Lewis is averaging 12 rebounds a game.
Leading the way for the Screaming Devils in scoring against Washington-Wilkes was Stanley Johnson and Tay Erwin, each with 16 points. Two other players also scored in double-figures. They included Dondracus Dozier, 15 and Lewis, 10.
"We played an all-around, well-balanced ball game against Washington-Wilkes," Coach Grant said. "That win was our biggest one of the season and it came on the road. It proves to our players that we can win road games, too. And that's very important, because it builds their confidence level so much."
Prior to playing Washington-Wilkes, Warren County played the Screven County Gamecocks in the Christmas Holiday Tournament hosted by Jefferson County High School. In that game, they nearly beat the Gamecocks. The final score was 94-89.
Again, Stanley Johnson was the top scorer for the Screaming Devils with a season-high 35 points. Tay Erwin, meanwhile, scored a season-high 28 points.
"We started the season hoping to win some games, but now the players are expecting to win," Coach Grant said. "The four wins we've had since losing those first five games have really helped our team, mentally speaking. I want to see this team continue to get better and better as the season goes. They control their own destiny from here on out."