0

Witherspoon, Berkmar demolish Chattahoochee.

LILBURN - Arriving at 6:20 a.m., Berkmar's Wesley Witherspoon launched 300 shots from behind the 3-point arc before school Tuesday.

The extra practice definitely paid off Tuesday night and that may just by the start.

"I want to get used to seeing him make those shots," Berkmar coach Tommy McWhorter.

Already-impressed college coaches certainly wouldn't mind, either.

Witherspoon - one of the top unsigned college basketball prospects in the nation - made all four of his 3-point attempts and turned in his normal outstanding all-around game as the Patriots crushed visiting Chattahoochee 84-41 in a nonregion game.

The 6-foot-8 small forward had 22 points, five rebounds, four assists, and three steals although going to the bench for good late in the third quarter.

Witherspoon had 10 points in the first quarter and 17 by halftime. He missed just three shots, going 9-for-12 in his limited playing time. Included were two crowd-pleasing dunks.

"He's just a great player all-around and he wants to keep getting better," McWhorter said.

The extra work showed that and Berkmar is keeping pace with its star player in the improvement department.

The Patriots - just 10-16 last season - are 4-1 and determined to contend for the Region 8-AAAAA championship, where Meadowcreek and Parkview were the preseason favorites.

Chattahoochee (0-6) wasn't much of a test, but Berkmar should be battle tested before the start of region play.

The Patriots, who have lost only to Memphis power Ridgeway in a Tennessee tournament, play defending Class AAAA state champion Tucker on Dec. 15 and head to the prestigious King of the Blue Grass tournament in Kentucky after Christmas.

"I want to challenge them," McWhorter said. "I don't see why we can't be one of the best teams in the state."

Despite his dominant performance, Witherspoon was hardly a one-man show against Chattahoochee.

De'marion Gordon, a transfer from South Cobb, had 14 points - 11 coming in the first half. Carlos Powell, T.J. Smith and Curley Williams each scored 10.

Berkmar jumped to a 16-2 lead, led 45-20 at halftime and the fourth quarter was shortened to six minutes because the Patriots were ahead 67-34.

The girls game was only a little closer as Berkmar won 69-46 to improve to 5-1. Chattahoochee is 2-4.

The Patriots, a preseason Top 10 team, led 17-4 after a quarter. The Cougars closed to 34-26 at halftime, but Berkmar then blew the game wide open with a 22-4 run to start the third quarter.

Gabby Harvey scored 19 points, while Brittany McDonald had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds and Tyra Smith just missed with 14 points and nine assists. Mariah Richardson scored 15 and freshman Ka'Vonne Towns came off the bench for nine points.

The Berkmar girls made the state tournament for the first time since 1976 last season, finishing 22-7. Now both the boys and girls teams appear headed to the postseason.

While the boys are playing in the King of the Blue Grass tournament in Kentucky after Christmas, the girls will be competing in the Powerade event at North Gwinnett.

Region play begins Jan. 4 with games at Shiloh.

Tamara Brooks is in her first season as girls coach, while McWhorter is in just his second with the boys.

"I don't think I ever really got to know my team last year," said McWhorter, who formerly coached at South Cobb. "Now I do, and I like what I see so far."