Meadowcreek takes on N.C. power right before region tourney

Meadowcreek boys basketball coach Billy Davis made no secret he wanted to upgrade his team's non-Region 8-AAAAA schedule to better prepare it for this year's postseason.

After five such previous tests, the Mustangs' last one before the final exams of the region and state tournaments is perhaps their most stern as they travel to Arden, N.C., just outside Asheville today at 5 p.m. to take on North Carolina powerhouse, The Christ School.

"(The non-region schedule) is really helping get this team ready for the postseason," Davis said. "This is why we scheduled all these great teams. It will be a great contest for us right before the region tournament."

The host Greenies (28-1) come into the game carrying national rankings of No. 17 by USA Today, No. 15 by Rivals Hoops 100, No. 14 in ESPN's Fab 50 and No. 8 in Maxpreps' Xcellent 25.

Their only loss of the year came to national power Findlay Prep of Nevada, and they also boast a 16-point victory over Quality Education Academy, which Class AAAAA top-ranked Norcross defeated 64-62 recently in the Marriott Invitational.

The Christ School also features three college-bound seniors -- 6-foot South Carolina-bound guard Eric Smith and a pair of Elon signees in 6-8 wing Sebastian Koch and 6-9 post Lucas Troutman -- as well as 7-0 junior Marshall Plumlee, the brother of Duke posts Miles and Mason Plumlee.

"They're really good and they're pretty big," Davis said. "But it was the same when we played (at the Kingdom of the Sun Tournament) in Florida (over the holidays). We played some pretty big teams down there. We just have to use our speed to beat them to the spots and box them out."

The 10th-ranked Mustangs (20-3) have fared well in their previous non-region games this season with a 6-2 record, including a 4-1 mark against teams from outside of Georgia.

The lone out-of-state loss came in the first round of the Kingdom of the Sun Tournament against East Ridge of Clermont, Fla., and Meadowcreek has won 16 straight games since.

The addition of Berkmar transfer Shaquille Morris, who has averaged 15 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.6 assists since becoming eligible in January, has provided a big boost to an already solid lineup that includes 6-5 post Lavon Hooks (14.9 ppg, 10.8 rpg, 2.0 apg), 6-6 wing Terrance Glass (16.0 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 2.2 apg) and guards John Ruff (14.6 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 3.7 apg) and Aaron Robinson (8.0 ppg, 7.8 apg).

"(Morris) has given us a good three-guard combination," Davis said. "He's a good penetrator and good outside shooter. He's still learning defensively, but once he gets that down, he's going to be really good. He gives more combinations we can use."