HOOPS UPDATE: Savannah’s Girls’ and Boys’ Summer Basketball Leagues Still Sizzling

By Jeff Moeller/Special to the Prep Sports Report | June 13, 2024

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Three summers ago, HV Jenkins head girls' basketball coach Brianna Booker thought it would be a good time to launch a basketball league. The school had a new gym in the making, and Booker believed it would be a perfect complement to keep a flourishing game in a Savannah gym.
Twenty-nine years ago, legendary Savannah High boys' basketball coach Tim Jordan had the same idea and began a summer staple in the city.
It's safe to say that summer girls' and boys' basketball in Savannah has made weeknights, except for Friday, in June, some memorable ones, as both outlets begin to wind down their league in the final two weeks before placing the game back on the shelf for a stretch.

For Booker, the "Above the Rim" summer league has proved to be a valuable, multi-faceted outlet.

Booker stated Beach, Groves, St. Vincent's Academy, Savannah Country Day School, Camden County, Bryan, Effingham, South Effingham, Johnson, New Hempstead, and Savannah Christian have been competing among the four or five games every Tuesday since June 4 and beginning at 3 p.m.

"Playing against local talent has really helped everyone prepare for the season," she said. "It gives teams an opportunity to play here instead of traveling. Not all the teams have the funds to travel during the summer, and we know there are a lot of girls who play AAU. They're having fun and getting better.
"You can see how the team chemistry is beginning to develop. This is a good outlet where teams don't have to spend a lot of money, and they get very competitive games.

After the 2021-22 season, Jordan stepped down and handed the reins over to assistant and former Armstrong standout George Brown, who has kept the summer league headed in the right direction.
Brown stated the schedule has been somewhat modified this summer due to air conditioner maintenance, but the field of Beach, Jenkins, Johnson, Savannah Country Day, Woodville, St. Andrew's, Groves, Woodville, and New Hempstead, South Effingham, haven't been short on talent and desire. Orlando's South Sumpter played both Monday and Tuesday nights as part of their Northern swing this summer.

The league should resume its regular schedule next week, with games beginning at 3 p.m.

Among the talent showcased this summer has been Savannah High's Demontae Brown, Deshawn Davis, Chance Hendricks, and Shone Ruth; Johnson's Favion Kirkwood and Quentin James; St. Andrew's Zayden Edwards; Groves Ty Chisholm; Woodville's Jonathan Pickering; and Savannah Country Day's Stone Wells. 

Brown realizes how the league can easily be interpreted as an extension of the season.

"We have more than a few teams who went pretty deep into the postseason," said Brown. "These games have been very competitive and they come to play every night. We had some buzzer beaters lately. Every game really has been competitive." 

Even after some solid weeks of basketball,  Brown keeps everything in perspective.

"This is a good month of basketball for them," he said. "But kids need to be kids. A lot of them will start to get ready for football, and they should be concentrating on other things as well.

"Still, the league gives us a good indication of what's ahead for the winter."

PHOTO CREDIT: Savannah High Basketball and HV Jenkins Girls Basketball


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The "Coach" Karl DeMasi has been teaching and coaching for the past 35 years on all levels of academia and athletics. One of his hobbies has been writing, announcing and talking about sports. DeMasi has been involved in the Savannah Area sports scene since 1995, and he created the high school magazine "The Prep Sports Report" in 2000. In 2010, the "Coach" started broadcasting The Karl DeMasi Sports Report. He's still going strong, broadcasting on Facebook live and Twitter live every Saturday morning. You gotta love it!

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