Aiken County schools gear up for exciting basketball season

Published: Nov. 8, 2023 at 11:22 PM EST
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AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - Before we know it, basketball season will be tipping off across the two states.

On Wednesday, 10 of our local South Carolina teams were all under one roof for the Annual Aiken County Basketball Media Day.

“I plan on us being better, that what we’re used to. We’re not just a football school. We can play basketball too,” said Aiden Stroman with the Wagener-Salley boys’ basketball team.

What do the Aiken, South Aiken, North Augusta, Midland Valley, Silver Bluff, and Wagener-Salley basketball teams all have in common? They can’t wait for the new season to tip off.

Ahminah Taylor with the SILVER Bluff girls’ basketball team said: “I want people to bring all of their force to me. Like, play me like I’m one of the best, like, come at me strong. I don’t want to have an easy game.”

There are plenty of new faces in new places to start the season, including senior and East Carolina signee LaDontae Felton, who transferred from Aiken to South Aiken this summer.

“I didn’t know our crosstown rivals could just flip the switch just like that, and just like be obsessed with you. So, it’s a great change and I’m loving it,” said Felton.

After going through the regular season undefeated last year, the North Augusta boys’ team came up short in the playoffs. They’re hoping to learn from last year’s shortcomings.

Damario Saxon, North Augusta boys’ basketball, said: “Not to take everything lightly and be more focused and locked in.”

Cam Hallingquest, North Augusta boys basketball, said: “We’ve been working on getting stronger, getting better and things that we do a lot, and just getting better as a team, getting our chemistry back right.”

Many players are stepping up into larger roles for their teams this season.

Makya Bing with the Silver Bluff girls’ basketball team said: “This is our last year, so it’s our time to shine. Our time to prove to everybody what we haven’t been showing in the past.”

The teams that didn’t perform to their expectations a year ago have plans on flipping the script this time around. .

Joey Tracey with the Aiken boys’ basketball team said: “As a team, we all improved because we know we have a chip on our shoulders this year, and we’re just ready to play.”

South Aike Girls’ Basketball Head Coach Russell Felton said: “I’m returning 10 players, all 10 from last year. So, the majority of those didn’t even have varsity experience at all last year. So, this year is going to be rewarding, I can promise you that.”

All of the teams on the girls’ side will be looking to take the top spot away from the reigning class 4A state champion North Augusta Lady Jackets, who are coming off their fifth state title in the last seven seasons. North Augusta says they’re going to do what they have to do to protect their crown.

“It’s been tough like it’s always been. He doesn’t take it easy on us, just because we won. He still wants us to continue to get better,” said Celena Grant, North Augusta girls’ basketball.

Kenedi Wright, North Augusta girls’ basketball, said: “Just because we won a state championship doesn’t mean that we can relax and take days off. We’ve still got to come to practice and be able to work every day.”