The Georgia High School Association’s most recent realignment turned Region 2-6A into an absolute dogfight this season. Statesboro’s inclusion into an already potent mix of Brunswick High, Glynn Academy, Richmond Hill and Effingham County ensured there would be a talented team left out of the playoff picture.
Due to contributions from The News’ Coastal Georgia All-Area Boys Basketball MVP Kamori Towns and Coach of the Year Chris Turner, Brunswick High extended its streak of at least one playoff victory to 11 years.
Four years ago, our boys basketball MVP was cut from the team. He played junior varsity ball as a sophomore, and even as a junior, he played a relatively minor role.
Kamori Towns’ legacy at Brunswick High will be one of perseverance and determination. Combined with his unmatched versatility and explosive leaping ability, Towns’ game makes for an extremely valuable package.
“It’s always good to see a kid get rewarded for hard work, and I think that’s him,” Turner said of Towns. “He’s worked hard in the weight room, he’s worked on his game. He was out captain, voted on by the players.
“I thought he had a really good year.”
While impressive, Towns’ averages — 12 points, 8.4 rebounds and 2.5 steals per game — are far from the entire story. It was his the ability to do anything the Pirates needed in any given night.
If his teammates were struggling to find their own shot, Towns could drop 20 points. If they were in the flow offensively, Towns would dig down in the paint and earn them extra possessions.
“My mindset going into the game is just, ‘Do what I can to help my team win,’” Towns said. “If I have to rebound tonight, just rebound the ball. If I have to score the ball tonight, just score the ball. It all depends on what’s happening.”
And that adaptability wasn’t limited to the offensive end of the court.
At 6-foot-2, Towns displays quick feet on the perimeter and easy bounce when skying in to grab a defensive board or challenge an opponent at the rim from the weak side.
“My dad always told me, you can either get bullied or be the bully,” Towns said. “I can’t let nobody bully me inside, and I can’t let nobody bully me on the outside.
“I always wanted to guard the best player on the court, just to show what I really have. They might not know me, but after the game, they’re going to know me.”
Towns began laid the foundation for his breakout senior season in the playoffs the year prior when he had 10 of the team’s 49 points in Brunswick’s season-ending loss to North Cobb.
Moving in silence, Towns spent the offseason grinding with former BHS three-sport athlete Dominique Patterson and fine-tuning his game.
“(Patterson) was working me out in the mornings, waking up at 5 in the morning,” Towns said. “Hitting the college late at night, putting up shots. Waking up Saturday mornings, putting up shots. Going to my grandma’s neighborhood, putting up shots early in the morning, 7 o’clock, outside, putting up shots.
“Nobody really knew what I was doing because I kept it to myself.”
Freddy Towns and former News MVP Jaden Dunham were also members of Towns’ support system for on-court work, the latter of which stressed there would be a reward at the end of the road. It’s safe to say Towns’ hard work paid off.
In addition to all-region recognition and The News’ MVP award, Towns earned himself a scholarship that will allow him to continue his basketball career at East Georgia State College.
He’s not done yet though.
“I feel like I can be better than I am right now, so I’m going to just keep working, keep pushing, keep trying to be better, trying to get my body stronger, just trying to be the best player I can be,” Towns said. “I know I have a lot of potential, so I’m just trying to get to that.”
COACH OF THE YEAR
No matter how dire the situation may look for the Pirates, as long as Chris Turner is patrolling the sidelines, you can pencil Brunswick into a playoff spot.
Following a hot start that saw BHS win 12 of its first 13 games, the team hit a slump that saw the program drop six of nine.
Despite an unsettled roster through much of the campaign due to absent football players and coronavirus quarantines, Brunswick was able to turn it up a few notches when it mattered most.
“The kids really came together, started playing together, playing as one unit, and playing hard,” Turner said. “That’s sort of what helped us because it was not a smooth year. There were lots of ups and downs, a lot of adversity, and struggling in a tough region to even get into the playoffs.
“As a whole, I was proud of the way they were able to come together and be playing their best basketball at the right time.”
Brunswick finished the season 17-9, defeating Grovetown in overtime of its first-round matchup to return to the second round once more.
If it wasn’t for a heartbreaking overtime loss to Lee County in the second round after leading by three in the waining seconds of regulation, BHS may have been the program playing in the Final Four.
“We did go through some rough times, but we never quit,” Turner said. “We never give up. We continue to believe that we can win.”
The belief instilled into players by Turner is a large factor in turning the Pirates into one of the most consistently competitive basketball programs in the state over the past decade.
A defensive-minded coach with a desire to “get better every day that ends in a ‘Y’,” Turner is a staunch believer in the benefit of hard work in the weight room.
Although modesty prevents Turner from assigning himself much credit, he’s more than happy to divvy out praise to those around him who have helped him turn Brunswick into a force on the hardwood.
“I don’t really know how we’ve been able to do it,” Turner said. “I’ve got a lot of good help — Coach (Scott) Ginn is a real good coach. We had a real good year in the weight room. My philosophy is to outwork people.”
G — Quay Dickens, Glynn Academy, 15.2 ppg, 2.3 apg, 38 steals
G — Camarion Johnson, Brunswick High, 10 ppg, 5 rpg, 3.1 apg
F — Xavier Bean, Brunswick High, 12.3 ppg, 37% from 3
F — William Jobe, Frederica Academy, 13 ppg, 10.5 rpg, 5 bpg
C — Tyson Rooks, Glynn Academy, 11.4 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 31 steals
Izaiah Butler, forward, Brunswick High
Xavier Collier, guard, Frederica Academy
Tray Dickens, guard, Glynn Academy
Eli Fritchman, guard, Frederica Academy
Brandon Foster, guard, Brunswick High
D’Marion Hayes, guard, Glynn Academy
Max Hrdlicka, forward, Glynn Academy
Tyrease Jones, guard, Brunswick High
Jacob O’Connor, guard, Frederica Academy