Santa Jam at Lambert – Game Recaps
SUWANEE, GA – Lambert HS held its annual Santa Jam Dec 16, and the event always features attractive matchups from around the ATL-Metro.
We took in all four games on the docket, below we recap the results and critical performers.
By: Keith Agran
DACULA 61, NORTH FORSYTH 52
THE SKINNY: Dacula was without HC Byron Wilson and son 2024 forward Blake, as the status of both moving forward remains unknown, but on the floor the team looked crisp and focused and after a slow 1Q took charge the rest of the way.
DACULA NOTES: Blake Wilson’s physical presence would be missed in any lineup, but playing a more perimeter and ball-sharing style looked like a good fit for the Falcons as senior PG Jackson Sousa is still at the controls and added to his 17 pts his usual bevy of assists. The day’s bright spot was surely junior guard Jaden Mattison (pictured), who after a good summer with Georgia Flame out of Walton County looked the part of a burgeoning star with 23 points on some athletic moves to the hole and showed a sweet stroke from distance.
NOFO NOTES: Good to see 6-10 junior Cole Kirouac (12 pts) affect the game with his defense at the rim and on the boards, two aspects which at a a still wiry frame will only enhance the looks he receives as he gets set to enter his critical pre-senior year summer. He, along with core 2024’s Brayden Turner and Braden Mullis, are perhaps a year away from forging a deep path in a playoff run, although with senior PG Kal-El Delgadillo this is still a very solid team that has played a highly competitive schedule to this point.
DENMARK 49, CREEKVIEW 55
THE SKINNY: The Jack brother’s 2025 riser Luke and 2023 guard Seth get a ton of well-deserved attention, but it was spunky 2025 PG Griffin Latimer and 2024 SG Will Kline who led the way.
DENMARK NOTES: The Danes had trouble getting anyone else going other than big man Keinan McFarlande (20 pts), as different lineup combos couldn’t get untracked with junior forward Joseph Brown recently leaving school to attend TD Prep, and it appeared to remove some critical athleticism and versatility from the 3-spot.
CREEKVIEW NOTES: Latimer and Kline (pictured) combined for 28 pts with five 3s between them, and key shots at key junctures were the calling card for both all game. Latimer is all of 5-7 out there, but plays with a combo of reckless abandon and high IQ dissection, seemingly at odds would those normally be but he continues to impress after a freshman campaign last year where he did much of the same. Kline looks like he has the “big shot” gene, a willingness to take over and launch either when the shot clock is running down or his Grizz are staving off a charge from the opponent.
CAMBRIDGE 50, LAMBERT 51
THE SKINNY: Both squads were without some key pieces, but it was still an entertaining affair with the Horns able to do just enough in the 4Q to hold on.
CAMBRIDGE NOTES: The Bears impressed this scout to be frank, even without 2024 guard Owen Edwards, who adds athleticism and versatility to the backcourt rotation, and 6-3 senior Will Petit. But they got great activity up front and on the glass from Mason Lawrence (12 pts), and 2024’s Connor Scott (five 3s), Chase Baccala as well as senior guard Will Taylor (9 pts) were calm and cool. Won’t shock me at all to see this team when fully healthy be among the four state slots out of 5A-Region 6.
LAMBERT NOTES: There aren’t too many teams in the ATL-Metro that can absorb losing 3 starters on a given night, but kudos to the Horns for finding a way minus senior PG James Tyre, electric sophomore SG Cam Bland and rising freshman big man Will Dopfer. Senior Niko Wilson has in the past posted some monster scoring nights when he’s had to in those type of funky lineup scenarios, and he had to come up big once again, netting 13 of his 15 in the 2H vs the Bears. But the victory likely would not have been possible without the scalding hot shooting of junior gunner Stephen Hall, who came out of nowhere seemingly to knock down six 3s on the night and finish with a huge 23 pts.
LANIER 58, MILL CREEK 70
THE SKINNY: The Hawks weathered some Longhorn runs and have the look of a sleeper team in 7A.
LANIER NOTES: Lanier remains an immensely talented bunch with a balanced lineup that can hurt you from multiple spots. Against Mill Creek, we saw some of the intriguing versatility that senior Osmar Garcia brings, as the former Miami-product can be both a slick ballhandler with terrific vision, as well as a bullish 4-man who at 6-5 can activate a beast-mode around the basket that gets him to the line often. It seems to me with top juniors Jayce Nathaniel up front at PF and Boogie Morgan running the show that this team will be playing its best ball in early February just in time for the Region tournament.
MILL CREEK NOTES: Fully integrated with its terrific football components after a run to the 7A gridiron championship, this team will only get more and more lethal as under new HC Matt Welch it’s a well-organized and crisp group. Junior guard Trajen Greco’s (20 pts) natural gifts were on full display, as less than a week removed from a football championship he was on the floor making big shots and looking the part of a confident and assured floor leader. Senior forward Nate Eroh has made huge strides under Welch, slowing his clock down and using his own incredible physical gifts to be a force at 6-5 up and down the floor. Add to that senior 6-7 bruiser Stephen Akwiwu (pictured), who clears space and powers in buckets around the goal, and it’s a base of a deep crew from which this team can potentially go far in 7A, especially with some home cooking if they secure a region high seed and get the coin toss.
Keith Agran has lived in Georgia since 2011 and joined OTR as a National Evaluator in 2021. He previously scouted for Prep Hoops dating back to 2019, and also spent 3 years as a sports writer at two newspapers in New Jersey. After a championship-coaching background on the HS-level also in NJ, he accepted the Girl’s Basketball Head Coaching position in May 2022 at Mt Bethel Christian Academy and now balances scouting and coaching still with a keen eye on talent around the region. You can reach him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @BracketSage.