A trio of former area basketball players seems to have adjusted quite well to the college game.
Newton graduates Stephen Croone (Furman), Jamon Hawkins (Georgia Southwestern State) and Shane Henry (Georgia Perimeter College) all have made contributions to their respective teams.
Croone, a freshman guard, recently handed out six assists and added nine points in the Paladins' first Southern Conference victory, a 69-65 win over Wofford that snapped a six-game losing streak. In 15 games, Croone leads the team in assists, averaging 4.5 per game, and is second in scoring (8.5)
Furman traveled to North Carolina to play Elon on Thursday.
Hawkins is having an excellent season at Georgia Southwestern, leading the Division II Hurricanes in scoring at 13.2 points per game and his 2.6 assists per game are good enough for third on the team through 14 games. In Southwestern's 58-57 loss to Montevallo on Wednesday, Hawkins scored 20 points on 7-of-11 shooting, including 4 of 6 from 3-point range. He also added four assists in playing all but one minute in the narrow conference defeat.
Hawkins, a 6-foot-2 junior, has taken his game to another level the last five games as the guard is averaging 19.8 points and shooting 59 percent (36 of 61) from the field.
Southwestern, 7-7 and 3-4 in the Peach Belt Conference, visits Flagler College on Saturday for a 3:30 p.m. tip.
Henry, a freshman, is one of GPC's top scorers at 8.9 points per game and leads the Jaguars in rebounding (6.6 per game). In a recent loss to Albany Tech, Henry led all starters with 10 points and added eight rebounds and three blocked shots in 29 minutes.
GPC (10-8) will host East Georgia College at 3 p.m. Saturday.
Lawrence learns the ropes in Nashville
NASHVILLE -- Brianna Lawrence, a freshman from Rockdale, isn't playing a ton of minutes (averaging just more than 15 minutes per game), but in a bench role is carrying over her defensive play from her time at Rockdale. In 12 games, Lawrence is tied for second on the team with eight blocked shots and has 11 steals.
Offensively, Lawrence, who as a junior in 2010-11 helped lead Rockdale to the state playoffs, is averaging just 2.3 points, though the 5-foot-7 guard has hit 5 of 14 from 3-point range, the third-most 3-pointers on the team.