By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Athlete of the Week: North Georgia Christian's Zach Pendley
Senior has Chargers off to 8-1 start
Placeholder Image

Honor roll

Cedric Harris, Johnson: Scored 10 points in a win over Jefferson on Friday and recorded a double-double (16 points, 10 rebounds) in a win over Lumpkin County on Saturday.

Matt Hollis, Johnson: Scored 23 points in a win over Jefferson on Friday and scored 15 in a win over Lumpkin County on Saturday.

Jasmine Jenkins, East Hall: Scored 17 points in a win over Flowery Branch on Friday and 15 points in a loss to Gainesville on Saturday.

Amber Johnson, West Hall: Scored 20 points in a win over West Hall on Tuesday.

Cole Morgan, Chestatee: Scored 30 points in a loss to Lakeview Academy on Friday and 18 points in a loss to Flowery Branch on Saturday.

Dre Pou, West Hall: Scored 18 points in a win over Lumpkin County on Tuesday and 18 points in a win over Habersham Central on Friday.

Peyton Robertson, Chestatee: Scored 17 points in a win over Flowery Branch on Friday and scored 15 points with seven rebounds in a win over Cedar Shoals on Tuesday.

Keodric Sadler, Gainesville: Scored 14 points and pulled down 16 rebounds in a win over North Oconee on Friday.

Deshaun Watson, Gainesville: Recorded a triple-double (10 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists) in a loss to East Hall on Friday and scored 11 points with eight rebounds in a win Tuesday.

Rebecca Webster, Gainesville: Scored nine points with 12 rebounds in a win over Franklin County on Tuesday and 12 points with two blocks in a win over East Hall on Saturday.

Having 10 seniors on a basketball team at any level is rare, but for coach David Roberts and the North Georgia Christian school it’s almost unheard of.

“Those 10 seniors are about 20 percent of our whole school,” Roberts said of the small private school located on Thompson Bridge Road. “I’m not sure if we’ve ever had that many seniors on any one team here.”

While the enrollment of the school is small, the talent on the boys basketball team is not, and is headlined by senior Zach Pendley.

Pendley scored 16 points and pulled down 14 rebounds in a 67-31 win over Creekside Christian on Thursday and followed that by adding 20 points and 16 rebounds in a 64-67 win over Covenant Christian on Friday.

For his efforts, Pendley is The Times Athlete of the Week.

At 6-foot-6 and 205 pounds, Pendley is well built to play the post area but the senior is also capable of stepping out to the corner or the wing and taking a jump shot. He often finds himself doing so in Robert’s dribble-motion offense. When the point guard gets penetration, Pendley occasionally steps out for a shot near the 3-point line.

According to Roberts, Pendley has the skill to play the point-forward position.

“He can move and handle the ball like a point guard,” Roberts said. “When he transferred here (from North Hall) he wanted to play more of the three guard, but I told him that since he was the tallest guy on the team, he’d have to play in the middle, and he’s been solid for us down there.”

That dependability was on display Monday as the Chargers (8-1) took the floor for practice.

In just a matter of moments during the team’s live run-through, Pendley proved his coach’s words right, making several swift, strong post passes, one so quick that it took a teammate by surprise and sailed out of bounds. On the next possession, Pendley stepped out to nail a jump shot from the left wing and then proceeded to display a post-up move on the next play that would make any coach proud.

As for the player himself, it doesn’t seem to matter where on the floor he plays, the 18-year-old just want to compete.

“I just love the adrenaline of it,” Pendley said. “I love the competition, wherever I am playing.”

That kind of attitude is abundant in the Chargers’ locker room and is one of the reasons that the team is off to such a strong start.

Roberts believes that, with the amount of experience the team has, North Georgia could compete at the Class A level in the Georgia High School Association this season.

“But only this season,” Roberts said. “We have a great group of experienced players this year, but the problem is sustainability. When you have such a small school, it’s hard to keep a constant stream of experienced players on the floor season after season.

“But as for this year, I’d say we could play with anyone in Region 8-A.”

While North Georgia is small and doesn’t play against area Class A teams, Pendley is still happy about his decision to transfer two years ago.

“I came here because you can take actual college classes while still in high school and get college credit for them,” Pendley said. “And I’m really happy that I did.”

The senior has taken college-level history, math, science and English during his time at North Georgia and claims to have enjoyed history the most.

“It was definitely my favorite,” Pendley said, but he’s unsure what he will study when he goes to college next year. He is also unsure if he will be playing basketball at the next level.

“I don’t even know if anyone is interested,” Pendley said. “My dad would know all of that. I don’t really pay attention to it.”

As for the remainder of this year, Pendley is looking forward to the challenge of helping North Georgia get back to the ICSGA championship game for the second straight year. The Chargers lost to the Victory Christian School in the Class 1-A championship game last season.

Pendley believes that the team is more than capable of returning to the title game.

“I know we can,” Pendley said. “We just have to keep working and we can get there.”

The road to the state tournament, which will be held Feb. 17-19, will continue tonight as the Chargers host Horizon Christian Academy at 8:30.

North Georgia is 2-1 against Horizon this season, and Pendley is confident that the Chargers will improve that record to 3-1.

“There’s no reason why we shouldn’t win,” Pendley said. “As long as we play hard and run our offense, we should win.”

Friends to Follow social media