Rivalry renewed: Miller Grove-SW DeKalb set to clash on the hardwood

Shaq Goodwin and Jordan Price of Southwest DeKalb hope to knock off Miller Grove's Tony Parker and Brandon Morris in Class AAAA action this winter. Ryan Gibson/ESPNHS

It was pretty easy for us to track down the stars of the Miller Grove and Southwest DeKalb basketball teams for the cover of the ESPNHS Hoops Issue last month.

It won’t be as simple for fans to find a ticket to see these two nationally ranked squads on the court tonight.

The gym is expected to be packed when state champ Miller Grove (No. 2 in the POWERADE FAB 50) travels to Southwest DeKalb (No. 39) for the first of two highly anticipated matchups between the two Class AAAA squads. The cross-town rivals played three times last year with Miller Grove claiming both regular season contests and Southwest DeKalb later handing the Wolverines their lone defeat of the season during the regional playoffs.

Miller Grove has gotten off to a fast start this season behind National Player of the Year candidate Tony Parker and Georgia commit Brandon Morris. The emergence of point guard Christian Houston has also been key to the Wolverines' 2-0 start. Parker recorded a monster game with 26 points and 18 boards in a win over Redan, and Morris came up a few dimes short of a triple double (18 points, 13 boards, six assists) against Mays days later.

“Our effort and energy has been there early,” said Miller Grove head coach Sharman White. “We just need to improve our defense. Southwest will offer our defense a great test and challenge our defense.”

Parker echoes his coach’s desire for better defensive play and was also quick to note the benefits of playing well against another top team early in the winter.

“It’s at their home floor and they’re going to play hard,” he said. “A win would help us out a lot. It would give us the stripes we need going into the big Christmas tournaments.”

Southwest DeKalb has posted a 3-1 record so far and as expected, seniors Shaq Goodwin (Memphis) and Jordan Price (Auburn) have been paramount to the team’s success. Price, a smooth shooter and exceptional scorer, is dropping 25 points a contest, while Goodwin has solidified the scoring on the inside and wreaked havoc on the boards. A loss to Wheeler last week served as a wake-up call for the squad, which is now focused on upsetting the state’s top team and playing more consistently.

“Right now they are the best team in the state but if we beat them that would put us up there,” said Price. “We’ve been looking forward to this game since the last time we played them.”

It may be an early season meeting, but this game has major regional implications. And as always, when Miller Grove and Southwest DeKalb meet, bragging rights will be on the line.

“A lot of high-profile guys will be on the floor tonight,” White said. This is good for Georgia basketball.”

Note: The game will be streamed live on Courtcred.com.

David Auguste is an associate editor for ESPNHS and ESPNHIGHSCHOOL.com. Follow him on Twitter @ESPNHSAuguste or email him at David.Auguste@espn.com.