Saturday, March 14, 2009


The Class A-AAA state championship games were held at the Macon Centreplex on Saturday. Here’s who came out on top:

The Wesleyan girls started things off by successfully defending their 2008 state title, which they won in Class 2A. The championship—won over Savannah Country Day—in the state’s smallest classification was the program’s fifth overall (all since 2002). The game capped off a magnificent prep basketball career for Wesleyan's Anne Marie Armstrong, who will continue playing basketball at the University of Georgia next season. In the boys Class A game, Whitefield Academy won its second state title under head coach Tyrone Johnson, defeating Turner County in the final by the score of 69-53.

In Class 2A, Buford completed an impressive season by cruising past Model, who was without its leading scorer on the day. The 66-35 victory gave Buford its first-ever state title. It was no first for Dublin in the boys game, however; the Fighting Irish won a Class 2A title back in 2006. This year’s banner comes courtesy of a 79-64 win over Blessed Trinity, which was making its first appearance in the championship game.

The action in Class 3A concluded the high school basketball season, and the final two games of the year did not disappoint. Carrollton came into the girls title game with a mission, having lost in the championship game last season. The Lady Trojans dispatched an upstart Lakeview-Ft. Oglethorpe team by the score of 51-31. And in the season’s very last game, Naismith Award-winner Derrick Favors and his South Atlanta Hornets finally got their state championship, pulling away late from a gritty Westover team and winning, 81-62.

Thanks for staying with Score Atlanta and Georgia Public Broadcasting throughout the state playoffs! 

High fives all around for the South Atlanta Hornets

Final South Atlanta 81,Westover 62

The South Atlanta Hornets win the 2009 boys 3A state championship with a decisive victory over the Westover Patriots. It was the perfect end to a season led by the best high school player in the country. In his last high school game, Derrick Favors had 38 points, 18 rebounds, and 4 blocks. Coach Reddick's Hornets were certainly deserving of the trophy.

The end is in sight

With four minutes left, South Atlanta leads Westover 72-50.

Rebound and dunk for Favors

Favors just rebounded the ball over three Patriots and dunked. He drew a foul as well. He made his free throw to expand the Hornets lead to 61-42 with 7:00 minutes left in the game.

South Atlanta closes quarter on a run

56-42, South Atlanta is in front entering the fourth quarter.

No quit in Westover

Westover has cut the South Atlanta lead to 46-38 with 2:30 left in the third.

Malone's first points

Andre Malone has scored his first points of the game with 4:45 left in the third quarter. South Atlanta 46 Westover 33

Westover within ten

Westover has cut the lead to single digits once again 42-33 at the 5:30 mark in the third.

First half analysis

Westover has played exceptionally well and even cut the lead to six late in the second quarter. The energized Patriots have created havoc for South Atlanta, most notably Andre Malone who has been a non-factor to this point. Much of Malone's problems can be attributed to the outstanding defense of sophmore gaurd Rashad Green. Though he is giving up four inches of height, his quickness has kept Malone from being able to drive to the basket. Favors and Nicholas Watkins led the way for South Atlanta's offense in the first half.

Well played half

At halftime, South Atlanta leads Westover 38-27.

Patriots on run

The Patriots have cut the Hornets lead to nine. 34-25 with 2:00 left in the half

Too much fire power for South Atlanta

The Hornets are expanding the lead as Favors sits on the bench with four minutes left in the second quarter. Hornets 34 Patriots 18

Comfortable but not typical South Atlanta dominance

South Atlanta leads Westover 23-13 after one. The quarter ended with a Favors open court dunk and a three for Rodrick Pitts. Pitts went 2 for 2 from downtown in the first quarter. His shots couldn't have been more timely. They have really given South Atlanta a boost.

Westover plays tough

After consecutive turnovers, Westover converts four foul shots to cut the lead to 13-6 with 3:00 minutes left in the first.

The dunk and the foul

Derrick Favors just threw down a monster jam and finished the three point play after he was fouled. Hornets 13 patriots 2- 3:30 left in the first quarter

South Atlanta starts to pull away

Four minutes left in the first, Hornets lead 11-2.

South Atlanta trying to find groove

Two minutes into the game and South Atlanta is winning 2-0. The patriots have found grittiness on defense that Gainesville could not solve and now its giving the Hornets trouble.

Boys 3A Finals Preview

Time to see if South Atlanta can close out a season in which they have dominated their 3A opponents. Westover would love nothing more than to shock the highly favored Hornets.

South Atlanta

South Atlanta reached the finals in dominant fashion. The Hornets average margin of victory in their previous 2008-2009 state tournament games was a little over 35 points. In the first two games, South Atlanta won by 41 and 43 points. Make no mistake about it, all eyes are on senior forward Derrick Favors. Recently awarded the prestigious Naismith Award given to the top High School hoopster in the country, there would be no better way for Favors to go out than to lead his team to a state title. Players like Andre Malone are an added threat on offense and defense for the South Atlanta attack.


Westover enters the game with three defeats in 3A on the season at the hands of Monroe, Cairo, and Crisp. Though they are giving up size to South Atlanta, the Patriots are tenacious. They have already avenged one of those regular season losses by beating Monroe in tournament play. Coming off a win against Gainsville, in which Westover was considered the underdog as well. The team was able to dig deep and hustle their way to a close win. Westover will surely look to Rashad Green and Greg Green to lead the way in their bid for another upset.

Carrollton uses second half to blow by Lakeview

The game was incredibly close at halftime. With a one point lead, the game looked like it would be hard fought by both sides till the end. Turns out, it was just the opposite. The Lady Warriors came out flat and the Lady Trojans came out hot. They limited Lakeview to only seven second half points in an emotional 20 point victory. Final score: Carrollton 51, Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe 31

No chance for Lady Warriors

Carrollton is cruising 47-29 with 2:20 left in the game.

Carrollton pours it on

It's a time out with 5:28 left in the game. Kelsie Billings is continuing to play strong underneath by getting rebounds and easy putbacks. Cambre Winters just made a three to expand the Lady Trojans lead to 41-27.

Carrollton playing with confidence

At the end of three, Carrollton owned the quarter and has built a 10 point lead. Feeding off of good defense, Carrollton finished the quarter strong with four unanswered points by Kelsi Billings. The Lady Trojans lead 34-24.

Carrollton shutting down Weaver

With 3:49 left in the third quarter, Boykins sinks two free throws for Carrollton to help her team take a 28-24 lead. Their biggest lead of the night.

At halftime: no clear frontrunner

In easily the closest matchup of the night the Lakeview-Ft. Oglethorpe Lady Warriors are beating the Lady Trojans of Carrollton 24-23 at the half. After Lakeview went up 24-21 with 14 seconds left in the second quarter, Carrollton drove down court and converted a layup in the lane to beat the buzzer. No matter how hard Lakeview tries to distance themselves from Carrollton, the Lady Trojans don't seem to want to go away. It looks like its going to be tough defense that decides this one. If the first half is any indication, this game is going down to the wire.

Level of play heating up

After a shaky start, buckets are starting to fall on both ends. Lakeview looking to make a run going into halftime. Lady Warriors 20 Lady Trojans 21 1:09 to go.

Carrollton chipping away

Carrollton ties it up with a layup. After an answer by Lakeview at the other end. Carrollton converts a three pointer to take their first lead of the night. Carrollton 17 Lakeview 16 with 3:16 left in the second quarter.

Carrollton finishes quarter strong

The Lady Trojans are trying to answer with the aggressive play of Karisma Boykins. Carrollton has found success when she drives the lane and finishes or dishes to center Kelsi Billings. End of first quarter Lakeview 12 Carrollton 9

Gaurds lead the way for Lady Warriors

At the two minute mark, McKenzie and Weaver have scored all 9 for the Lady Warriors. They lead 9-4.

Both teams try to establish themselves

Half way through quarter 1 and neither team has established a clear dominance. Carrollton is tightening up their defense and Lakeview is trying to set the tempo with their gaurd play. The score is 6-2 in favor of Lakeview.

Lakeview strikes first

Turnovers on first two trips down the floor. Lakeview takes the lead on a lay-up by gaurd Ashley McKenzie

Girls 3A Finals Preview

It's about five minutes until tip-off of the 2009 Girls 3A state championship game from the Macon Centreplex. Here's a preview of the two teams going head to head.

Carrollton enters the finals after a 17 point win over Rutland in the final four. A #2 seed, credit the Lady Trojans for advancing to the final game. They have certainly taken a wild road en route; Lakeview will be the first 1 seed the Lady Trojans have faced in the tournament this year.

With the February 21 44-38 victory over Carrollton still in recent memory, the Lady Warriors hope to duplicate the same success in this years final. The Lady Warriors have a terrific point gaurd in Kayla Weaver (committed to Kennesaw State).

Friday, March 13, 2009

That'll do it for our fourth and final game of the evening. The Wheeler Wildcats are state champs of AAAAA after a 73-53 win over the Milton Eagles.

Regarding Milton, get used to seeing them going deep into the tournament. Sophomore Julian Royal is already a terror and he's just going to get bigger and stronger as he grows into his body. Classmates Dai-Jon Parker and Shannon Stewart are also big timers, and this experience will only help them. That's a team that we'll be hearing quite a bit from over the next two seasons.

Wheeler are the champs, and no one comes close to them this year. They're just too big and talented for teams to match up with. And they play with a poise that you don't often see from a high school team. When all was said and done, I don't think there is any doubt that they are the top team in all classifications. Congrats to the Wildcats on getting that ring.

I hope you've enjoyed our coverage this evening. From all of us at Score, have a great night, and congratulations to all the school's that participated tonight.

Showtime for Wheeler

Heck of an alley-oop from Howell to Stewart to send the crowd into a frenzy and ice it. 65-43 to Wheeler with 3:36 to play.

All but over..

Howell with the up-and-under layup ad its 62-41 with 4:26 left. Looks like the favorites will be taking home the title.

Wheeler pulling away

Freshman Charles Mitchell comes up with a putback dunk, and Jerome with the reverse lay up soon after to extend the lead to 60-41.

Early going

Big time dunk from Stewart less than a minute into the fourth. But Eric White responds off the bench with a layup to keep the Eagles within 12.

End of three

Wheeler on top 47-33.

Experience has been key in this game. While Milton have been able to keep up with WHS' athleticism and size, they have made mistakes in areas where they normally excel. They've missed a ton of free throws and easy shots.

As for Wheeler, they just need to maintain this intensity and execution for another five minutes or so, and they should be going home with a state championship as a reward.
Royal just came up with an unreal block of Howell, who was trying to take off for a jam from just inside the free throw line. Both of them were well above the rim on that one.

Meanwhile, Wheeler are pulling away methodically. Jerome just finished off a three-point play to give them a 45-31 lead with 1:48 left in the quarter
Now Stewart with the putback after Royal made a nice block on Phil Taylor. It's 42-29 Wheeler and Milton appear to be losing control. 2 minutes left in the third.
Wheeler back up 38-29 after a smooth baseline jumper from Stewart. Nolte continues to struggle, turning the ball over on the following possesion and commits a foul in frustration. Eric Schuelke entered the game in his place.

Both teams showing why they're here

You've got to hand it to both of these teams. Milton are refusing to let Wheeler go away. But every time they make a run, the 'Cats respond. Karl Cochran just got fouled hard going to the cup after the Eagles pulled within five and cooly sank both FT's.

Milton not going away

Royal with yet another three for Milton and then a big block on D. Then Shannon Scott drains a nice mid range j to close the gap to 31-25 with 6 minutes to go.

Interesting move

Coach Boyd just took a timeout only 40 seconds into the quarter. You can see why, Nolte just totally missed another three-pointer and they nearly turned the ball over after getting the board. It looks like they've got some jitters to open up the half and Boyd wants to settle his guys down.

Looks like it worked, as Royal just drained a trey out of the timeout.

Third quarter starts

We're underway in teh third, Wheeler open it up with a turnover as an entry pass goes right through Howell's hands.

Halftime thoughts

It's been an interesting game so far in the finale from Gwinnett Arena. The Wheeler Wildcats currently lead the Milton Eagle 29-18 at the break.

It was a tale of two quarters in the first half. Milton grabbed some early momentum by hanging around and energizing the crowd by taking the lead several times early. But Wheeler poured it on in the 2nd quarter, storming to an 11 point halftime lead. Interestingly, they did so without playing their best basketball. The 'Cats scored just two points in the final three minutes after widening the gap beforehand. Stewart and Howell missed several open jumpers and they turned the ball over a multitude of times. If they had executed, this lead could be much larger.

As for Milton, they fell apart in the second quarter. Freshman Evan Nolte has looked the part so far (I can't say I blame him, it can't be easy to play in this atmosphere as a frosh), missing three open treys and a pair of free throws. Julian Royal has had a tough go of it so far, with the size of Howell and Stewart clearly bothering him. For an inexperienced team playing on this big stage for the first time (and it's the first of many times they will do that), it's going to be tough to get back into this game.

We're three minutes away from the second half, see you then!


29-18 Wheeler lead at the break.

Parker hit one of two from the stripe after the foul, and Milton failed to convert on their final possession, with T.J. Williams' contested shot in the lane coming up short. Turns out that intentional foul against Stewart didn't hurt WHS too much after all.

Royal leads the way for Milton with 6 points. Stewart has 9 for Wheeler, and Howell has 8.

I'll be back with some halftime thoughts in just a moment.

At the break...

A big moment in this game, as Ari Stewart was just whistled for an intentional foul off the ball with 14 seconds to play. Trailing 29-17, Milton have a chance to really close this gap with two shots and the ball.

Another timeout

27-14 now and Milton want another timeout. Coach Boyd is trying to get his team to relax in the huddle. 3:27 til half.

Composure is key

Milton need to settle down here. After looking fairly calm in the first quarter, they have been sloppy in this quarter and look to be pressing (Nolte just turned the ball over at half court after trying to do too much off the dribble). They can't afford to play like that for much longer, or Wheeler will all but end this one by half.

Wheeler making their run

The Wildcats have just been too big and strong in the post, Howell converted another three-point play for the 'Cats, and Stewart just matched him with a three-point play opportunity of his own (although he missed the FT). 25-14 Wheeler leads with 5:00 to go in the half.

My goodness...

A MASSIVE swat by Dai-Jon Parker just stopped a Wheeler break. But Nolte couldn't convert on the other end and Stewart responded with a three-point play. 18-10, Wheeler.

Wildcats start quarter strong

A quick 4-0 run to start of the quarter for Wheeler, and Milton want a timeout. 15-10 to the Wildcats.

The key for the Eagles is just to hang around until halftime, and then make their run in the final two quarters.

First quarter in thebooks

11-10 Wheeler after one.

Wheeler are giving Milton the perimeter shot. But Milton have made them pay a few times behind some nice shots from Parker and Nolte. I'm really impressed with how relaxed Milton look, this seems like just another game for a team that starts three sophomores and a freshman.

As for Wheeler, they can't afford to be worried that the Eagles are right there with them. We've seen a few upsets in this tournament because the favorite have lost composure with a pesky underdog nipping at their heels. But while Milton may be the "underdogs" here, they have the talent to turn this into their type of game and grab a nice lead heading into the half.

Cool, calm, and collected

Freshman Evan Nolte showing some poise to give MHS the lead right back witha three from the corner. But Howell responds with a mid-range jumper to put Wheeler back on top 11-10 with 2:30 left in the quarter.

I can hardly keep up

This game is just being played at a blistering pace. Stewart just threw down a dunk to tie it up for Wheeler at 7. Then Jerome gives them the lead on their next possession.

Fast and furious

It's 7-5 Milton, and this game has been played at an absolutely breathtaking speed. I'm impressed with the Eagles, who came out looking confident despite facing a team with more talent and far more experience in Wheeler. Parker cooly drained a three from the corner moments ago like he'd been in a game of this magnitude many times before.
Scott with the steal and reverse layup on the break in front of Howell to open the scoring. But Wheeler come right back to tie it up at 2.

Boys game underway

Two turnovers in the opening minutes for both teams.

But first...

Some post game thoughts from the girls game...

Marietta had a great season, finishing the year at 25-7 and winning a very tough region in 5-AAAAA. This has to hurt now, but they can look back on this year and be very proud. Having a star like McCall can sometimes have a negative impact on the team with regards to team chemistry and cohesion on the floor, that wasn't the case for the Blue Devils. Echols and White were fantastic all year serving as floor generals, and they made things easier for a player like McCall. You look down that roster and you realize they are about the sum of their parts, and not just their star.

But they ran into a buzzsaw tonight. The Raiders just accepted their state championship trophy, and you have to wonder if there was ever a doubt that they would be holding it tonight after that performance. As I mentioned earlier, they were here last year but experienced a much different result. Last year they looked rattled in the blowout loss to Stephenson. They were calm and confident this time around, and Marietta never looked a threat. Defensively they were active all night long, shutting down McCall and frustrating her from the opening tip. Offensively, Alisha Andrews wowed the crowd with some fantastic dribbling skills and passes, while Paige and Fambro provided a lot of the scoring. They put on an absolutely show this evening.

The scary thing is that they will only be better next year. Everyone but Brunson and Fambro return for them. While they will miss Fambro's scoring presence off the bench and Brunson's toughness down low, they will return their key cogs in Andrews, Paige, Dalrymple, Aneesah Daniels (who bothered McCall all night), and more. I don't want to get to far ahead of myself, but we could be talking about another Gwinnett Arena appearance next year from them? And furthermore, is it possible they could go undefeated yet again in 2009-10?

A nice moment as well after the game, as Tucker Head Coach James Hartry came down to the floor to embrace and congratulate RHS head coach Rhonda Malone. It's nice to see that kind of unity amongst the Dekalb Co. head coaches. 

Wheeler-Milton tip is coming in just a few moments.

But first...

Some post game thoughts from the girls game...

Marietta had a great season, finishing the year at 25-7 and winning a very tough region in 5-AAAAA. This has to hurt now, but they can look back on this year and be very proud. Having a star like McCall can sometimes have a negative impact on the team with regards to team chemistry and cohesion on the floor, that wasn't the case for the Blue Devils. Echols and White were fantastic all year serving as floor generals, and they made things easier for a player like McCall. You look down that roster and you realize they are about the sum of their parts, and not just their star.

But they ran into a buzzsaw tonight. The Raiders just accepted their state championship trophy, and you have to wonder if there was ever a doubt that they would be holding it tonight after that performance. As I mentioned earlier, they were here last year but experienced a much different result. Last year they looked rattled in the blowout loss to Stephenson. They were calm and confident this time around, and Marietta never looked a threat. Defensively they were active all night long, shutting down McCall and frustrating her from the opening tip. Offensively, Alisha Andrews wowed the crowd with some fantastic dribbling skills and passes, while Paige and Fambro provided a lot of the scoring. They put on an absolutely show this evening.

The scary thing is that they will only be better next year. Everyone but Brunson and Fambro return for them. While they will miss Fambro's scoring presence off the bench and Brunson's toughness down low, they will return their key cogs in Andrews, Paige, Dalrymple, Aneesah Daniels (who bothered McCall all night), and more. I don't want to get to far ahead of myself, but we could be talking about another Gwinnett Arena appearance next year from them? And furthermore, is it possible they could go undefeated yet again in 2009-10?

A nice moment as well after the game, as Tucker Head Coach James Harty came down to the floor to embrace and congratulate RHS head coach Rhonda Malone. It's nice to see that kind of unity amongst the Dekalb Co. head coaches.

Wheeler-Milton tip is coming in just a few moments.

Wheeler-Milton to come

Just moments away from tip here between Wheeler and Milton, in what a think will be one of the more intriguing state championship games.

Wheeler are lead by a talented trio in Richard Howell, Phil Taylor and Ari Stewart.

Stopping them will be anything but easy for this young Milton team, who are lead by a trio of sophomores in Shannon Scott, Dai Jon Parker, and Julian Royal. If they can hang around in the first half, this could get interesting.

I'll be here with all the action, so stay tuned!

Starting lineups

For Milton: Scott, Parker, Royal, Williams, and Nolte.
For Wheeler: Jerome, Taylor, Cochran, Stewart, and Howell

That's it...

Redan are state champs with a 64-40 trouncing of Marietta. That was one of their best performances of the season, and they saved it for the biggest stage of all. There's no doubt this year, the Raiders are clearly the best team in class AAAAA. Congrats, ladies!

I'll be back with some postgame thoughts momentarily.

It's all about the team

Starters Paige and Brunson exit the game and get a nice ovation from the crowd. Looks like Rhonda Malone wants to give her players a well deserved curtain call.

Looking ahead....

Looks like Milton has already packed their side of the floor here at Gwinnett Arena. And we know the Wheeler people will be showing up and packing the gym like always. It's going to be a great atmosphere for that one.

Meanwhile, the result between Redan and Marietta is merely a formality at this point. Redan with the 59-30 lead and 3:11 left.

Still playing hard...

To their credit, you certainly can't accuse Marietta of throwing in the towel. They're out there playing with energy (White with great hustle just a moment ago to nearly force a turnover), but this Redan team just weren't going to be beaten tonight.

Raiders lead 53-28 with 6:11 left.

Heading to the fourth...

Redan on top 53-25.

Much like Tucker in the previous game, the Blue Devils have looked tentative from tip off. And when McCall fouled out you could tell it took the air out of the team.

RHS Piling On

A three-point play for Brunson, then a steal and layup by Andrws to stretch the lead to 47-19.

There's a fat lady warming up her somewhere around here...

Heading to the fourth...

53-25 the score.

Much like Tucker in the previous game, The Blue Devils have looked tentative all night. And when McCall fouled out you could tell it took the air out completely. They'll be playing for pride in this final quarter.

McCall fouls out

McCall just committed her fourth and fifth foul in less than ten seconds, the first coming while challenging for the ball at halfcourt, and the second while trying to block a shot in the paint. You've got to be smarter than that playing with foul trouble, now the Blue Devils are without their star for the rest of the game and they trail 42-19 with 4:32 to go in the third.

Early third

It's more of the same to start the third. Echols just airballed a three from the quarter, and Redan stormed down the floor for a layup. 40-19 now in favor of RHS.

Second half begins

Coach Sprague must have given his girls a rousing talk at the half, as they only made it to the floor with 40 seconds left before the start of the third and didn't warm up at all.

And with that, we're underway in the second half with Redan leading 34-17.

Halftime thoughts

Redan have to be able to taste the title at this point. They have complete control of this game on both ends of the floor and lead 34-17.

McCall has 7 points, but she hasn't dominated the game by any means. And you have to give a lot of credit to Aneesah Daniels and Delia Brunson, who have kept her in check.

But the story for me is at the guard position. Alisha Andrews has completely handled the Brittany's (White and Echols), and you can see that with the pace the game has been played. It's been up-and-down basketball for the duration of the half, and Marietta are clearly having some trouble keeping up.

Echols and White will need to do a better job of controlling that pace in the third quarter. Problem is, if they don't make a run immediately to start the third, they'll be forced to pick up the speed regardless, which should have the Raiders licking their chops.

Second half is starting in five, I'll be back then.


Quortni Fambro drains her second three pointer of the game to give the Raiders a 34-17 lead. I'll be back with some more thoughts in a moment.

McCall sits

McCall taking a rest here with her team trailing 29-13 and 3:30 to play in the quarter.


26-11 Redan lead. McCall is getting a little more involved, having just hit a floater moments ago to draw MHS closer.

Danger time

Quortni Fambro just came off the bench to nail a three after the timeout, then Andrews drains her second trey to give RHS the 25-9 lead.

This is a crucial next six minutes for the Blue Devils. They look genuinely rattled and are in danger of losing control of this game. I have hardly noticed McCall thus far, I'll have to mention her name a lot more if MHS want to get back into this thing.

Hustle, hustle, hustle

19-9 Redan with 6:54 to go in the second after a Blue Devils timeout.

The Raiders have simply outhustled the Blue Devils thus far. They're on the floor for loose balls and getting to most of them. By my count they've also forced four jump balls so far.

One quarter in the books

Redan leads 14-7.

Redan looked the more composed team coming out of the gates, and I think their speed took Marietta a little by surprise, as the Blue Devils had major problems getting into their offensive sets.

Watching Alisha Andrews play the point is a beautiful thing. I remember I saw her play last year in a region game when I had just started working at SCORE. Girl was all over the floor with great playmaking ability, defense, and a solid jumper to boot. She's generously listed at 5-2 in the program, but she makes up for her size quite well. Andrews might not be the biggest scorer on RHS, but if you ask me, she's what makes that team go.

Things picking up

Andrews just showed off her dribbling skills, going with a sick crossover at midcourt to set up a three pointer which she cooly drained to make it 14-4. But McCall comes back with a trey of her own from the corner to close it to seven late in the first quarter.
The Raiders are playing with amazing intensity. Especially on D where they'll all over the place, getting into passing lanes constantly and making it tough for Marietta.

Paige just hit a three to make it 7-0, then Dalrymple with a steal and layup seconds after.


Timeout with 4:17 to play in the first and Redan leads 2-0 on a bucket from MacKenize Dalrymple (I'm having to double-check my spelling on that one every time).

The Raiders have been very active on the defensive end, having already forced a couple of turnovers. But overall I'd say both teams look a bit nervous, which is to be expected in a game of this magnitude, and also explains the slow start for both sides.

Early going

Just a minute in and you can already see the contrast in styles here. Redan are trying to play a quick-paced game and build off their guard play. MHS are trying to slow things dwon and get into their halfcourt offense, trying to make things happen with their size down low.

Dalrymple just opened up the scoring with a steal and layup just over two minutes in.

starting lineups

Alisha Andrews, MacKenize Dalrymple and Kierra Paige at the guard positions for Redan. Nia Evans and Delia Brunson will try and handle the load down low.

MHS will trot out Brittney Echols and Brittany White at the guard spots. They'll go with Molly Fagan and McCall at the forward positions, and Dani Bartelmay at center.

Tip off is just seconds away, let's get it on!

Girls Preview

This Marietta-Redan game is one that has me excited already.

The Blue Devils have an unbelievable talent on their side in Telia McCall (headed to Virginia next year). She leads the way for the team, but those ladies are about much more than just McCall. They've got a lot of players that can play. Trust me, beating MHS is not as simple as doubling McCall. Redan will have to execute and play great team defense against a team that can beat them from anywhere.

Speaking of Redan, they're returning to the state championship game after surprising everyone last year to get here before going down to Stephenson in the final game (and that Stephenson team was absolutely loaded). The Raiders got pretty much everyone back this year, and only lose two seniors after this year. Clearly this won't be the last time we see their name listed among the favorites to win a state title.

I'm looking forward to seeing Nia Evans, who I see defending McCall for much of the game.

Tip off is coming in about nine minutes, so I'll be back then with plenty of updates and info from this one. And if you have any questions, please feel free to shoot me an email at

Let's get started!

Hey, basketball fans. Josh Bagriansky here to take you the rest of the way. We have a couple of great games coming up here from Gwinnett Arena. We’ll start with the girls class AAAAA title with Redan taking on Marietta. Then comes an intriguing matchup for the nightcap with star-studded Wheeler taking on a young and talented Milton squad.

But first, I’d like to say a bit about Miller Grove, who just took down Tucker to take home their first basketball state title for the school.

Those kids have been through a tumultuous season after losing head coach Sharman White before the season, as he was suspended for some issues he had earlier in his career while coaching at Carver. That couldn’t have been easy for the Wolverines, none of whom had played for anyone but White at Miller Grove. But they showed some real character by coming together and playing pretty darn good basketball from day one. Congrats to those guys on conquering the obstacles and being crowned as state champions, they deserve it.

All That Remains

Final Score: Miller Grove 59 Tucker 31

"Miller Grove State Champs"

With 2:05 on the clock and a 53-29 lead, the crowd is chanting "Miller Grove State Champs."

Miller Grove Wins AAAA Boys Title

Over four minutes remain on the clock, but all that's left unknown in this game is the final score. I'm going to go ahead and call this one for Miller Grove. Despite a very lopsided score, Tucker has plenty to be proud of for advancing this far as the third seed out of Region 6.

To the fourth

Miller Grove leads 42-20 in a game that ended a long time ago. The Wolverines have dominated the Tigers with defense. This looks to be both Miller Grove and Tucker's lowest point total of the playoffs. Miller Grove scored 73 against Rockdale County in round two, while Tucker scored 49 against Marist in the Elite 8.


Tucker is issued a technical foul. Mfon Udofia makes both free throws to put Miller Grove up 42-18.

Much of the same

Miller Grove leads 40-18 with 3:00 remaining in the third period as Tucker continues to struggle to score.


Miller Grove leads 32-15. Tucker's offense has consisted of nine points by Manny Atkins and six free throws by Brandon Dawson. Mfon Udofia and Stephen Hill are anchoring the Wolverines.


A dunk by Stephen Hill puts Miller Grove up 28-10.

Finally Tucker

Manny Atkins hits first field goal for Tucker who trails 6-21 with 5:25 remaining in first half.

Wolverines dominate first quarter

After one quarter, Miller Grove leads 18-2. Tucker was held without a field goal as Brandon Dawson hit a pair of free throws for the Tigers.


Mfon Udofia drives and scores to put Miller Grove up 4-1.

More Free Throws

At 5:09, neither team has hit a field goal. Miller Grove leads 2-1. The Wolverines are two for six from the line. Tucker is one for two.

Game Begins

Tucker and Miller Grove each exchange a free throw, 1-1 with 6:05 remaining.

AAAA Boys Championship About to Tip

The AAAA Boys Championship between Miller Grove and Tucker is minutes away from tipping off.

Lady Panthers Repeat

New season, but same story as SW DeKalb beats Fayette County 59-46 to knock off the previously undefeated Lady Tigers.

Lady Tigers can't hit free throws

Fayette County has missed four straight free throws. Kayla Lewis drills two free throws for the Lady Panthers who lead 54-44 with 32.6 remaining.

Laquisha Lewis too much

Laquisha Lewis is using her 6-1 frame to dominate in the paint for the Lady Panthers with six points in the 4th quarter. Lady Panthers lead 52-44 with 49.4 remaining.

Tessah Holt for 3!

Tessah Holt hits her third 3 pointer of the game, all in the second half, to put the Lady Tigers within six, 48-42 with 2:55 remaining.

Late Run

The Tigers haven't given up yet. Down 46-33, Fayette County has gone on a 6-0 run to cut the lead to seven, 46-39.

Lady Panthers closing in on repeat

SW DeKalb leads 46-37 with 5:40 remaining. Kajuanna Rivers has four of her seven points in the 4th quarter.

Final Eight Minutes

After three quarters, SW DeKalb leads 40-32. Kayla Lewis leads the Panthers with 12 points. The Tigers have only eight minutes left to avenge last season's championship loss to SW DeKalb.

Timeout Tigers

Fayette County calls a timeout after SW DeKalb expands their lead to nine, 36-27 with 2:32 remaining in the 3rd quarter.

Second half begins

Tessah Holt hits a 3 pointer to put Fayette County within one, 26-25. The overrated chants have stopped.

End of Half

Sasha Sims scores six points in the final two minutes for the Lady Tigers as Fayette County gets within two, 24-22 at the half. Sims leads the Lady Tigers with 12 points. SW DeKalb is led by Kayla Lewis with six points.

Lead Grows

SW DeKalb has expanded their lead to nine, 24-15 with 2:00 remaining in the first half.


Overrated chants have already started up from the SW DeKalb fans as the Panthers lead 16-13 with 5:30 remaining in the 2nd quarter.

After one quarter...

SW DeKalb leads 13-11. Kayla Lewis and Laquisha Lewis each have 4 points for the Panthers. Fayette County is led by Sasha Sims with 6 points.

TV timeout

At television timeout, SW DeKalb leads 7-5 with 3:58 remaining in 1st quarter. Kajuanna Rivers leads the Panthers with 3 points.

After one minute...

After one minute we are tied 5-5.

Game finally begins

Fayette County wins the opening tip. Tessah Holt puts Fayette up 3-0.

AAAA Girls Championship

The AAAA girls championship game between Fayette County and Southwest DeKalb begins in 1 minute.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Wheeler wins

Wheeler wins it 71-54 as Ari Stewart finished with a couple of big dunks as the seconds wound down. Phil Taylor led Wheeler with 20 points, while Javoris Bryant paced Westlake with 17. It will be Wheeler and Milton in the 5A finals tomorrow. Both teams are from Region 6 and the Wildcats have gotten the better of the Eagles this season. Still, Milton is one of the better teams in the state athletically despite their youth. The game will likely come down to who shoots better from the outside. Milton may be more equipped to run with the Wildcats than Westlake, but even they must pick and choose the right times to do so. Sophomore guard Shannon Scott will have a lot on his shoulders.

Wheeler looking to finish the drill

Wheeler has a 59-48 lead with 3:00 left to play. After appearing to slow the game down, Wheeler has gone back to pushing the tempo. The Wildcats trapped Westlake at half court, forcing the Lions to burn a timeout. If Wheeler keeps that defensive intensity up, it will be difficult for Westlake to comeback.

Westlake staying close

Wheeler is up 54-46 with 5:02 left to play. At the start of the fourth, Javoris Bryant got a steal and took it in for the layup to put Westlake down 50-40. Westlake got within 10 on a Bryant jumper, but Wheeler responded, before the Lions latest spurt. It appears that the two teams are treading water, but Westlake is trying to inch their way back in it.

Westlake not dead yet

The Lions went on a 10-5 run to end the third quarter, as Wheeler finally missed some makeable shots in transition. The Wildcats also may have prematurely gone for the knockout punch, as they took some questionable 3-pointers. Can Westlake make a comeback? If they do comeback, they will probably have to get some help from the Wildcats, i.e. turnovers and forced shots.

Wildcats extending lead

Wheeler is playing its game and Phil Taylor is playing his game. Taylor fed Cochran for an easy open-court lay in and later buried another 3-pointer. Cochran also added another 3 and Wheeler leads 45-28 at the 2:39 mark of the third.

Westlake on the ropes

Phil Taylor got a steal and converted a circus layup plus the and-1 to put Wheeler up 35-21. Karl Cochran later scored to put the Wildcats up 37-21. The Wildcats now lead 37-24 with 5:31 left in the third. This is dangerous territory for Westlake. This one maybe slipping away from them.

Wheeler up 11 at the break

The Wildcats expanded their double-digit lead by a point and leads Westlake 32-21 at halftime. Stewart leads Wheeler with 10 points. Chad Johnson is the lead man for Westlake with six, as two of the Lions’ star players, Marcus Thornton and Javoris Bryant, have two points apiece. Wheeler appears to be in love with game’s pace, getting out in transition for easy baskets, getting easy put-backs, and getting open 3-pointers as well.

Double-digit Wheeler lead

An Ari Stewart 3-pointer has pushed Wheeler’s lead to 30-20. Westlake has mangaged to get Richard Howell to pick up his second foul, forcing him to leave, but with 1:38 remaining in the half, it likely is not that big of a deal.

Westlake still wants to run

The Lions are still trying to run and are down 24-16 with 5:12 remaining in the half. Phil Taylor has nailed another 3-pointer and the Wildcats are active defensively and on the boards.

Westlake makes it a game

Westlake has turned up the defensive pressure and finds themselves down by 17-16 at the end of the first quarter. They are still playing at Wheeler’s speed however, so I wonder how long they can keep this up. I have Westlake’s Chad Johnson and Jordan Brown both with four points.

Wildcats still running

Ari Stewart buried a trey, as Wheeler’s hot shooting continues. It looks obvious that Westlake will not be able with the Wildcats, so caution might be their best strategy. Wheeler leads 17-8 with 2:54 left in the first quarter.

Early Wheeler spurt

Richard Howell opened the game with a 3-pointer and Phil Taylor buried back-to-back 3-pointers after Westlake took a 4-3 lead. Wheeler leads 9-4, as Westlake called a timeout at the 5:21 mark.

Wheeler Westlake pregame

The Wheeler vs. Westlake matchup is about three minutes away from starting. Wheeler has had an extremely brutal schedule this year and should not be awed by any facet Westlake brings to the table. The Lions on the other hand is not quite the team analysts envision at the beginning of the season, as they have lost Jelan Kendrick. Nevertheless, they are a proud program and probably want to prove that against Wheeler tonight.

Marietta Beach final

The Lady Blue Devils get the win 58-40 and move on to face Redan tomorrow in the Class 5A Championship Game. Telia McCall led Marietta with 30 points and Monique Willis paced Beach with 14 Marietta should not be able to turnover or fluster Redan like they did Beach. Lady Raider point guard Alisha Andrews is very crafty and makes great decisions with the ball. The Lady Blue Devils may be able to wear her down or get her in foul trouble. Andrews had four fouls against Parkview today and is very aggressively defense. McCall should also expect a tougher challenge, as Redan front court players Nia Evans, Aneesah Daniels and Delia Brunson are all athletic and active.

The nail in Beach's coffin?

After hitting her first free throw, McCall missed the back end. Sabrina McCants got rebound and converted an and-1 with 3:40 left to play. Marietta is up 50-35.

Marietta hanging on

Marietta leads 46-35 with 4:03 left. A Willis jumper cut the lead to under 10 at 44-35. Willis has an air of confidence about her game. Of course when Marietta needs a basket, it is to McCall they go. She delivered to put the lead back into double digits.

Beach comeback?

McCall checked back in less than a minute into the last quarter. I guess Marietta head coach Ken Sprague Jr. wanted her to keeps some sharpness about her or he was concerned about a Bulldog comeback. Don’t look now, but Beach has the lead down to 12 (44-32) with 6:28 left. Monique Willis has played some determination.

Marietta maintains lead to start fourth

Marietta leads Beach 44-28 going into the fourth. Beach’s press works at times, but Marietta does have good ball handlers. When the Lady Blue Devils break the press it is a wrap. McCall left in the final minute of the third. I have her down for 20 points. Since the championship game is tomorrow, I wonder if she will make an appearance in the fourth.

The rout is on

It is officially a rout, as White has hit another 3-pointer for Marietta and Brittney Echols converted a layup off of a steal. Marietta leads 36-16 with 4:41 left in the quarter.

Looks like more of the same for Marietta

The Lady Blue Devils continue to play in your face defense and get the ball to McCall. Down 31-14 with 6:49 left in the third, Beach head coach Ronald Booker called a 30-second timeout. I guess his team forgot his halftime speech.

Marietta maintains lead at the half

Marietta leads Beach 29-14 at halftime. For awhile it seemed both teams were settling into a offensive rhythm, but the last minutes of the first half was plagued by numerous personal fouls. Beach can get Marietta into foul trouble, but that won’t matter if they don’t score any better than what they are doing. Paige Johnson leads beach with five points, while McCall leads Marietta with 15.

Marietta Beach update

McCall showed off her range by connecting on a 3-pointer from the left wing. Boy is she’s hard to guard. Marietta leads 20-8 with 4:29 remaining.

Marietta Beach update

Marietta leads 15-8 with 6:02 left in the second period. Brittany White got a steal and layup for the Lady Blue Devils, as Marietta is showing some defensive pressure of its own.

Marietta Beach update

Marietta leads 11-8 at the end of one. The Bulldogs’ Paige Johnson got a steal and converted an and-1, but Khalilah Watson later missed two free throws that would have brought Beach even closer.

Marietta Beach update

If the Lady Blue Devils get hot from downtown, this could be a short night. Courtney Sprague has hit a 3-pointer for Marietta. Marietta leads 11-2 at the 1:41 mark.

Marietta Beach update

Beach is employing a full court trap and that might be the best strategy, attack Marietta before they attack them. Marietta leads 8-2 with 3:32 left in the first.

Marietta Beach update

McCall and the Lady Blue Devils are now finding their groove. McCall has scored the last six points and Marietta leads 8-0 with 4:56 remaining.

Marietta Beach update

Marietta leads 2-0 at the 5:56 mark and Beach is competing. McCall missed her first shot under the goal and was tied up on a drive attempt seconds later.

Marietta Beach Update

Marietta and Beach is ready to tipoff. An interesting matchup to watch in this game is how does the girls from Beach deal with the Lady Blue Devils’ Telia McCall. McCall stands at 6-2, but has the skills an quickness to play the wing.

Marietta Beach update

The Marietta vs. Beach game is about two minutes away from starting, but first a quick note from the Milton vs. Newnan game. Julian Royal was credited with 18 points and eight blocks. He is the truth. I wonder what he’ll have in store for the title game.

Milton Newnan final

Milton gets the win 64-53 and it should be an interesting Class 5A Championship game against the winner of their Region 6 rival Wheeler and Westlake. Shannon Scott paced the Eagles with 19 points. The Marietta and Beach girls are now on the court warming up.

Milton Newnan update

A Powell 3-pointer cut Milton’s lead to 62-51, but it shouldn’t help unless Milton has an unbelievable meltdown at the foul line with 27 seconds remaining.

Milton, Newnan update

The story is youth, youth and more youth as Milton is up 60-47 with 1:21 left in the game. Royal added a slam and a layup and Evan Nolte, former Milton star Connor’s younger brother has added a basket. Bonner won’t go away for the Cougars, however, as he drained a 3.

Eagles extending lead

Milton is up 54-42 and Newnan’s chances don’t look good. Powell has appeared content in not forcing the issue, but if not now, then never, as he has 2:49 left in his high school career.

Milton Newnan updat

The Eagle sophomores are taking over as Royal and Scott have scored the last two buckets for Milton to give the Eagles a 52-42 lead, as Newnan burned a timeout with 4:23 remaining. Scott does look a little gimpy after scoring last bucket, though he remains in the game.

Milton, Newnan update

Milton is trying to pull away leading 48-42 with 5:25 left in the game. The Eagles had and eight-point lead as Parker drained a 3-pointer to put Milton up 44-38 less than a minute into the quarter and Evan Nolte made it an eight point lead off of an open-court layup.

Down to one point...

Milton leads 39-38 at the end of the third quarter. Powell delivered an and-1 off of a fast break with two seconds left in the quarter. Guard Alan Bonner also played well for the Cougars in the third, hitting jumpers and driving the lane. Royal got about a one-minute rest for Milton before returning with 1:32 left in the quarter. Newnan has not looked particularly good, but must be happy only being down one.

Milton Newnan update

Royal picks up his third foul with 3:58 left in the third. Milton leads 35-29. He stays in the game.

Newnan in foul trouble ...

Milton leads 31-26 with 5:30 remaining in the quarter. Newnan has foul trouble of their own as Powell picked up his third in the opening minute of the third quarter. He seems to be bother by Milton’s height offensively and defensively. By the way, Parker of Milton looks remarkably similar to Dominique Wilkins and even has his hairstyle, despite wearing Jordan’s 23

Milton Newnan update

Milton leads Newnan 27-21 at halftime. Shannon Scott has paced Milton with 11 points and Dai-Jon Parker has made some spectacular plays in the half for the Eagles. Royal eventually did spend the last minute on the bench. If Newnan wants to keep it close, they must continue to attack him. The Cougars star point guard Russell Powell hasn't been much of a factor tallying only three points.

Milton Newnan update

Milton is up 26-19 with 1:45 remaining in the first half, but Royals has two fouls. He remains on the court however.


Alisha Andrews coolly hits two free throws to give Redan a four-point lead ... Katie Carroll hits both of her free throws after drawing a foul to cut it back to two, and after a Parkview timeout with 10 seconds remaining, Aneesah Daniels goes to the line for Redan in a 1-and-1 situation. 

She hits both, and Redan hangs on to win even after a 3-point shot from Megan Mitchell. The final is 63-62 in favor of the Raiders.

Redan returns to the championship game to try and do what they couldn't do last season, win a state title.


Lauren Coleman has been so big for Parkview all game long ... she just hit a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to two points with 16 seconds left in the game. Parkview needs a steal ...

Raiders steal lead!

Kierra Page banks in a 3-pointer for Redan to pull within one point, 54-53. Then, Alisha Andrews steals the ball and hits the layup to give Redan the one point lead, 55-54, with 1:40 to go in the game. Andrews has been so tough the entire game, and is still using her quickness as the game clock gets down to the end.

Redan is undefeated on the season, and doesn't want to lose now ...

Redan coming back

3:20 to go in the game, and Redan is within three points. The Lady Raiders are on a 4-0 run.

Back and forth we go ...

The teams are starting to ramp up the intensity, and Redan is within six, 52-46. Parkview will have to hit their free throws down the stretch if they want to hold on to win. Redan's Nia Evans is back in the game with 4:21 to go. 

Panthers extending the lead

It's up to nine points for Parkview, 44-35, and Redan continues to commit a lot of fouls and turn the ball over a lot. Nia Evans, Redan's leading scorer, just picked up her fourth foul ... not looking good right now for the Lady Raiders.

Lauren Coleman TAKING OVER

She's scored eight straight on three possessions in a row ... two 3's and an all-alone layup to put Parkview up 39-34 ... 

Parkview's crowd is really starting to get into it.

ALL Parkview so far in the second half ...

The Lady Panthers have stormed out in the second half of this game ... Redan is back on their heels. It's 31-29 Parkview, which took its first lead of the game after back-to-back layups. Maggie Smith just grabbed an offensive rebound and converted one free throw after being fouled ...


Two desperation 3's at the end of the half leaves the score at 27-24 in favor of Redan. A lot of people thought the Lady Raiders were going to run right past Parkview, but the Panthers are beginning to grab more rebounds and have shown the ability to play up-tempo when the opportunity arises.

Andrews with a trey to put Redan up by six points

Alisha Andrews just shook her defender at the top of the key with a cross-over and drive fake, then drilled a 3-pointer. Impressive.

Pace picking up ... BIGTIME

These two teams have come alive from beyond the arc ... already both teams have hit two 3-pointers in the second half, and the score is 19-16 in favor of Redan.

End of 1st - Parkview comes back

Parkview gets it going with a flurry of points right at the end of the first quarter. Parkview's offense is coming in the form of layups and post play. Expect them to continue looking inside.

Second chances for Redan ...

The Raiders are dominating on the offensive rebound front, getting second and third chances off missed shots. Parkview is going to have to grab some 50-50 balls if they want to get back in it. Score is 11-5 in favor of Redan.

Redan vs. Parkview - early thoughts

Tad Arapoglou and Sam Radin are calling the action for the first game today. It's a low-scoring affair so far, with a few missed layups on both sides. Redan is VERY athletic and is looking to up the pace, and Parkview is surprisingly playing at Redan's speed. As I'm typing this, Parkview gets its first points of the game - 7-3 Redan.


It will start with Redan and Parkview girls at 4, followed by Newnan and Milton boys, then Beach and Marietta girls and Westlake and Wheeler boys ... 5A Hoops!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


In the end, Miller was just too much for Richmond ... Checking in to see what happened in the finale in Macon ... Miller and Tucker may not be too much of a state final ... I saw Tucker earlier this year against Centennial and they have trouble with teams that run and Miller Grove runs as well as anyone ...


Richmond Academy has come back and pulled within two ... miller is going to have to turn it on kep from getting upset ...


Richmond is making a comeback...down only by 10 ...


Steven Hill, who will play receiver at Tech, just had an incredible slam ... watch it on VOD


At half, Wilcox County has a 33-32 lead over Whitefield Academy


Miller Grove looks strong and has just run away from Richmond Academy. Tech fans has something to look forward to in point guard Mfon Udofia....


As I said pregame, Miller may be the best team in the state at any classification and they are proving it now


Wilcox County leads Whitefield Academy 22-17 in the second quarter


Miller Grove scored on their last two possessions of the second quarter to take their first lead since the first minute .... great talent on both sides of the court ... ij


So far, Richmond Academy has come to play and controlling the game....the big miller gorve freshman already has two fouls ...


Miller Grove and Richmond are warming up ... This could be a war!


Jonesboro came roaring back in the second half and had a chance to tie it but missed three shots in the final 10 seconds as Fayette went to 31-0 on the year ... down in Macon, Savannah Day easily beat SW Atl Cr.

In Macon

As Class A, Savannah Day beat SW Atl by 30


Jonesboro missed three shots in the final 10 seconds and fell ...fayette now 31-0


Down by two with the ball they can put the shot in ....fayette ball with four seconds left

Miller Grove next

Everyone is waiting to see this boys team play ... Richmond looks nervous!

Getting late in Gwinnett

Down by two, Jonesboro let's the ball slip away ... Fayette up by four and at the line shooting one ... minute left


Jonesboro has tied the game and has the ball ... timeout




In an incredible run where Fayette made some mistakesm Jonesboro is within seven and at with the ball...fayette needs a timeout


Fayette is up by 14 and in firm control of this one ... they have to be the pick to win it all ... just saw the miller grove boys team ... best team in the state for the boys at any classification ... meanwhile down in macon Savannah County Day is putting a whipping on SW Atl Cr.

Down in Macon

Savannah County Day 31 to 12 over SW Atl Chr. late in the second quarter


The Tigers are starting to pull away on thhe back of Tessah Holt, who will be playing at Florida next year .... They are up by 13 with three left in the half ... Fayette is a perfect 30-0 this year ....

Second quarter ...

Jonesboro is hanging in there though so far both teams have struggled with their shot ... the senior guards are keeping the Cardinals within striking distance ... also here is a thumbs up for some good looking unis for Jonesboro


This should be a good one though fayette co is considered one of the best in the country ... lot of athletic talent on the court on both sides

Tigers move on

With some stout defense and a great effort by Manny Atkins, the Tucker Tigers move on as they win 72-66.

Manny heating up

Manny Atkins has a huge jam that got the Tucker fans fired up and the Tigers are now up 61 -55 with 3:17 left in the game.

End of 3rd

Tucker is up 52-49 they were able to match the intensity that Bainbridge brought in the second quarter and were able to end the third quarter with the lead. This should make for an exciting fourth . Down in Macon, Turner is up 45-39 at the start of the fourth quarter.

Quick update

Turner County is up 38-28 against Athens Christian at the half. As for the game here at the Gwinnett Center, Bearcats are up 41-39 early in the third.

Halftime update

Bainbridge is up 37-33 at the half. Tucker was down as much as 10 early in the second but made a strong comeback in towards the end of the half. Like I said, it's going to be a tight game.

Bearcats fired up

Bainbridge is showing their toughness as they are up 26-17 midway through the second. The Bearcats have done a great job containing Manny Atkins as he is struggling.

End of first

Game is now tied at 15. Tucker and Bainbridge have had their opportunites to take the lead but turnovers have killed them in the early stages of the contest.

Early update

Game is tied at 11. Both Tucker and Bainbridge are getting a feel for each other and it looks to be a very tight game.

Semifinal Game 2

The Tucker Tigers have loads of talent and are looking to reach the finals for the first time in two years. They are led by Manny Atkins who signed with Virginia Tech.

Bainbridge is making their first Final Four appearence for the first time in school history and are led by James Lodman who is a high-flyer. Melize Johnson led the team with 13 points in their win against Statesboro in the quarterfinals.

SW DeKalb is back in the Finals

With the help of Kayla Lewis who scored 24 points, the Lady Panthers win 80-48. They will have a chance to defend their state title and will take on the Jonesboro-Fayette County winner. Wesleyan also won big 81-53 and will take on the SW Atl Christian-Savannah Co. Day winner starting at 7 p.m.

4th Quarter Update

The Lady Panthers are showing no signs of letting up as they are holding on to a 71-44 lead 5:34 left in the game. Down in Macon, Wesleyan is also rolling along with a 43-20 lead over Randolph-Clay.

Lady Panthers pulling away

Point guard Alondra Rivers is doing a great job controlling the Lady Panther offense and are now ahead 68-39 at the end of the third.

Start of third and Wesleyan-Randolph-Clay Update

Bainbridge is playing more agressive at the begining of the third but are down 51-34 with 5:30 remaining. Wesleyan is still up big 43-20 in the thrid quarter.

At the half

The Lady Panthers have a comfotable 43-27 lead going into halftime. The Tucker and Bainbridge boys teams are warming up as they will tip-off in an hour. Another game that is going on is Welseyan girls have a 33-16 lead over Randloph-Clay and that game is also at the half.

SW Dekalb rolling along

With great ball movement and solid defense, the Lady Panthers are making things tough for Bainbridge as they are up 43-23 with two minutes left in the half.


Dominating with bigger bodies, SW Dekalb is rolling early; Bainbridge is going ot have to get more physical....

Getting going ....

Bainbridge is going to have a hard time inside with SW....


Score Atlanta is here at Gwinnett Arena ready to webcast and blog....SW Dekalb girls are on the court and an impressive looking group of ladies!

LIVE! GPB is webcasting the semifinals and finals

Watch the Class AAAA and AAAAA semifinals, as well as all finals matchups, live at The games will also be archived and viewable on-demand.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

THE BEST: Georgia's greatest basketball players of all time

With the impact these players made during both their high school careers AND careers following high school, here are Georgia’s all-time girls and boys basketball teams. The starters are listed first with their school name, graduation year and bio, followed by the reserves.


Teresa Edwards (Cairo, 1982): Edwards capped off her high school career by leading her team to a Class AAA state championship and being named a high school All-American. Earning All-SEC honors at Georgia, she led the Lady Dogs to three SEC titles, two Final Fours and one national title game appearance. To top it off, Edwards helped the United States win five Olympic medals (four gold and one bronze).

Delisha Milton-Jones (Bradwell Institute, 1993): The Naismith High School Player of the Year for 1992 and 1993, Milton-Jones’s last Bradwell Institute team went 29-0 before losing in the state title game. She went on to play collegiately at Florida where she was the 1997 SEC Player of the Year. Professionally, she is a two-time WNBA All-Star and has played for two world championship teams. Milton-Jones also has two gold medals from the 2000 and 2008 Olympics.

Lea Henry-Manning (Southwest Georgia Academy, 1979): Playing for the non-GHSA Southwest Georgia Academy, Henry-Manning was named a Kodak All-American as a senior. She moved on to become a four-year starter at Tennessee, helping the Lady Vols win an SEC title and compete for several national titles. From there she assumed the role of starting point guard of the 1984 United States Olympic team, helping the women win a gold medal.

Cindy Brogdon (Greater Atlanta Christian, 1975): After helping GAC win a Class C state championship as a freshman and Class B state championships as a junior and senior, Brogdon played collegiately at Mercer. Not only was she named a collegiate All-American in 1976, but she was also a part of the USA’s gold medal-winning Olympic team. Brogdon later played one season in the Women’s Basketball League.

Maya Moore (Collins Hill, 2007): Despite being less than two full seasons removed from high school, Moore is already well accomplished. Moore led Collins Hill to three consecutive Class AAAAA state championships and was named the Naismith Player of the Year as a senior. Now at Connecticut, Moore’s Huskies reached the Final Four and she won Big East Player of the Year honors as freshman last year. This season, Moore helped the UConn women finish the regular season undefeated.

RESERVES: Sherril Baker (Greater Atlanta Christian, 2002); Kiesha Brown (Woodward Academy, 1996); Tasha Butts (Baldwin, 2000); Deborah Denton (Pace Academy, 1985); Tasha Humphrey (Gainesville, 2004); Tracy Waites (Rockdale County, 1984)


Dwight Howard (Southwest Atlanta Christian, 2004): Howard parlayed several national player of the year awards and a Class A state championship into being the first selection of the 2004 NBA Draft. Since being chosen by the Orlando Magic, Howard has become perhaps the most dominant center in the NBA, shooting just under 60 percent from the field and averaging 20 points and 14 rebounds per game last season. He also started for the 2008 gold medal-winning Olympic team.

Walt Frazier (Howard, 1964): Frazier was a star at Atlanta’s Howard High School during the days of segregation. He later showed his talents at Southern Illinois where he led the team to an NIT Championship in 1967. Still, he will always be remembered as the point guard for the New York Knicks, winning the 1970 and 1973 NBA championships. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1987.

Jeff Malone (Southwest Macon, 1979): Playing in one of the most dominant high school programs and on the most dominant team the state has ever seen, Malone helped Southwest Macon win the Class AAA state championship as a junior and the Class AAAA state championship as a senior. He then moved on to play collegiately at Mississippi State, where he averaged over 26 points per game as a senior and was co-SEC Player of the Year in 1983. He took his scoring ability to the NBA, averaging 19 points per game while playing for five teams in his 13-year career.

Dale Ellis (Marietta, 1979): Ellis’s prep career for the Blue Devils did not include any state championships but he was a star nonetheless, earning a scholarship at Tennessee. He was twice named the SEC Player of the Year in college and was eventually drafted to the NBA by Dallas. Ellis made his mark with Seattle, however, as he set the franchise record for points with 2,253 in the 1988-89 season, averaging 27.5 per game. Ellis played 17 seasons in the NBA.

Mike Mitchell (Price, 1974): A sometimes forgotten about Georgia high school hoopster, Mitchell played collegiately at Auburn and made his mark in the NBA, averaging double figures in points in all 10 of his seasons. Mitchell’s career-high average of 24.5 points per game came in 1980-81; he also made the Eastern Conference All-Star team that season, playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers.           

RESERVES: Shareef Abdur-Rahim (Wheeler, 1995); Willie Anderson (East Atlanta, 1984); Horace Grant (Hancock Central, 1983); Norm Nixon (Southwest Macon, 1973); Elmore Smith (Ballard-Hudson, 1967); Josh Smith (McEachern, 2003); Tree Rollins (Crisp County, 1973).

This list was compiled by James Butler and other Score Atlanta writers. Butler can be reached at


A word with the director

GHSA executive director Dr. Ralph Swearngin recently spoke with Score Atlanta’s Alex Ewalt about some of the current issues facing high school sports in the state. Here’s what they talked about:


Has the GHSA considered re-seeding the basketball brackets for the tournaments?
The big problem with seeding is how to do it and [what to base it on]. I’m not sure season won-loss record is necessarily the way to go. It’s very difficult to get people to agree, especially when they’re involved as coaches in the sport. … My viewpoint was something that an old coach told me when I first got into coaching. He said, people that worry about seeding are worried about who’s going to come in third or fourth. … When we start hearing the problems with bracketing and seeding it’s in the early rounds. And a lot of times it’s because a really good team, for whatever reason, doesn’t win its region.


Illegal recruiting is an issue that is often on the minds of high school basketball fans. Could you tell me specifically what is considered recruiting in high school sports?
It has to be someone directly related to the school, someone who is school personnel, who contacts the student and encourages them verbally or offers them things to change from one school to another. If a coach has a player in a summer program and then the player transfers to the school, the kid would probably be ineligible. Or if I give you private lessons and you come to my school then that would be illegal. … Most of the time the school’s people don’t have to recruit. The recruiting is done by parents, it’s done by coaches in travel ball and AAU. A lot of people get concerned because people abide by our rules and still a particular school gets loaded with talent. But as long as people live in a free country, it’s very difficult for us as an organization to say, even though you abided by the rules and sold your old house and moved to a new house, you still can’t play for that team.


It seems this year the Metro Atlanta basketball fans were upset at their travel times to the sectional sites. What is the system for choosing venues?
Number one, we have to have a venue that holds enough people. For AAAA and AAAAA it’s got to be a minimum of 5,000. We really would like something closer to 7,000. I heard just a couple of days ago about this unrest in Metro Atlanta and it astounded me. … If we are not able to secure places like Georgia State, Georgia Tech and the University of Georgia, there’s just no place to do it. In fact, for a couple of years we had to play the third-round games at high school gyms, and we heard a lot of complaints about that. I dare say the complaints about having to travel from Atlanta to Carrollton will be looked at as humorous by the people who have to travel from Augusta to Columbus or from Thomasville to Savannah. Unfortunately that happens and there are not central locations that can meet everybody’s needs.


Provided it’s approved in March, next year’s region realignment is very important because it will begin the first four-year realignment cycle, as opposed to the two-year cycle. What are your thoughts on the new system?
Interestingly, coaches wanted that because if they’re in situations where they’re shuffling around from one region to another, it’s difficult for them to maintain relationships that help them build high-money gates and rivalries. And from our viewpoint it’s great because it’s like having a root canal once every four years instead of once every two years.


There are a number of new schools opening next year. What do you think their impact will be?
It always amazes me. People say our schools are overcrowded, and they open up a new school and fill up that school and the other schools are still overcrowded. We really don’t know to what degree the housing crunch is going to redistribute population in our state, whether people are actually going to be leaving the state or coming in because it’s more attractive. There are a whole lot of social issues right now that we really just can’t account for.


So far, what are your thoughts on the effectiveness of eliminating the multiplier (which, before this year, multiplied the student populations at private schools by 1.5, oftentimes necessitating they play in a higher class)?
It’s way too early to make any comparisons. I’m sure everybody is making comparisons on their own, with or without data. We did a yearlong study and found out that the multiplier didn’t do anything. The private schools that were winning and doing well and making final four appearances before the multiplier made the same amount of Final Four appearances with the multiplier. It didn’t really matter, and it was catching the attention of legislators who said it’s not fair to say that in some schools kids count as one and in other schools kids count as one and a half.

Ewalt can be reached at


Full semifinal previews

The semifinals at Gwinnett Arena and the Macon Centreplex start Wednesday; here are Score Atlanta’s previews of every upcoming Final Four matchup.


Newnan Cougars vs. Milton Eagles

While it was no surprise to see Wheeler or Westlake in the Final Four, the other semifinal game features two teams that few had expected to get this far early on. The Milton Eagles have been one of the more fascinating stories of the postseason, storming through the state tournament with a very young team. Sophomore Julian Royal collected 32 points and 10 boards in the quarterfinal victory over South Gwinnett, and is considered one of the country’s top sophomores. Dai-Jon Parker is also a 10th grader, and freshman Evan Nolte has been coming on lately.

The Eagles will face another surprise team in Newnan. The Cougars were eliminated in the first round of the state playoffs in 2008; now they’re playing in Gwinnett Arena. Russell Powell runs the Cougars’ offense – the 5-foot-8 point guard is a top playmaker with elite quickness. Alec Ogletree, one of the top football recruits in Georgia, is a constant source of energy. 

Westlake Lions vs. Wheeler Wildcats

After being eliminated the past two years by eventual state champion Norcross, the Wheeler Wildcats finally got over the hump. They finally beat their nemesis in the Elite 8 last week, pulling away in the final quarter en route to a 60-44 win. The Wildcats will face Westlake in the semifinals, and the Lions will most certainly have their hands full. Wheeler features an unparalleled array of talent, with a starting lineup that includes top-tier upperclassmen in Ari Stewart, Phil Taylor and Richard Howell. With Norcross finally out of the way, this might be Wheeler’s year.

But the Westlake Lions are one of the few teams that rival Wheeler in individual talent. Marcus Thornton, a 6-foot-7 Clemson commit, will give Stewart all he can handle in the post, and Javoris Bryant is the heart and soul of the team at the point guard position. The Region 4-AAAAA champions have rattled off 14 straight wins, entering the semis with plenty of confidence. 



Redan Raiders vs. Parkview Panthers

The Parkview Panthers have looked primed for a deep state tournament run since Day 1. They’ve lost just one game all season and don’t make too many miscues on the court. Junior Lauren Coleman is a terror for opposing defenses and is one of the best post players left in the tournament. Sophomore guard Katie Carroll is also a difficult cover and her scoring ability from the perimeter makes the two an effective inside-outside combo. 

Parkview has lost just once all year but the Redan Raiders have them beat, as they have yet to lose a game at 25-0. Power forward Nia Evans poses an athletic challenge for defenses, and point guard Alisha Andrews is one of the quickest players in the game. Andrews thrives in an offense where she can get the ball to legit scorers such as Evans, Aneesah Daniels and Kierra Paige.

Beach Bulldogs vs. Marietta Blue Devils

Although the Beach Bulldogs might be the most off-the-radar team in the semis, fans will learn plenty about this team quickly. The Bulldogs feature a two-headed monster in seniors Monique Willis and Khalilah Watson. Willis notched a double-double in the team’s upset victory over Westlake in the Elite 8, while Watson checked in with 26 points. Paige Johnson is a testament to the heart on Ronald Booker’s team; she fought through a knee injury to score 14 crucial points against Westlake.

Beach will battle the Marietta Blue Devils, champions of Region 5. Senior forward Telia McCall is one of the best players in the state, scoring an incredible 28 points in the Blue Devils’ first-round victory over Lassiter. The Virginia Cavaliers commit can score and rebound, and has been a pillar of consistency all year. Brittney Echols heads up a strong backcourt that includes Brittany White and Courtney Sprague.



Bainbridge Bearcats vs. Tucker Tigers

Tucker, the third seed out of Region 6, began the state playoffs with a win over second-seeded Lithia Springs. The Tigers then defeated Region 7 champion Hillgrove, 62-59, and fellow Region 6 rival Marist, 49-47, to reach the Elite 8. The Tigers had lost to Marist twice this season before gaining the upper hand on the War Eagles. Junior center Brandon Dawson led the offense with 17 points. Virginia Tech signee Manny Atkins finished with 16. Tucker last won the Class AAAA state championship in 2007, defeating Columbia in the finals. The Tigers’ other basketball state championship came in 1996.

Bainbridge defeated Statesboro, 50-46, in the quarterfinals as senior guard James Lodman dunked over a Blue Devils defender to give the Bearcats the lead. Lodman finished with 11 points. Senior forward Melzie Johnson led the team with 13 points. Point guard Marquis Williams added 10. The Bearcats are playing in the Final Four for the first time in school history. 

Richmond Academy Musketeers vs. Miller Grove Wolverines

Miller Grove has advanced to the Final Four with stellar offensive play. The Wolverines have averaged 86 points per game in the playoffs. Georgia Tech signee Mfon Udofia scored 35 points and fellow senior Stephen Hill added 27 points in the team’s quarterfinal victory against Fayette County, a team that reached the state championship one year ago.

After losing in the second round of the playoffs in the past two postseasons, Richmond Academy is now in the Final Four. The Region 3 champions defeated Alcovy in the first round, Brunswick in the second round, and then Glynn Academy in the Elite 8 thanks to a 3-point buzzer-beater by sophomore guard Don Quarles. Senior center Ricardo Glenn scored 14 points to lead the Musketeers against Glynn Academy. Richmond Academy has advanced with a smothering defense that has only allowed an average of 37.3 points in the playoffs. This will be the school’s first trip to the state semifinals since a runner-up finish in 1957.



Bainbridge Bearcats vs. Southwest DeKalb Panthers

Southwest DeKalb, the defending Class AAAA state champions, didn’t even win Region 6 this season but once again find themselves in the Final Four. The Panthers’ run began with a 64-61 victory over Douglas County in the first round. After a 67-60 win over Madison County, the Panthers defeated Northwest Whitfield, 57-49, behind 15 points from junior forward Kayla Lewis. Senior forwards Jamesha Blake and Laquisha Lewis scored 14 and 11, respectively.

Bainbridge, a Sweet 16 team for the past two seasons, needed overtime to beat Harlem, 58-57, to advance to the Elite 8. The Bearcats then defeated Hardaway, 69-58, to reach the Final Four. Junior center Alexis Burke, a member of the ESPNU HoopGurlz Super 60 Class of 2010, finished with 31 points for the Bearcats. Bainbridge has a young roster, ensuring success for years to come. For now, sophomore point guard Bria Harris and freshman guard Briana Wade are two key players to watch. 

Jonesboro Cardinals vs. Fayette County Tigers

Jonesboro and Fayette County each display high-scoring, balanced offenses that have averaged 63 and 56 points in the playoffs, respectively. Jonesboro features senior guards Joi Holyfield and Drameka Griggs. Holyfield finished with 19 points—which included five 3-pointers—in a 60-40 quarterfinals victory over Hephzibah. Sharmesia Smith, a Mercer signee, roams the post for the Cardinals.

Fayette County features senior point guard Tessah Holt, a Florida signee who finished with 18 points in a 60-44 quarterfinals win over Marist. Sasha Sims added 16 and Anma Onyeuku 14 in the post for the Tigers. Fayette County finished second in Class AAAA a year ago, losing to Southwest DeKalb in the state championship game. The Tigers haven’t lost since, going 30-0 this season. The Cardinals and Tigers share one common opponent, Sandy Creek: Jonesboro defeated the Fighting Patriots 50-42, while Fayette County won 47-45.



Gainesville Red Elephants vs. Westover Patriots

Gainesville and Westover were two of four No. 1 seeds in the Final Four of the Class AAA state tournament. Neither team was a convincing No. 1 in its respective region, however. Gainesville started the season 5-7 but the Red Elephants found their way and have won 15 of their past 16 games, including the Region 7 title and three straight double-digit victories in the state playoffs. Will Maddox and George Manomano have been leading the way for Gainesville.

Westover went 10-3 during the Region 1 regular season and avenged a previous loss to Kendrick in the region final. The Patriots have been the least dominant of the four semifinalists en route to the Final Four but have proven they can win the close games. Westover beat Shaw, 71-64, in the first round; survived Liberty County, 62-58, to reach the quarters; and most recently took out Northside, Columbus, 55-45. Westover, led by Greg Green, is arguably the deepest team in the Class AAA tournament.

South Atlanta Hornets vs. Columbia Eagles

South Atlanta has won its three state tournament games by a combined 107 points. The Hornets have not lost an in-state game this season and are showing no signs of losing one at any point next weekend. Georgia Tech signee Derrick Favors, who eased his way to 28 points in a 90-67 quarterfinal win over Washington County, is the guy Columbia must contain in order to have any shot at an upset at the Macon Centreplex.

But don’t count the Eagles out. They are in the midst of a 14-game winning streak and their 16-point blowout of Elbert County in the quarters was the closest they have come to losing since Jan. 27. JerShon Cobb and Darnelius Session provided more than two-thirds of the scoring against Elbert, and the Eagles have had their share of success in the postseason, winning last year’s Class AAAA state title before moving down to AAA.



Rutland Hurricanes vs. Carrollton Trojans

Only two teams that failed to earn a No. 1 seed are still alive in the AAA state playoffs (in both the boys and girls tournaments). Those two teams will meet in the semifinals when Carrollton takes on Rutland. Carrollton is certainly playing like a No. 1 seed, however. The Trojans’ only two losses this season came against the other two semifinalists (Baldwin and Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe). After dominating their way to the quarterfinals, the Trojans survived Columbia, 67-65, in double-overtime. Carrollton’s Karisma Boykins, who averages 28 points per game, scored 10 of her 16 in extra time.

Rutland also knows a thing or two about winning close games. The Hurricanes pulled out a 73-68 thriller over Spalding to get the No. 3 seed in Region 4, and they have won three state tournament games by a combined seven points. Rutland won its first two games on the road to reach the quarterfinals, ousting No. 1 seed Kendrick.

Baldwin Braves vs. Lakeview-Ft. Oglethorpe

Lakeview-Ft. Oglethorpe is undefeated in Class AAA play but survived a 47-43 scare against St. Pius X in its tournament opener. After easing past Stephens County into the quarterfinals, the Warriors pulled out another thriller, 52-49, this time over Dunwoody. Jasmain Carey and Kayla Weaver provide the Warriors with a potent inside-outside combination.

Baldwin is 18-1 against AAA competition but almost lost to Dougherty in the second round of the state tournament before prevailing 37-35. Baldwin star Shan Basley nailed a game-winning jumper as time expired. The Braves had an easier time with Peach County, winning 48-35 to book a spot in the last four. Basley and Teshia Griswold must continue to fill up the score sheet if the Braves want to keep up with Carey, Weaver and Lakeview-Ft. Oglethorpe.



Greene County Tigers vs. Blessed Trinity Titans

After a losing season last year, Greene County is the Cinderella story of Class AA’s Final Four. With a decisive 77-54 win over region nemesis Henry County, the Tigers should have an even greater boost of confidence against the Titans. The 23-point victory was surely a nice change for Greene, who won its first- and second-round games by only two points.

Blessed Trinity went on a 13-4 run to start the game against Dade County in the quarterfinals and never looked back, as the Titans coasted to a 90-68 victory. Despite a late run by the Wolverines, the Titans were able to use their size advantage to be the aggressor in the paint all night. Ryan LeGates had a strong offensive game and Arris Brundidge scored 20 points. The Titans’ ability to drive the ball to the basket may force Greene County into foul trouble. 

Dublin Fighting Irish vs. Greater Atlanta Christian Spartans

After losing in the Final Four last year to Wesleyan, Dublin looks to make the jump to the finals this year. Among the schools left, the Fighting Irish are the only team that made it past the second round of the tournament in 2008. The Fighting Irish will likely turn to the experience of seven seniors, including standout Rashard Smith, to help them emerge victorious. Dublin is coming off a 67-49 win over Central Macon that was closer than the score indicates through the first half.

Greater Atlanta Christian punched its ticket to the Final Four by pummeling Coosa, 81-36, in the quarterfinal round. Senior power forward Trent Wiedeman set the tone early for GAC with his emotional play at the low post. Scoring 17 points, Wiedeman, along with teammates Elliott Long and Taylor Metzger, led the way for the Spartans. Now that the Spartans have eliminated Coosa—which eliminated GAC in 2008—they are looking to ride that momentum toward a state title.



Henry County Warhawks vs. Model Blue Devils

Though they entered the tournament as a No. 3 seed, the Warhawks defeated three higher-seeded teams to reach the semifinals. Led by junior shooting guard Briana Williams, the Warhawks will now look to end Model’s title aspirations. After close victories in the first two rounds, the Warhawks beat Greene County, 57-38, in the Elite 8 to advance to the Final Four.

But if there is one word that describes the Model Blue Devils, it’s balance. You never really know whether the scoring is going to come from the inside or outside – and that’s what makes this team so dangerous. In its latest 62-52 victory over Greater Atlanta Christian, Model utilized the inside play of Maci Siniard and Shelby Farrer to overpower the GAC defense. Add Janaye Jasper to the mix and the trio brings a vital size advantage into this matchup. The Blue Devils are undefeated this season. 

Laney Wildcats vs. Buford Wolves

Laney is undefeated this year in Class AA competition; the team’s only three defeats on the year were to Class AAAA’s Hephzibah, Class AAAAA’s Marietta and Parkway Academy of Florida. The Wildcats are coming off a 70-45 drubbing of Northeast Macon. Center Taylor Ayers had 25 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks in the win. The Wildcats have not lost since Dec. 20 and with more than 20 consecutive victories, the team seems poised for a great performance.

In similar fashion, Buford went undefeated in AA competition this year (the only loss of the season came to Class AAAA’s Marist in double overtime. The Wolves are quick and athletic. Amongst their starting five, led by Auburn commit Blanche Alverson, each member has excellent ball-handling and passing skills. They are a strong defensive and rebounding team. Alverson had 17 in Buford’s quarterfinal victory over Rabun County. Trust us – Ayers vs. Alverson will be worth the price of admission.



Turner County Rebels vs. Athens Christian Eagles

Turner County has made it to the Macon Centreplex on the shoulders of Ternell Davis and his 24 points per game. The Rebels’ record stands at 29-1 (with no losses since Dec. 6), and head coach Eric Holland and his squad would love to see it end at 31-1. TuCo made it this far with wins over Seminole County (87-38), Hancock Central (70-57), and Region 1 champion Terrell County (68-63). Ternell Davis and Tray Pearce are known to attack the rim.

If Turner County is to advance to the finals, however, it will have to knock off another contender in Athens Christian. The Eagles, champions of Region 8, have won 21 straight and are led by the super-athletic Raymond Higgs. Despite foul trouble, Higgs still managed 21 points in the quarterfinal-round victory over Greenforest Christian, and David Mann, a German exchange student, recorded 34 in the win. Mann is also automatic from the free throw line, an important factor if this game is close at the end. 

Wilcox County Patriots vs. Whitefield Academy Wolfpack

Wilcox County is the Cinderella team of Class A, as the third-seeded Patriots are the only non-No. 1 in the semifinals. Head coach George Kennedy’s team has advanced by conquering Clinch County, squeezing Region 3 champ Calvary Day and then besting point guard Brit Duncan and No. 2 Wilkinson County. The Patriots have received points from many different sources this season, including sophomore Nick Marshall, who scored a school-record 42 earlier this year against Telfair County.

The Patriots will face yet another ranked opponent in the semifinals in No. 3 Whitefield Academy (ranking according to the GACA Coaches Poll). The Wolfpack advanced to the semifinals with a 75-53 victory over No. 9 Darlington. Head coach Tyrone Johnson’s team is led by a prolific scorer in Brandon Reed. During the season, Reed averaged 20 points per game and in the win over Darlington, Reed nearly reached that total by halftime. Whitefield Academy reached the state final in 2006 and 2007, losing both times.



Randolph-Clay Red Devils vs. Wesleyan Wolves

In a true “Clash of the Titans,” the Randolph-Clay Red Devils will battle Wesleyan. Randolph-Clay is led by a host of juniors, most notably Destiny Mitchell. It was Mitchell’s 33 points, including 16 in the fourth quarter, that helped Jennifer Acree’s squad knock out defending Class A state champion Calvary Day in the first round. The Red Devils are coming off an impressive 15-point win over Emanuel County Institute in the quarterfinals.

Wesleyan won the 2008 Class AA state championship before moving down to Class A. Anne Marie Armstrong, who was named Miss Georgia Basketball, leads the way. Armstrong had 19 points in the team’s second-round thrashing of Darlington. Her running mate is junior guard Erin Hall, who scored 18 points against Towns County in the quarterfinal round. Wesleyan’s offense is averaging 82 points per game in the playoffs, while the defense is allowing an average of just 29. 

Savannah Country Day Hornets vs. Southwest Atlanta Christian Warriors 

Savannah Country Day is led by senior standout Katherine Dotson, who has stepped up in the playoffs, most recently drilling 31 points in the quarterfinal win over Hancock Central. Dotson receives help from Melissa Burkhamer (17 points and seven assists vs. Hancock Central). The Hornets are 28-3 this season and have not lost since a 55-50 overtime defeat to Savannah Christian on Jan. 27. This will be Savannah Country Day’s second trip to the Final Four in three years. 

Southwest Atlanta Christian won Region 5 but somehow flew under the radar all season long. Head coach Jackie Ransom’s team has the worst record of any team remaining in the draw at 17-12, but the team is hot when it matters the most. The Warriors have reached the semis with a 66-55 victory over Social Circle, preceded by a pair of three-point wins: 52-49 in overtime over Paideia and 56-53 over Trion. Mariah Chandler, who recorded 30 points and 15 rebounds against Social Circle, leads the way for the Warriors.

These reports were compiled by Josh Bagriansky (5A), Derek Wiley (4A), Ricky Dimon (3A), Rajesh Gupta (2A), and Fletcher Proctor (A).