Final Four Recaps

Class AAAAAA

R3 #1 Westlake 64, R2 #1 Newton 59: No. 2 Westlake trailed No. 8 Newton for most of the game before a 12-5 run closed out the Rams. Chuma Okeke was the difference maker down the stretch for Westlake scoring a team-high 22 points. Jamie Lewis scored 18 points and made big free throws while Danny Lewis (11) and Ronald Bell (10) both cracked double figures. Junior JD Notae led Newton with 22 points. Freshman Ashton Hagans and Jaquan Simms scored 12 apiece while Josh Tukes netted 11. Newton loses just one key starter to graduation and will return big man Dre Butler who missed the second half of the season with a knee injury after leading the team in rebounding.

R3 #2 Pebblebrook 77, R5 #2 Milton 70: Collin Sexton went off for a game-high 35 points to lift No. 7 Pebblebrook to their second straight state championship game where they will meet No. 2 Westlake for the fourth time this season, losing their previous three meetings. Jared Harper for a second consecutive night was keyed in on by the opposing defense and held to 11 points, but this time it was Ole Miss-commit JJ Smith stepping up big with nine of his 20 points in the fourth quarter while Dwight Murray scored 10 on the night. Kenderick Summerour led Milton with 18 points. Harvard signee Chris Lewis finished his high school career with 16 points. Sophomore Justin Brown chipped in 15 points and junior Alex O’Connell was held to 13.

Class AAAAA

R5 #1 Allatoona 48, R8 #1 Cedar Shoals 46: Somehow, someway, No. 2 Allatoona found a way to stay undefeated and make another trip back to Macon. Michael Johnson’s 10 points off the bench sparked Allatoona trailing 29-26 before pouring in eight straight points in the third quarter to take a 34-29 lead over No. 4 Cedar Shoals. None of Johnson’s points were bigger than his two free throws with five seconds left to stun the Jaguars after it looked like Ephraim Tshimanga may have double dribbled while in traffic breaking the press leading to the dish to Johnson where he was fouled. Trey Doomes fouled out with 1:59 remaining and Allatoona up 44-43. Phlan Fleming quickly took advantage on the other end with a tough And-1 reverse layup to take a 45-44 lead, but he missed the free throw. Jerrick Mitchell scored a team-high 15 points and collected three rebounds and three steals for Cedar Shoals, but he could only split a pair of free throws with 1:07 left leaving the door open for Allatoona down 46-44. Coastal Georgia signee Kevin Perry attacked the hole and got hacked, sinking his two free throws giving him a game-high 15 points to tie the game at 46 with 24.6 seconds left and Doomes’ 13 points sitting on the bench. Snipe Hall was fouled with 14 seconds remaining driving baseline but missed the front end of a 1-and-1.  The Buccaneers raced the ball up the floor with Tshimanga and he found Johnson on the right side where he was fouled and calmly sank both free throws. Cedar Shoals’ last look came on a drive and dish corner three, but the shot hit the back iron and bounced out, sending Allatoona back to Macon. Tshimanga scored just four points but grabbed eight rebounds, dished out six assists and collected five steals. Fleming finished with 11 points, six rebounds and four steals.

R6 #1 Miller Grove 72, R4 #1 McIntosh 52: No. 1 Miller Grove proved why it had been ranked No. 1 all year long with a sound defeat of a powerful No. 3 McIntosh team that uncharacteristically struggled to finish inside and missed 13 free throws. A wild first quarter saw McIntosh open the game with a pair of technical free throws after the Wolverines were penalized for dunking pregame. The Chiefs avoided their usual slow start and entered the second quarter tied at 20 but from there it was too much Alterique Gilbert, Aaron Augustin and Raylon Richardson as they unrelentingly attacked the rim and buried outside looks. Miller Grove made seven three-pointers including five in the opening period. The McDonalds All-American and UConn signee Gilbert finished with 21 points, eight rebounds, three assists and four steals. Augustin poured in 18 points, three rebounds and four assists, but the X-factor was Richardson who totaled 17 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks while outplaying Wofford signee Dishon Lowery and Chase Walter inside, an area where the Chiefs had the advantage on paper. Joshua Jackmon slowed down Will Washington, the catalyst of McIntosh’s offense. Washington managed just eight points, five rebounds and four assists while tagging on two blocks. All-time leading scorer Jordan Lyons pumped in 21 points in the final game of his historic career. Lowery added 11 points and 11 rebounds while Walter just two points, 11 rebounds and two blocks. Braxton Shaw provided a lift off the bench with two threes and four rebounds but it wasn’t enough to stop Miller Grove from marching back to its second home, Macon, where they face arguably the state’s best defense in No. 2 Allatoona.

Class AAAA

R3 #1 Liberty County 81, R6 #2 Lithonia 68: No. 2 Liberty County raced out to a 16-0 lead stunning the bigger No. 4-ranked Bulldogs and never looked back. Auburn-commit junior guard Davion Mitchell ignited the Panther offense by pouring in a game-high 33 points. Running mate Richard LeCounte, a 5-star UGA football-commit, added 19 as a part of the state’s best junior duo. Will Richardson continued to be a reliable third piece for Coach Julian Stokes, scoring 10 on the night. Lithonia received a team-high 24 from Tyheem Freeman. Jacara Cross added 16 and UTC signee Rodney Chatman netted 12. With the win, Liberty County will now play two-time defending state champion No. 1 Jonesboro, who ended the Panthers’ season 71-43 lat year in the Final Four.

R4 #1 Jonesboro 77, R6 #1 Grady 49: Region 6 got a taste of its own medicine for once this year, taking it on the chin in both semifinal games instead of dealing out the damage like they had all season long. No. 3 Grady’s Bucknell-commit Avi Toomer finished with 17 points in his final game but it wasn’t enough to stop MJ Walker and Tariq Jenkins who both netted 22 points. Eric Lovett added 10. Tykwaan Bryant scored 12 in the loss. No. 1 Jonesboro looks to become the first Class AAAA team to three-peat since Miller Grove did back from 2009-12 before a sixth classification was added and bumped them up to AAAAA.

Class AAA

R8 #1 Morgan County 64, R4 #3 South Atlanta 61: Florida Atlantic signee DeVorious Brown splashed in a three-pointer with one-second left to break No. 6 South Atlanta’s heart and send No. 1 Morgan County to the state championship for the third straight year after trailing the entire game. The Hornets jumped out of the gates quickly, taking an 8-0 lead right away. The Bulldogs regained their footing and trailed 11-8 at the end of one. Just as it seemed Coach Jamond Sims’s Bulldogs shook off their early daze, the Hornets stung them again and sent them into the half down 33-19. South Atlanta extended its lead to 40-25 and looked ready to punch its ticket to Macon, but Jailyn Ingram, Jordan Ford and Alec Woodard had other ideas as they began a furious comeback. A 13-4 run saw Morgan County slice the lead to a 44-38 deficit entering the fourth quarter. The Bulldogs continued to make runs at the Hornets but South Atlanta clung on. Morgan County tied it twice and finally surged ahead with 48.4 seconds left taking a 56-55 lead. Woodard, a freshman, sank two free throws to make it 58-55 with 26.7 seconds remaining before Frank Bailey nailed a three in the corner with seven seconds left to tie it at 58. Morgan County raced down the floor and Woodard hit Brown for the game-winner. Brown finished with just four points but hit the biggest shot of the night. Ingram added 14, Ford scored a team-high 22 and Woodard netted 18 including 12 in the fourth quarter, a perfect 10-for-10 from the line. South Atlanta’s balanced attack saw Orlando Bebee (13), Devonta Pullins (11), Artavious Banks (10) and Korbian Bell (8) all play well for Coach Michael Reddick. Both the boys and girls Morgan County teams will play for the Class AAA state title.

R1 #1 Jenkins 68, R4 #1 Cedar Grove 59: A late rally couldn’t prevent a date with destiny. No. 5 Jenkins will now face No. 1 Morgan County in a rematch of last year’s heart-stopping 62-60 champion in which Eric Johnson floated up a left handed layup with seconds left to crown Jenkins state champions. The Warriors took control early in their game with No.8 Cedar Grove and cruised to a 35-20 halftime lead behind Dimitri Chambers and Trevion Lamar’s 10 points apiece. Cedar Grove began its crawl back into the game by outscoring the Warriors 20-14 in the third quarter and closed to 62-59 after a 6-0 run with 3:20 left, but the Warriors closed the game on a 6-0 run of their own to punch their ticket back to Macon. Lamar and Chambers both finished with a game-high 21. Cedar Grove received 19 points from Makale Carter, 18 from Antonio Reeves and 10 from Devon Barnes.

Class AA

R5 #1 Manchester 63, R4 #2 Monticello 53: The Hurricane finally blew over and No. 10 Manchester punched its ticket to Macon. Demarcus Addie went for a game-high 22 points while Jah’Nile Hill added 14 to win the war of the backcourts. Cadarian Brown netted 11 in the win. For Monticello, Ashton Bonner (12), RJ Whitlock (11) and De’Miria Glover (10) led the charge for Coach BJ Thomas.

R6 #1 Pace Academy 61, R4 #1 Crawford County 51: It’s starting to look like no one is getting in No. 3 Pace Academy’s way. Isaiah Kelly finished with 21 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks against a tough No. 2 Crawford County frontline. Wendell Carter Jr. hurt his big toe but still finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds. The high-scoring combination of William Jarrell and Marcal Knolton was held to 11 and 12 points respectively. Pace looks for its first title ever while No. 10 Manchester seeks its second, the Blue Devils’ first coming in 2007.

Class A-Private

#1 Greenforest 78, #4 Stratford Academy 62: It wasn’t easy, but eventually No. 1 Greenforest pulled away from No. 5 Stratford. John Ogwuche finished with 27 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Justin Forrest added 24 points and six assists. Jandan Duggan chipped in 12 points and five assists off the bench as a third option as part of an already dangerous backcourt. Stratford Academy’s all-time leading scorer Quintez Cephus went out with a bang with 34 points. O’Showen Williams netted 12 and James Mitchell nine.

#2 St. Francis 81, #6 Whitefield Academy 58: The rubber match of this bitter rivalry didn’t go so well for No. 8 Whitefield Academy as No. 2 St. Francis continued to peak at the right time. Three players scored 20+ for Coach Drew Catlett, something Knights fan go used to seeing last year with Malik Beasley (FSU), Kaiser Gates (Xavier) and Kobi Simmons (Arizona). Simmons netted 24 while Anthony Showell added 22 and Chance Anderson 23. Florida A&M signee Brendon Myles went for 23 and Isaiah Hart tallied 21 for the Wolfpack but it wasn’t enough to keep St. Francis from taking another trip to Macon where they will try to defend their state title against No. 1 Greenforest, who they beat 96-81 a year ago.

Class A-Public

#5 Wilkinson County 69, #1 Treutlen 56: Seven-time state champion No. 1 Wilkinson County built an 18-10 lead at the end of the first quarter and continued adding to the lead as they defeated the top-seeded No. 3 Vikings for a return to the A-Public championship in Macon. Wilkinson County took a 35-27 lead into the half and outscored Treutlen 12-10 in the third quarter to increase the lead to double-digits (47-37). In the final frame, Wilkinson County added a 22-19 edge. Wilkinson County will face Hancock Central for the third time this season in the A-Public final. Wilkinson opened its season with a 68-55 win over the Bulldogs but lost the second meeting at Hancock Central 70-62 on Jan. 9.

#7 Hancock Central 68, #2 Turner County 66: It was a wild finish at Valdosta State as the No. 4 Hancock Central boys held off No. 2 Turner County 68-66 for a spot in the A-Public state championship. Hancock Central led 49-46 entering the final quarter, which proved to be a fight to the finish. Phillipe Scott was the hero for Hancock Central as he beat the press, crashed the boards, controlled the pace at the foul line and included the game-winner with eight seconds left. Scott made 8-of-13 attempts from the foul line and netted 10 of Hancock Central’s 19 pints in the final quarter. Hancock Central took a 66-60 lead after a pair of Scott foul shots as just 44 seconds remained on the clock. Deandre Pierce drilled a 3-pointer to cut it to 66-63 and then Scott was fouled but missed both attempts to keep Turner County within a possession. Pierce hit a corner 3-pointer on the next possession, tying it up 66-66 with 14 seconds left. Neither team had a timeout left so Scott took the inbounds and dribbled straight to the rim where he drew the foul and hit the game-winning basket. Scott missed the free-throw but Turner County could not convert with eight seconds left as a desperation shot came up feet short of the rim. Hancock Central meets No. 1 Wilkinson County in an all Region 7 championship.

Elite Eight Day 2 Recaps

Class AAAAAA

R5 #2 Milton 94, R3 #3 Campbell 83: The Eagles held off an explosive Campbell team that rallied from down 66-47 to make it 84-83 game in the fourth. Harvard signee Chris Lewis proved to be too big inside for the smaller Spartans to handle as he posted a triple-double with 22 points, 14 rebounds and 11 blocks while adding on five assists. Kyrin Galloway, the second part of Coach Matt Kramer’s twin towers, chipped in 19 points. Alex O’Connell led Milton in scoring with 27 and Kendrick Summerour netted 13. Campbell didn’t go down without a fight. Senior guard Mike Olmert ignited the comeback with 39 points, 25 in the second half with 15 coming in the fourth quarter. The Spartans also received 20 points from Tyree Crankfield and 18 from Laz Walker in their final games.

R3 #2 Pebblebrook 78, R4 #1 McEachern 71: No. 5 McEachern held Auburn signee Jared Harper to just 11 points, a recipe for success, but they didn’t account for sophomore Dwight Murray who went off for a career-high 23 points to help carry the load as the No. 7 Falcons soared past the Indians.  Instead of Collin Sexton and Harper combining for 50 points it was Murray who added onto Sexton’s 27 points. JJ Smith chipped in 10 points. Darius Jones scored a team-high 21 for the Indians. Freshman Isaac Okoro pitched in 16 points while Tre People (13) and Bryce Smith (10) both cracked double figures. Pebblebrook now takes on unranked Milton in the Final Four.

Class AAAAA

R6 #1 Miller Grove 66, R5 #2 South Paulding 41: A slow start resulting in a 19-8 first quarter proved to be too much for No. 8 South Paulding to knock off No. 1 Miller Grove. The Wolverines stifled the Spartans with their defense, holding them to 28% shooting and 2-of-17 from behind the arc. Kane Williams was the only source of constant offense for Coach Gil Davis, scoring 20 points while Ja’Cori Wilson struggled with foul trouble and scored just six. McDonalds All-American and UConn signee Alterique Gilbert was held to just four made field goals, but still finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Coach Sharman White’s balance overwhelmed South Paulding. Tae Hardy (11), Colin Young (10), Joshua Jackmon (9) and Raylon Richardson (7) all hurt the Spartans with their shot making.

R4 #1 McIntosh 65, R7 #1 Riverwood 59: Slow starts have been a trend lately for No. 3 McIntosh, but the Chiefs woke up just in time to break No. 5 Riverwood’s heart after trailing 42-27 at the half. The Raiders jumped out to a 14-1 lead and drilled 10 threes in the first 16 minutes to stun McIntosh. Elijah Jenkins splashed in five threes on the night to lead the outside barrage and finished with 15 points and four assists. Furman signee Jordan Lyons scored 18 of his team-high 24 in the first half to give McIntosh a heartbeat. In the third quarter the Chiefs turned the tables on a Riverwood team known for its grinding defense, holding the Raiders to just four points while scoring 20 of their own to gain a 47-46 lead heading into the fourth. A pitch ahead from Dishon Lowery to Chase Walter for a dunk with 28 seconds left was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Will Washington scored 17 points in the win and helped spark the rally in the third quarter. Kohl Roberts ended his career with another monster game posting 16 points, 14 rebounds, five assists, two steals and two blocks. Pryce Watkins added seven points and Charnchai Chantha tallied seven assists in the loss. The Chiefs get their long awaited meeting with No. 1 Miller Grove in the Final Four.

Class AAAA

R6 #1 Grady 54, R1 #1 Westover 52: No. 3 Grady keeps finding ways to win. This time it was Bucknell-bound Avi Toomer hitting a reverse lay-up at the buzzer to stun Westover. Toomer was on and off the court with foul trouble and only scored seven points on the night. Javier Russell stepped up with 15 points, ten over his average, and DJ Brittian added 13. Westover was led by Alec Williams’ 17 points and freshman Jordan “Snow” Brown’s 10.

R4 #1 Jonesboro 57, R6 #4 St. Pius 37: Intense defense and a keen focus on Kerney Lane helped No. 1 Jonesboro blow past No. 8 St. Pius. MJ Walker Jr. scored a game-high 18 points and Jamari Smith scored 14 to lift the Cardinals. After Lane’s 26-point outburst in a 67-57 Sweet 16 loss to Jonesboro a year ago, Coach Daniel Maehlman made sure that Laney wouldn’t get hot. Defenders constantly draped Lane and held him to just 10 points along with fellow senior Christian Merrill who scored 10 as well. No. 1 Jonesboro faces No. 3 Grady in a potentially electric Final Four matchup featuring two teams with lightning-quick guards.

Class AAA

R1 #1 Jenkins 84, R6 #1 Calhoun 78: No. 2 Calhoun (27-1) used a furious rally to close the gap with defending state champion No. 5 Jenkins (27-4) but the Warriors made just enough plays to hang on for a wild 84-78 victory and a trip back to the Final Four. Calhoun trailed 25-16 in the second quarter and trailed at the half 41-37 after Zion Williams of Jenkins made two free throws just before the buzzer. Trevion Lamar, one of the top juniors in the state, led Jenkins with nine first half points. Calhoun hung around thanks for senior Ray Reeves’ big first half, netting 13 points, 11 of which came in the second quarter. Early in the third, the Warriors caught fire from deep as they sank four three-pointers in a row sparked by Williams’ three during the stretch to take a 54-42 lead. The lead grew to 62-49 but Calhoun would not fold. Even after Jenkins outscored the Yellow Jackets 27-19 in the third, Calhoun kept its composure down 68-56. Coach Vince Layson’s veteran group sparked a wild 17-4 run capped by Jireh Wilson’s three-pointer to take a 73-72 lead with 4:28 left. Staggered but not knocked out, Jenkins turned to Lamar to steady the course. The junior scored 19 points, six of them in a row for Coach Bakari Bryant to regain an 80-75 lead with 46 seconds remaining. Before Lamar’s final bucket, Wilson and Malik Lawrence had a miscommunication up top resulting in a costly turnover with 1:12 left. Williams sank two free throws to make it 82-75, but Kaelan Riley drilled a straight away three to give Calhoun life with 26 seconds left down 82-78. Brian Brannen was sent to the line and coolly sank both free throws to put the game out of reach. Williams led all scorers with 21 points while Dimetri Chambers added 11. Lawrence and Chapin Rierson both netted 16 points for the Jackets. Riley finished with 15 in his final game.

R4 #1 Cedar Grove 58, R3 #2 Westside-Augusta 40: Sometimes home court advantage doesn’t work out, just ask No. 3 Laney and No. 9 Westside-Augusta, both eliminated in the Elite Eight. Even the Laney girls fell close to home to rival Morgan County. No. 8 Cedar Grove did exactly what it had to do: take the home crowd out of the game. The Saints did it early by racing out to a 15-5 lead in the first quarter. Cedar Grove elected to slow things down and went four corners with three minutes left in the second quarter and took a 25-15 lead into the half. While Elijah Brown battled with foul trouble inside for the Patriots, Westside continued to play hard and entered the fourth down 36-27. A lack of outside shooting ultimately did in the Patriots. Christian Robinson hit their first three of the game with 4:10 remaining but it was too late as Westside was already down 51-33. Jelani Woods powered Cedar Grove with 17 points. Robinson led the Patriots with 14 points while leading scorer Trez Hawes was held to two points in his final high school game. No. 8 Cedar Grove will get its shot at defending state champion No. 5 Jenkins in the Final Four.

Class AA

R6 #1 Pace Academy 75, R1 #1 Thomasville 48: All those national beatings No. 3 Pace Academy took way back in November and December all seem worth it now after the Knights demolished No. 1 Thomasville who looked disinterested in putting up a fight after a pair of Pace three-pointers in the third quarter broke the Bulldogs’ spirit. Trailing 33-24 at the half, Thomasville still looked like it had a chance to prove their No. 1 ranking. Instead Wendell Carter Jr. wrecked the Bulldog front line and turned the game into a laugher, 55-32 heading into the fourth. Carter finished with 26 points, 14 rebounds, 12 blocks, four assists and two steals, continuing to cement himself as the No. 1 ranked junior in the entire country. Big men Reggie Perry, Alex Perry and Titus Wright all struggled to put a dent in Carter and Isaiah Kelly inside. Kelly had 11 points and five rebounds while Zack Kaminsky added 14. It was Barrett Baker’s third quarter daggers that broke Thomasville’s morale. He finished with 17 points. Reggie Perry scored 16 in the loss while older brother Alex had 12.

R4 #1 Crawford County 61, R6 #4 Holy Innocents’ 51: The Golden Bears finally bowed out after a great run as a four-seed. No. 2 Crawford County proved it could win a low scoring game by escaping a tough Holy Innocents’ group. William Jarrell scored 17 points to lead the way. Monkeize Moore had 15 and Marcal Knolton had 14 points, 15 rebounds and five blocks. Brent Duncan posted a game-high 22 points for the Golden Bears inside. Cole Smith and Jules Erving scored 12 and 10 points respectively. No. 2 Crawford County puts its mettle to the test as they meet No. 3 Pace Academy who streaks into the Final Four.

Class A-Private

#6 Whitefield Academy 59, #3 Lakeview Academy 39: Tied at 22 going into the half, Isaiah Hart and Florida A&M signee Brendon Myles decided to take over. The duo combined for 46 of No. 8 Whitefield’s 59 points to advance to the Final Four. Myles scored a game-high 26 while Hart notched 20. The No. 6 Lions lose only one senior from this year’s 25-5 record setting team, Daniel Fadool, who finished his career with 10 points and seven assists. Carter Reeves posted eight points and eight rebounds. Tre Gober scored eight in the loss.

#2 St. Francis 105, #10 St. Anne-Pacelli 79: Too much size and too much talent did in a tough senior-led Viking team. Five-star Arizona-commit Kobi Simmons erupted for 44 points including three monstrous slams in the first quarter to set the tone. St. Anne-Pacelli could never cool off the No. 2 Knights. The Vikings fell behind early 9-0 and saw starting point guard Armon Prophet pick up three quick fouls trying to guard Simmons. Pacelli never quit and took a 53-38 deficit into the half while keeping the game respectable with their three-point shooting, but in the end Simmons along with Chance Anderson’s 21 points and 12 rebounds was too much to overcome. Anthony Showell and Wallace Tucker rounded out the balanced attack with 13 and 10 points respectively. Coach Alan Griffin’s top deep threat Triston Wells canned 28 points while leading scorer throughout the year Tre Sudberry tagged on 22. Prophet, the engine of the Viking offense, finished with 16 points. No. 2 St. Francis meets rival No. 8 Whitefield Academy for the third time this year after winning their first game 60-55 and losing the second 75-73.

Class A-Public

#3 Turner County 69, #6 Calhoun County 47: A new champion will be crowned in Class A-Public following No. 6 Calhoun County’s loss to No. 2 Turner County. Calhoun County gained control early and took a 20-16 lead at the end of the opening quarter. Reggie Ross picked up a third foul midway through the second quarter, however and the Cougars fell apart before the half. Calhoun County went scoreless the final 4:20 of the half and saw the lead evaporate and turn into a 35-25 halftime deficit. Turner County held a 46-40 lead at the end of the third quarter and piled on a 23-7 scoring edge in the final frame.

#7 Hancock Central 75, #2 Taylor County 66: So much for the power rankings. No. 4 Hancock Central broke open a 41-41 tie and outscored No. 5 Taylor County  34-25 in the fourth quarter to advance to Saturday’s Class A-Public semifinals where Turner County awaits . Hancock Central led 30-25 at the half before Taylor County tied it with a 16-11 advantage in the period. Alex Brooks was one of four Hancock players that finished in double-figures as he paced the Bulldogs with a team-high 22 points. Teammates Devojia Tucker netted 14 points, Martravious Smith finished with 13 and Phillipe Scott chipped in 12. The Bulldogs battle with Tammarion Terry and the Rebels in the Final Four.

Elite Eight Day 1 Recaps

Class AAAAAA

R3 #1 Westlake 44, R8 #1 Shiloh 43: No. 6 Shiloh was able to control the tempo and play a grinding defensive game, but in the end No. 2 Westlake found a way to hold on. Jamie Lewis scored 13 points and added three assists in the defensive battle to lead the Lions. Chuma Okeke didn’t have his usual offensive output, but still contributed seven points, eight rebounds and four blocks. Shiloh received 13 points from Dejon Waters and a big game from TJ Massenburg defensively posting four points, 13 rebounds and five blocks.

 R2 #1 Newton 71, R8 #4 Grayson 52: It was Coach Rasmussen’s Rams that ended Cinderella Grayson’s run in the Elite Eight. As they have all year long, No. 8 Newton’s trio of guards powered the Rams into the Final Four. JD Notae poured in 23 points and nine rebounds. Freshman Ashton Hagans filled the stat sheet with 16 points, six rebounds, seven assists and four steals. The third musketeer, senior Jaquan Simms, put up 15 points. Josh Tukes finished with 10 points and seven rebounds. Coach Geoffrey Pierce’s dynamic duo of seniors Alphonso Willis and Austin Dukes finished with 24 and nine points respectively.

Class AAAAA

R8 #1 Cedar Shoals 66, R6 #3 Mays 45: The Jaguars dispatched of Mays with ease on their way to the Final Four where they will meet undefeated No. 2 Allatoona. No. 4 Cedar Shoals road another devastatingly balanced attack paced by Phlan Fleming’s 16 points. Jerrick Mitchell added 12 from his point guard position. Chris Gresham and Greg Smith scored nine and eight points respectively.

R5 #1 Allatoona 56, R6 #2 Southwest DeKalb 44: They say defense wins championships. Or at least undefeated No. 2 Allatoona hopes they do as the Buccaneers moved their record to a perfect 30-0 with another dazzling defensive performance. Trey Doomes and Ephraim Tshimanga were the catalysts and added to their resume of being possibly the state’s most underrated backcourt tandem. Doomes finished with 13 points, seven rebounds, four assists and three steals. Tshimanga, not to be outdone, flirted with a quadruple-double tallying eight points, 12 rebounds, eight assists and eight steals. Kevin Perry netted 10 points and garnered two steals of his own. Dylon Ramsey added on nine points, four rebounds and three steals. Southwest DeKalb held a 10-6 lead after the first period before Allatoona clamped down and hit some shots. In the loss Keith Gilmore scored 22 points and TiQuan Lewis 13 in their final games. No. 2 Allatoona meets No. 4 Cedar Shoals in a star-studded matchup in which both teams preach balance over singular play.

Class AAAA

R3 #1 Liberty County 71, R1 #3 Monroe 61: Once again No. 2 Liberty County proved that they are not anything to mess with. Auburn-commit Davion Mitchell went off for 29 points in addition to Richard LeCounte’s 18. Third-option Will Richardson netted 12 to balance the Panthers’ offense. Emeshaun Offord scored 24 in his final game. K’Naurtica George chipped in 16 and Napoleon Harris finished with 12.

R6 #2 Lithonia 55, R5 #1 Sandy Creek 53: No. 4 Lithonia survived a last second shot attempt to hold off No. 10 Sandy Creek in a very evenly matched game. Jacara Cross played well inside with 13 points, eight rebounds and three blocks. UTC signee Rodney Chatman finished with 12 points, five rebounds and five assists. Tyheem Freeman went for a team-high 16 points while Tyleen Patterson chipped in seven points and eight rebounds. Lithonia will now meet No. 2 Liberty County in the Final Four.

Class AAA

R4 #3 South Atlanta 92, R2 #1 Central-Macon 79: No. 6 South Atlanta (25-6) had the task of slowing down red-hot No. 4 Central-Macon (27-3), who entered as winners of 20-straight out of Region 2. Led by senior Derrick Evans Jr. and juniors Anterious McCoy and Kentrevious Jones, the Chargers had been rolling for months. South Atlanta tripped up in the Region 4 tournament and fell to the three-seed, but that didn’t mean much as the Hornets stung Central-Macon for a 92-79 win, advancing to the Final Four for the first time since 2013. South Atlanta jumped out to a 10-4 lead with 5:49 remaining in the first quarter before taking a 21-19 lead into the second quarter of the track meet. The Chargers went on an 8-0 run to knot the game at 23, but a quick 7-0 answer from Coach Michael Reddick’s team answered the bell and put the Hornets back in front 30-23. The Chargers struggled to contain the explosive offense of South Atlanta that began draining nearly every shot they threw up, led by Devonta Pullins who scored a team-high 20 on the night. At the half, it was the Hornets with a 43-30 lead. The bright spot for Central-Macon came in the form of 6-foot-11, 280-pound junior Kentrevious Jones. The big man posted a 16-point 12-rebound double-double in the first half, but sloppy play and an inability to get stops on defense neutralized his overall effect. Jones dealt with foul trouble in the second half but still finished with 23 points and 20 rebounds. South Atlanta took advantage while Jones had to sit on the bench and play careful with his foul count. The Hornets began to push the lead out, taking a 53-37 edge with just over five minutes to play and a 66-43 lead before settling with a 70-51 mark heading into the fourth quarter. To begin the final frame, the Chargers started to show signs of life led by their senior captain Evans. The guard ripped off 7-straight points to make it 70-58 with six minutes left. Central closed to 77-67 while Evans led a late rally, finishing with 23 points, six rebounds and four assists, but in the end the Hornets were able to seal the game from the line as Devontae Dean sank 7-of-8 free throws during a stretch in the fourth to move onto Saturday’s semifinals. McCoy finished with 22 points and eight rebounds but the injury to Rakwon Iverson proved costly. Iverson entered averaging 14 points per game and was the team’s best on-ball defender. He hurt his knee in the first quarter and was never 100% the rest of the way.

R8 #1 Morgan County 55, R3 #1 Laney 50: No. 1 Morgan County took the rubber match with No. 3 Laney after the Wildcats rallied to win Round 1, 65-64 and later losing to the Bulldogs 65-63. Not only did Morgan County take the series deciding third game, they also swept the Wildcats as the girls team took care of business as well 62-53. The Bulldogs’ size caused problems for the smaller Wildcats. Florida Atlantic signee Jailyn Ingram pumped in a game-high 24 points while teammate and fellow FAU signee DeVorious Brown added 12. Laney led 27-26 at the half but the Bulldogs quickly ate away at their lead. Morgan County took a 39-34 advantage into the fourth quarter and were able to hold on. College of Charleston signee Zep Jasper scored 17 in his final game, but leading scorer and Charleston Southern signee Christian Keeling, who averages over 23 points per game, was held to just five on the night. No. 1 Morgan County will see No. 6 South Atlanta in the Final Four.

Class AA

R5 #1 Manchester 70, R6 #2 Lovett 56: No. 6 Lovett led after one 18-13, but the tables quickly turned as No. 10 Manchester used a 21-6 second quarter to gain all the separation they needed to advance to the Final Four. Demarcus Addie exploded for 30 points to lead the Blue Devils. Backcourt mate Jah’Nile Hill netted 13. Henry Richardson and Ryan Greer both scored 15 points in the loss for Lovett. Manchester now takes on Monticello for a trip to Macon.

R4 #2 Monticello 79, R3 #1 Dublin 67: Monticello held down the state’s highest scoring team to nearly 20 points below their average to punch a ticket to the Final Four. CJ Adams and Dee Glover had monster double-doubles for Coach BJ Thomas. Adams finished with 20 points and 15 rebounds while Glover posted 18 points and 16 boards. Ashton Bonner added 19 points and Jordan Stone collected his own double-double with 14 points and 11 assists.

Class A-Private

 #1 Greenforest 78, #9 Tattnall Square 48: No. 1 Greenforest continued its world tour of dominance, this time ending No. 9 Tattnall Square’s season without breaking a sweat. Justin Forrest busted out for 26 points and six assists to lead the Eagles. Abayomi Iyiola posted 14 points and seven boards while John Ogwuche added 13 points and four assists. Ikey Obiagu swatted seven shots and Precious Ayah, a Miami (OH) commit, chipped in six points and 10 rebounds. Calvin Slaughter scored 12 points to pace the Trojans. Jimmy Marshall and Aubrien Kemp both netted 11.

#4 Stratford Academy 67, #5 North Cobb Christian 57: No. 3 North Cobb Christian’s Demiere Brown popped in three straight buckets to jump the Eagles out to a 15-2 lead over No. 5 Stratford, but slowly and steadily Coach Jamie Dickey’s group from Macon marched back into the game. Stratford still trailed 33-28 at the half before James Mitchell hit back-to-back threes after starting out ice cold in the first quarter, to give the Eagles their first lead of the game 34-33 with 5:14 to play in the third. O’Showen Williams canned a three at the buzzer to take a 48-41 lead into the fourth quarter giving Stratford all the momentum and they would hold on, advancing to play No. 1 Greenforest in the Final Four. Williams scored a team-high 27 while Wisconsin football signee Quintez Cephus added nine points and 13 rebounds. Mitchell finished with 16 points and helped spark the Eagles to a team effort of 11 three-pointers. Brown led North Cobb Christian with 31 points. Will Crumly ended his night with 11 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks while brother Jonny grabbed 14 rebounds.

Class A-Public

#1 Treutlen 62, #8 Hawkinsville 55: Hawkinsville controlled the tempo for much of the game before the floodgates opened and No. 3 Treutlen began to run wild, taking their first lead since the first quarter early into the fourth on a Titus Benjamin hoop. Benjamin, Elijah Johnson and big man T.K. McLendon all made just enough plays down the stretch to get past the Red Devils. For Hawkinsville, brothers Desmond and Javon Singletary played well. CJ Smith hit some shots also. Curtis Holmes fouled out.

#5 Wilkinson County 76, #13 Lincoln County 39: No. 1 Wilkinson County proved it was much better than its five-seed as they destroyed No. 10 Lincoln County, ending the upstart Red Devils’ best season in decades. The Warriors’ size in the paint was too much for Lincoln County, blocking 20 shots. Zach Crite was denied the ball, disrupting Coach Wesley Wuchte’s offense. The Red Devils jumped out to a 9-4 lead but after that it was all WilCo, the 7-time state champs. Aaron Geter III scored a game-high 12 points for Wilkinson. Clarence Jackson (10), Jonathan Baehre (9) and Tylan Grable (8) all chipped in. Ahmad Rand finished his junior season with 11 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks in the loss. Crite added seven and Devon Holloway pitched in eight points.

Class A-Public Elite Eight Preview

#1 Treutlen (25-3) vs. #8 Hawkinsville (17-9)

No. 3 Treutlen’s only Class A-Public loss came to defending state champion No. 6 Calhoun County on Jan. 23, 66-51. The Vikings have dominated in southeast Georgia the past three years but are still in search of their first title. Region 3 hasn’t provided Treutlen with the toughest competition, making the Vikings still a bit of a question mark even with their great record. Seniors Titus Benjamin and Elijah Johnson are among Coach Tyree Coney’s top two scoring options. The Vikings put up over 80 points per game and have blown out nearly everybody they have beaten. Hawkinsville, who rose as high as No. 4 in the state earlier in the year, uses a contrasting style which should be a good test for the Vikings. The Red Devils allow just 55 points per game and will try to slow things up. Junior CJ Smith and freshman Javon Singletary have helped turn an 11-14 team into an Elite Eight participant. The Red Devils escaped Central-Talbotton 59-57 in round one.

#5 Wilkinson County (23-6) vs. #13 Lincoln County (17-7)

Throw out the seedings on this one. Wilkinson is ranked No. 1 in the state while Lincoln County comes in at No. 10, but has risen as high as No. 5 during the season. Some of the best big men in the classification will meet in this Elite Eight tussle. Lincoln County has made strides this season after a 10-11 mark a year ago thanks to 6-foot-7 junior Ahmad Rand and Head Coach Wesley Wuchte. The Red Devils made history in the first round winning their first playoff game in over 20 years, rallying to beat No. 7 Randolph-Clay 87-79 in overtime. The Red Devils came back from down 11 with 1:57 left. Rand collected another triple-double with 24 points, 20 rebounds and 15 blocks and hit a free throw with two seconds left to send the game to overtime. Rand has slowly become a household name, averaging a triple-double on the season with his explosive leaping ability. Zach Crite is a well-built guard that can get past his man and finish at the basket. He scored 29 in round one. Devon Holloway is a bull in a china shop inside, throwing his body around and working the high post with patience. He chipped in 14 in the win. Maciah Gunby runs the offense with Ty Elam providing a spark offensively and Zae Gartrell tabbed as Coach Wuchte’s defensive stopper. Rand and company will be challenged going up against Class A-Public’s largest frontline. Jonathan Baehre is a skilled 6-foot-9 forward while Greg Couson is a bruising 6-foot-7 junior forward that will test Rand’s toughness. Clarence Jackson is an aggressive 6-foot-5 wing that averages over 13 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists per game. So do the Red Devils have any hope against the 7-time state champs? Take into account that No. 4 Hancock Central split the season series with WilCo, taking a 70-62 victory in meeting number two. Lincoln County lost to Hancock by five in their first meeting before beating the then No. 1 Bulldogs 61-59 at Lincoln, the first time in over 25 years that the Red Devils beat the Dogs on the hardwood.

#3 Turner County (22-6) vs. #6 Calhoun County (18-9)

No. 2 Turner County meets reigning champs No. 6 Calhoun County in Valdosta. After a slow start, Tasha Kimble has controlled the reigns of the Rebels in her first year as both the girls and boys head coach at Turner County. Tammarion Terry is a beast inside averaging 20.2 points and 13.3 rebounds. He doesn’t have the size as other bigs across the state (6-3), but he does have the heart and tenacity. Jarvis Hall (11.4 ppg), Deandre Pierce (8.4 ppg 5 rpg), Cedrick Leggett (7.9 ppg) and Briand Wynn (7.4 ppg) surround Terry as ancillary options. Turner County beat Calhoun County in their lone meeting this year 60-47 back on Jan. 9 in Ashburn. Back from Coach Marcus Shaw’s championship team are Rashun Williams, Jerrek Solite, Jalin Gray and Reginald Ross who all contribute in different ways. They will need to ride the momentum of their 57-47 win over No. 8 Clinch County in round one into the Elite Eight.

#7 Hancock Central (22-6) vs. #2 Taylor County (21-7)

What a raw deal for both programs as they have to meet in the Elite Eight. No. 4 Hancock Central will put No. 5 Taylor County’s two-seed to the test in what could be a toss-up game. Taylor County has put together a nice resume with wins over 4ANo. 5 Upson-Lee, St. Anne-Pacelli, Hawkinsville, Central-Talbotton and Macon County. They are active in the paint and attack every loose ball. Hancock battled through the deep Region 7 and finished the regular season with an 11-1 mark. Guards Alex Brooks and Devojia Tucker set up Coach Anthony Webb’s offense while Martravious Smith can either put it on the floor or shoot it. Brooks is the Bulldogs’ best three-point shooter and was a First Team All-Region selection along with power forward Phillipe Scott, who has injected a toughness and a scoring threat in the low post after missing the first half of the season due to grades. Dallis Meminger likes to mix it up on the glass as a junior center as well. Taylor County has three state titles to its name while Hancock has just one, coming in 2008. In the Region tournament, Hancock lost to 1A-PrivateNo. 5 Stratford Academy 59-53 before drilling 1A-PrivateNo. 9 Tattnall Square Academy, 72-53.

Class A-Private Elite Eight Preview

#1 Greenforest (27-2) vs. #9 Tattnall Square (18-9)

No. 1 Greenforest has held the top ranking in the state the entire season making them and 5ANo. 1 Miller Grove the only teams to do so. The Eagles have been ranked in the top 25 nationally and are regarded as the best team in the state regardless of classification, cementing that status in the opening two weeks of the season where at Holiday Hoopsgiving they destroyed 6ANo. 7 Pebblebrook 87-59 and 6ANo. 3 Norcross 77-48. The Eagles have the biggest frontcourt in the state and one of the tallest in the country with five-star junior center Ikey Obiagu (7-0), junior Abayomi Iyiola (6-10), sophomore Mohammed Abdulsalem (6-9), junior Victor Enoh (6-8) and 6-foot-7 senior Precious Ayah, who is committed to play at Miami (OH).  Obiagu is recognized as the best shot blocker in the nation. He swatted away 20 No. 4 Our Lady of Mercy shots in the Region 5 championship. As jaw dropping as first-year Head Coach Larry Thompson’s size is, its Greenforest’s guard play that makes them elite. Junior Justin Forrest leads the team in scoring at 19.5 per game while John Ogwuche, a New Hampshire signee, pitches in 13.6. The tandem work in perfect sync together up top and are always looking for each other in the open floor. Coach Jarvis Smith has a strong guard of his own in junior Calvin Slaughter. He poured in 30 points in a 55-47 win over 1A-PublicNo. 10 Lincoln County in the Region 7 tournament. He or Aubrien Kemp, who averages close to 18 points per game, will need to find the hot hand early if the Trojans want to hang around. Throughout the season No. 9 Tattnall Square Academy has shown an ability to play with the big boys, scoring wins over 1A-PublicNo. 1 Wilkinson County, No. 5 Stratford Academy, St. Anne-Pacelli and 2ANo. 9 Swainsboro before knocking off No. 7 SWAC 55-51 in the opening round.

#5 North Cobb Christian (23-4) vs. #4 Stratford Academy (20-5)

Both rosters may be completely different as Macon meets Kennesaw in what could be the game of the day in Class A-Private. No. 3 North Cobb Christian grabs a virtual home game as they welcome No. 5 Stratford who looks to make it back home and play in the Centreplex for all the marbles in another week. It is a rematch of Dec. 12th’s 69-52 North Cobb Christian victory. North Cobb Christian has length that causes other teams problems. Brothers Will and Jonny Crumly are both 6-foot-7. Will prefers to play on the perimeter and shoot threes. Demiere Brown has been the Eagles’ go-to scorer. The stout forward likes to rumble his way into the paint. He scored a team-high 22 points and grabbed nine rebounds in their opening round 71-50 win over Christian Heritage while Will Crumly added 13 points and nine rebounds. Point guard Nick Flemming is a key piece that gets Coach Greg Matta’s offense running. He missed time earlier in the season with an elbow injury but is fully healthy now. Flemming has missed the Eagles’ last four games due to disciplinary reasons while Kobe Wilson, a 6-foot-7 Alcorn State-commit, has a broken bone in his foot which has cut his senior season short.  If Flemming isn’t cleared to play against a powerful Stratford squad, the Eagles could be in trouble. Coach Jamie Dickey has a few horses of his own to rely on. Quintez Cephus is Stratford’s all-time leading scorer and a former Furman-commit before deciding to further his football career as a Wisconsin signee. O’Showen Williams and James Mitchell round out a high-scoring backcourt. Cephus went for 21 points in their 87-59 beat down of No. 10 Walker in the first round. North Cobb Christian will have to be ready for one of the state’s toughest blossoming big men, junior Nate Brooks. Brooks at 6-foot-7 did not play in their previous meeting. He is a force inside with his powerful dunks and ability to rebound. He pitched in a team-high 23 points against Harvard signee Robert Baker of Walker.

#3 Lakeview Academy (25-4) vs. #6 Whitefield Academy (19-10) 

No. 6 Lakeview Academy faces its toughest test all year long as they meet No. 8 Whitefield Academy. The Lions’ sexy record has come primarily against a weak Region 8. They played Hebron Christian for a fourth time this year in the first round of the state playoffs and had to use overtime to escape 82-76. Coach Todd Cottrell’s team is extremely balanced and shares the ball well with Daniel Fadool leading at point guard. Tre Gober and Drew Cottrell attack from the outside while Josh Randolph and Carter Reeves are usually tasked with hitting the glass and scoring inside the arc. Coach Cottrell will need to focus on stopping the two leaders of the Wolfpack, junior Isaiah Hart and senior Brendon Myles. Hart averages 20.1 points and 4.9 assists while the 6-foot-4 Myles plays bigger than his size, putting up 19.8 points and 11.4 rebounds a night. Whitefield has played against some of the state’s best and have even beaten a few such as No. 2 St. Francis 75-73 and Southwest DeKalb, 53-52. The key is to slow down Myles and Hart. Jimmy McCarthy and Tyson Jackson must be boxed out and not allowed to earn Whitefield any second chance points. Jackson is a 6-foot-7 sophomore that is beginning to take steps toward reaching his potential, averaging 7.0 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game.

#10 St. Anne-Pacelli (17-9) vs. #2 St. Francis (21-7)

If the Vikings can come out of the gates strong, this game has the makings of becoming a dog fight. If not, the Knights will overpower them. Two explosive guards will go head-to-head. No. 2 St. Francis’ highly touted five-star Arizona-commit Kobi Simmons averaging 26 per game against St. Anne-Pacelli’s Tre Sudberry, a rim-attacking guard posting 22.5 points while hitting 51% of his three-point attempts. Simmons isn’t the only option Coach Drew Catlett has. Anthony Showell has provided stability at point guard averaging 13.5 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.6 assists while 6-foot-7 forward Chance Anderson might be the most valuable asset aside from Simmons. The versatile big man has been an unsung hero with his ability to score, rebound and defend. He is also a very willing passer that knows when to get his guards the ball. He has scored 11.9 points and grabbed 8.6 rebounds a game his senior season. The Vikings, who were ranked for a majority of the year, will try to create mismatches with their dynamic backcourt. Triston Wells averages 16.5 points and can bury three-pointers, nailing 60% of his attempts. Armon Prophet mans the point and shares the ball as well as anyone in the state, putting up 14.5 points and 9.2 assists per game. The Vikings stunned No. 4 Our Lady of Mercy in round one 85-79. If Coach Alan Griffin’s team can get hot from three, they can ride their shooting to the Final Four. As a team they have made 166-of-316, good for a smokin’ 53%.

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