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GHSA State Championship Recaps

March 7 – Macon Centreplex

Class AA

Laney Wildcats basketball

(G) R4 #1 Laney 63, R4 #2 Josey 40 The Wildcats ripped off a 12-0 run after trailing 16-15 to find the cushion they needed to blow past Josey for a fifth time this season and win their second-straight state title and 62nd game in-a-row. Alabama-signee De’sha Benjamin was unstoppable with 19 of her game-high 26 points in the first half when it mattered most. She finished with 11 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks. Laney led 29-20 at the half, holding the Eagles to 22.7% shooting. Jhessyka Williams tacked on 19 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks. Jaiden Hamilton tallied 14 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists as the third head of the Wildcat attack. Josey finished just 29.5% from the field and 3-of-14 from deep. Tykedra Rolland (10) and Rhykeria Rolland (7) were held to 17 points total. Ebony Clark led the Eagles with 12 points and 7 rebounds.

Thomasville Bulldogs basketball

(B) R1 #1 Thomasville 66, R2 #3 Vidalia 31 It was a blood bath from the opening tip as the bigger and more athletic Bulldogs ran wild with a 13-0 start. Sloppy Indian ball-handling led to turnovers while lazy transition defense accounted for six Bulldog first half dunks. The Indians shot 4-of-24 from the field (16.7%) and 1-of-14 from deep in the opening half as the Bulldogs led 41-10 at the break. McDonald’s All-American and Mississippi State-bound forward Reggie Perry finished with 17 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 blocks. Vonterius Woolbright added 17 points, 7 assists and 3 rebounds. Titus Wright had 11 points, 5 rebounds and 2 blocks. Vidalia was led by Tahj Jones’ 10 points. The Indians finished 2-of-25 from three. Thomasville outscored Vidalia 40-20 in the paint and had 22 points off turnovers.

Class A-Public

Greenville Lady Patriots basketball

(G#4 Greenville 73, #3 Marion County 52:  While Marion County came out double-teaming reigning Class A-Public Player of the Year and Mississippi State-signee Brittany Davis, the rest of the Lady Patriots picked up the slack, helping Greenville grab a 21-10 first quarter lead and building it to 43-26 at the break. Davis finished with 30 points (5-20 FG; 19-20 FT) 11 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals and 1 block in her final game. Freshmen Shabrica Leslie and Jabrika Leslie came up big, Shabrica posting 14 points and 5 rebounds while Jabrika had 12 points. Nuriyah Slaton finished with 8 points, 16 rebounds and 5 steals. The Lady Patriots grabbed 24 offensive rebounds and put up 26 second-chance points. Greenville out-rebounded the bigger Eagles 54-46. Marion County was led by Torriunna Myers’ 15 points. Jameisha Williams chipped in 8 points. Ashley Whitley battled for 7 points, 18 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 blocks.

Wilkinson County Warriors basketball

(B) #3 Wilkinson County 71, #5 Montgomery County 68: The Blue Storm took over the Macon Centreplex again, as the Warriors completed the three-peat, captured their 10th state title in school history and their sixth in the last eight years. Wilkinson County survived a gutsy performance from senior wing Jahleel Wilson who nearly willed the Eagles past the Warriors who are now 10-0 in state title games. Wilson had 27 points, 6 rebounds and 6 blocks as he carried the Eagles. Daveaun Coglin finished with 19 points but shot 7-of-24 from the field while Shaw Robinson, who scored 22 in the Final 4, finished 2-of-11 from the field with 5 points. Wilkinson County showed they could play a fast pace game, running up and down with the Eagles in the first quarter, taking a 21-18 lead after one. The two teams entered the half tied at 38. 6-foot-6 senior center Tylan Grable came off the bench to give Wilkinson County 11 points and 14 rebounds. Montgomery County fell behind 62-54 at the 2:44 mark of the fourth quarter but Wilson powered the team back into it, getting help from Daquan Jackson who netted two late hoops. Robinson came away with a steal and a layup to cut the lead to 67-66 with 29.2 seconds left. Having to foul, the Eagles sent Raequan Smith and Brandon Mayes to the line, who went 4-for-4. With 10.7 seconds left, Coach Christopher Owens drew up a three-point look for Robinson, who struggled all night. The guard that averaged 19 points per game on the season, shot an air-ball, sealing the Eagles’ fate. Wilkinson County was paced by Jaylen Lamar’s efficient night, shooting 9-of-14 from the field for 22 points. Devin Jones chipped in 12 points and 4 assists in the win. Montgomery County out-shot the Warriors 72-to-50, but Wilkinson County sank 50% of their shots while Montgomery connected at a 36.1% clip and just 3-of-18 from three.

March 8 – Macon Centreplex

Class AAA

Johnson Atomsmashers girls basketball

(GR3 #2 Johnson-Savannah 62, R7 #1 GAC 50: The Atomsmashers atoned for last year’s state title game flop by locking down the paint and shutting down a potent GAC offense with three D-I commits. 6-foot-5 senior Giana Copeland swatted 7 shots in the first 6-plus minutes of the game and finished with 3 points, 12 rebounds and 12 blocks total.  GAC shot 1-of-15 in the first quarter and just 22.1% for the entire game.  Down 52-39 in the fourth quarter with 2:27 left, the Spartans finally made their move, sparking a 9-1 run to close to within 53-48 with 1:27 left. But from that point on, Bubbles Williams, J’Mya Cutter and Jasmine Thompson combined to go 9-of-10 from the line to ice it. Cutter finished with 19 points and 6 rebounds while Thompson added 13 points and 8 rebounds. Williams finished her career with 12 points and 4 assists. Caria Reynolds (Hofstra) led GAC with 13 points and 11 rebounds on 3-of-15 shooting. Taylor Sutton (MTSU) scored 12 points on 5-of-15 shooting and Wofford-bound forward Mary Martha Turner had 6 points and 18 rebounds. Kennedi Williams gave the Spartans a spark at guard with 10 points and 7 assists.

Greater Atlanta Christian basketball

(B) R7 #1 GAC 67, R3 #2 Jenkins 53: The Spartans turned a 25-20 halftime deficit into a state title under alumnus David Eaton. Ben Sheppard keyed a 24-point third quarter by sinking two of the Spartans’ four trifectas in the frame. Sheppard scored 8 of his 15 points in the quarter as the Spartans edged ahead with a 44-38 lead and would never trail again, bouncing back from a 15-1 run that gave Jenkins the lead at the half. Hunter McIntosh iced the game from the line in the fourth quarter, scoring 14 of his game-high 19 points in the final eight minutes including finishing 14-of-19 from the stripe. Michigan football-commit Chris Hinton piled in 12 of his 16 points in the second half and collected 4 rebounds and 4 assists in the process. Roy Dixon scored 13 points to help the cause. Jenkins was led by Sai Fisher’s 12 points and Mye’on Williams’ 11 points and 6 rebounds. Matthew Sams netted 10.


Buford Lady Wolves basketball

(G) R8 #1 Buford 60, R8 #2 Flowery Branch 49: Buford defeated Flowery Branch for the fourth time this season and seventh in the past two years as the Lady Wolves repeated as state champs and won their sixth title in school-history. Buford held Flowery Branch under the magic number of 50 — all three of the Wolves’ losses this season coming when they allowed over the half century mark. Michigan State-signee Tory Ozment poured in 15 of her game-high 28 points in the first half to go along with her 7 rebounds and 5 assists. Ebony Grant added 12 points. Flowery Branch was paced Alabama-signee Taniyah Worth who finished her career with 18 points, 14 rebounds and 4 assists before fouling out with 1:11 remaining down 60-48.  Caroline Wysocki struggled from the field going 1-of-7 to finish with 10 points.

Warner Robins Demons basketball

(B) R1 #1 Warner Robins 67, R5 #3 Miller Grove 64: In a tug-of-war game to finish a less than competitive week back at the Macon Centreplex, Jacolbey Owens drilled a three with 1.3 seconds left to give Warner Robins their first-ever state championship. Miller Grove got off to a hot start, up 15-6 in the first quarter behind eight quick Lorenzo Anderson points. At the end of one, the Wolverines held a 15-10 lead and kept Georgia State-commit Nelson Phillips scoreless. Phillips scored his first basket at the 5:31 mark with the Demons down 19-14 in the second quarter. At the half, Miller Grove maintained a slim 31-29 lead. While Phillips was 3-of-8 from the field, Jacolbey Owens led the charge with nine points but shot just 3-of-7 from the line. In the third quarter, Phillips flew in from the left baseline corner to throw down a one-handed put-back jam to push the Demon lead to 39-35. A Jaydon Norman layup capped a 12-2 run for Warner Robins, giving them a 43-35 lead at the 2:44 mark. The Demons carried a 51-44 advantage into the final frame, but Miller Grove would not go away. After a quiet third quarter, Anderson scored 8 of his team-high 19 points in the fourth. With 2:33 left on the clock, the Wolverines caught up to the Demons at 60-60. Owens was sent to the line where he was 3-of-10 at the time and as a team, Warner Robins was 18-of-32 at that point. Owens sank both free throws and did the same at the 1:54 mark to make it 64-60. The Demons finished 22-of-36 from the line (61.1%) while the Wolverines didn’t fare much better at 66.7% (16-of-24). Down four, Anderson got to the line and converted both attempts. Less than a minute late, Maurice Harvey, who finished with 14 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals, did the same, knotting the game up at 64 with 51 seconds remaining. The Demons held for one shot. Instead of getting the ball in the hands of star Nelson Phillips, who finished 6-of-15 for 16 points and 10 rebounds, Coach Jamaal Garman saw Owens control their destiny. Owens went to his left, pump faked, and sailed a three over the outstretched arm of TJ Stargell, drilling it — Warner Robins’ only made three of the game (1-for-11) — sending the crowd into a frenzy. Warner Robins went out to celebrate, but the Wolverines got a second chance at life, as the referees added 1.3 seconds back on the clock. Miller Grove’s final inbound heave was fumbled away, giving the Demons a state championship just 21 miles away from home. Owens finished with 24 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists. Jaydon Norman added 13 points and 5 rebounds. The Demons collected 18 points off turnovers and out-rebounded the larger Wolverines 43-to-36, grabbing 22 offensive rebounds. Miller Grove received 11 points from Terrence Edwards and 7 points, 7 rebounds and 2 assists from TJ Stargell.

March 9 – McCamish Pavilion

Class A-Private

Wesleyan Lady Wolves basketball

(G#6 Wesleyan 61, #1 Holy Innocents’ 44  After beating the Wolves three times in the regular season, Holy Innocents’ kryptonite rared its ugly head again on the biggest stage. After blowing a 17-point lead last year in the title game, this time the Golden Bears trailed through out and lost to Wesleyan for the third time in the past four state championships. The Wolves’ repeat was led by Furman-signee Sutton West’s 17 points and 8 rebounds. AC Carter had 14 points and 11 rebounds. Old Dominion-signee Amaya Register scored 12 points and freshman Paige Lyons added 10 points and 6 rebounds. UGA-signee Kaila Hubbard finished her Holy Innocents’ career with 18 points and 4 rebounds.  Jada Farrell  had 13 points and 9 rebounds while freshman Jillian Hollingshead tallied 5 points, 16 rebounds and 3 blocks. Kennedy Suttle, a Penn-signee that had 16 points and 13 rebounds in last year’s final, was held to 4 points and 7 rebounds. As a team, the Golden Bears shot a woeful 27.1% from the field.

(B) #6 Aquinas 65, #4 St. Francis 60: St. Francis missed three three-pointers in the final 33 seconds as Aquinas won their first-ever state title. The Knights led 33-26 at the half, weathering a 12-to-4 foul count and a 13-of-15 free throw shooting effort, but in the third quarter, the game came to a screeching halt. The Irish outscored St. Francis 25-to-9 in the third as both Tre Gomillion and Trent Bowdre scored 8 apiece in the quarter. As a team, the Irish connected on 10-of-12 field goals in the third after shooting 6-of-19 in the first half. Aquinas controlled a 51-42 lead heading into the fourth. Dwon Odom scored nine of his game-high 22 points in the quarter. At the 6:47 mark of the fourth quarter, the Irish held a 55-48 lead. The Knights fought back and cut the deficit to 61-60 after Odom collected a steal and drained a three-pointer in transition with 48.7 remaining. The Knights had Daniel Parrish trapped in the corner on the press, but were called for a foul that sent the South Carolina move-in to the line. Parrish missed the front-end of the one-and-one, giving the Knights one last look with 8.9 seconds showing on the clock. Coach Drew Catlett designed a misdirection play that found CJ Riley open in the corner for a good look, but his three-pointer was off and Parrish secured the rebound, knocked down both free throws and clinched the title. As a team, the Irish went 24-of-27 from the line. St. Francis opened up 15-7 in the first quarter going 4-of-9 from deep, but finished just 6-of-26 for the game. Gomillion led Aquinas with 16 points and 14 rebounds after having just four points at the half. Dajuan Hill added 15 points and 5 rebounds while Parrish (14) and Bowdre (10) each hit double figures. Riley finished with 18 points and 4 assists for the Knights. Chase Ellis was quiet with 10 points.


Lovejoy Lady Wildcats basketball

(G) R4 #1 Lovejoy 57, R6 #1 Harrison 41: Lovejoy used a 12-0 run to start the fourth quarter, outscoring the Lady Hoyas 23-to-5 to gain control and win their first-ever state title. After being held to 1-point in the first half, Genesis Bryant scored nine in the third quarter to spark the Wildcats, but Lovejoy still trailed 36-34. In the fourth quarter, it was fellow sophomore Anaya Boyd’s turn to carry the load. Boyd finished with 20 points and 5 rebounds, scoring nine in the fourth quarter. Bryant finished with 14 points. Avanna Preston scored 8 points while Kayla Brown collected 8 points, 13 rebounds and 2 blocks. The Wildcats cut down on their turnovers after committing 12 in the first half and finished with 16 on the night. Harrison turned it over 17 times, seven times in the second half. The Lady Hoyas were led by GCSU-signee Harper Vick’s 10 points and 4 assists. Sarah Woghiren had 8 points and 7 rebounds. Eastyn King and Amara Newsom each had 6 points. UAB-signee Audrey Jordan fouled out and was held to just three shot attempts, finishing with 4 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals.

Langston Hughes Panthers Basketball

(B) R5 #1 Langston Hughes 85, R8 #1 Gainesville 78: In front of alumnus Deshaun Watson, Gainesville led by as many as 14 points at 42-28 at the 2:05 mark of the second quarter and carried a 45-38 lead into the half, but the Panthers of Langston Hughes would not be denied, as Coach Rory Welsh and company repeated as state champs. Saddled with foul trouble the entire game, the Red Elephants were able to control the tempo and slice up the Panthers defense in the first half. Kajuan Hale scored 13 of his 15 points in the half while Gainesville made Virginia Tech-signee Landers Nolley work for everything he got, scoring 16 points but also facilitating with five assists. Down seven points, Langston Hughes needed players other than Nolley to step up. Tyrel Morgan scored eight of his 14 points in the first half to provide support, but Tyler Smith was quiet with just three points and two rebounds.  Following a dormant opening 16 minutes, Smith brought a spark, scoring eight points in the third as the Panthers surged past Gainesville to take a 65-59 lead into the fourth. Gainesville’s final lead of the game came at the 2:16 mark of the third quarter up 57-56.  Middle Tennessee State-signee KJ Buffen scored all 13 of his points in the first half but sat in the second with foul trouble, only managing to take two shots in the second half. Not tested since their 83-81 comeback win at Buford on January 20, the Red Elephants faced adversity for the first time in a long time.  At the 1:47 mark of the fourth, Langston Hughes captured their largest lead of the game at 78-67 after a Tyler Smith And-1 and a technical foul on Brent Kelly that gave Nolley a pair of freebies. Instead of rolling over, the Red Elephants fought back in Coach Benjie Wood’s final game on the Gainesville sidelines. Bailey Minor completed a 4-point play, Hale split a pair of free throws and Rafael Rubel finished a layup to make it 78-74 with 1:13 remaining in the blink of an eye. Rubel would then add a three to make it 80-77 with 48 seconds to play, but that would be as close as the Red Elephants would get as Langston Hughes went 8-of-9 from the foul line in the fourth quarter. Nolley finished his illustrious career with three state titles — two in Georgia and three in a row including a sophomore championship campaign at Curie, IL. The future Hokie poured in 34 points (17-of-20 FT), 10 rebounds and 6 assists. Smith added 17 points. Gainesville was led by Minor’s 17 points. Rubel chipped in 12 points.

March 10 – McCamish Pavilion

Class AAAA

Spalding Lady Jaguars basketball

(GR2 #1 Spalding 58, R4 #1 Henry County 46: Sophomore forward Corriana Evans exploded for 19 points and 17 rebounds as the Jaguars raced past Henry County. Kirah Milner scored 9 points and Kiana Banks added 8 points and 9 rebounds. In the loss, Auburn-signee Brooke Moore had 21 points. Amaiya Jackson tallied 10 points and 8 rebounds. As a team, the War Hawks shot 6-of-29 from deep and 26.8% overall.

Upson-Lee basketball

B) R2 #1 Upson-Lee 70, R8 #1 St. Pius X 54: 63-straight. The Knights repeated as state champions, racing past the Golden Lions in the second half after trailing 33-32 at the break. With JaCorey Smith suspended, junior guard Jarrett Adderton stepped up. In his first showdown with the Golden Lions after transferring in from Florida in the off-season, the 6-foot-2 sparkplug provided the Knights with 16 points (7-11 FG) — 10 in the first half — 5 rebounds and 5 assists. St. Pius held their largest lead of the night at 33-25 after back-to-back Everett Lane threes with 1:04 left in the second quarter, but the Knights closed on a 7-0 run, capped by an Adderton block which led to a Tye Fagan layup with two seconds left. The Golden Lions drilled 5-of-14 threes in the first half and got eight points from Troy Stephens. But in the second half, the Knights slammed the door shut, St. Pius going 1-of-9. With the deep ball not dropping, the Golden Lions still harassed the Knights and trailed 44-40 with 1:19 left in the third before a Fagan layup and an Adderton jumper pushed the lead to 48-42 heading into the final quarter. In the fourth, the Knights ran wild as the Golden Lions’ tank was on E. A 14-2 run saw contributions from everyone, growing the lead to 64-47 with 2:49 showing on the clock. Fagan, a MTSU-commit, finished his high school career with 21 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 blocks. Travon Walker helped the Knights dominate the paint for a second-consecutive time against the Lions, collecting 11 points, 12 rebounds and 5 blocks as the Knights out-rebounded St. Pius 43-to-28, blocked 11 shots and outscored St. Pius 40-28 in the paint. Zyrice Scott netted 14 points to go with his 4 rebounds and 5 assists. The X-factor in last year’s game, Everett Lane, finished with 11 points to pace the Golden Lions. Cameron Traylor drew the defensive duties and helped keep Lane in check as he took his first shot attempt at the 6:46 mark of the second quarter. Matt Gonzalo had 8 points and 4 assists while Zach Ranson added 9 points. The Golden Lions scored 19 points off 18 Upson-Lee turnovers. The Knights now await a call from the GEICO Nationals.


Westlake Lady Lions basketball

(GR2 #1 Westlake 60, R8 #1 Newton 45: Westlake led 39-32 at the end of three and pulled away late to claim their first state title. Anastasia Warren poured in 22 points while freshman Raven Johnson had 15 points and 11 rebounds including grabbing her own missed free throw and finishing a bucket inside to put the game out of reach at 50-41 with 1:13 remaining. Taylor Hosendove added 10 points and 6 rebounds. Newton was powered by Jurnee Smith’s 25 points and 6 rebounds. Lexii Chatman added 13 points and 7 rebounds.

Meadowcreek Mustangs basketball

(B) R7 #2 Meadowcreek 56, R7 #1 Norcross 43: For a second straight season, Norcross entered the state title game with momentum and labeled a slight favorite, but again it wasn’t in the cards. After beating Meadowcreek  three times this season, twice on buzzer-beaters, the Blue Devil magic ran out as the Mustangs used a 13-1 run to open the fourth quarter and squeeze Norcross into submission, capturing their first-ever state championship. Dequarius Nicholas scored 10 of his game-high 16 points in the fourth quarter, going 5-of-6 from the foul line. Brandon Boston fouled out at the 6:10 mark with Meadowcreek up 38-37. With Boston’s 13 points on the bench, the Mustangs outscored Norcross 18-6 the rest of the way. Kyle Sturdivant finished with 14 points and 7 rebounds, but his late-game heroics never came into play. Meadowcreek pounded the interior all night, outscoring the Blue Devils in the paint 30-to-16. Duquesne-signee Amari Kelly posted 12 points, 8 rebounds and 3 blocks while Detroit-signee Cory Hightower put up 6 points, 11 rebounds and 4 assists. Meadowcreek closed out the game with a bang at the 1:55 mark as freshman Kedrick Green delivered a behind-the-back pass to Jamir Chaplin for a big slam to make it 46-37.

Chaplin finished with 13 points and 5 rebounds while Green added 5 points. Meadowcreek tallied 12 assists on the night compared to just two for the Blue Devils. As a team, Norcross was held to 31% shooting. UGA-signee JoJo Toppin had 8 points and 7 rebounds while Issa Muhammad managed 4 points and 4 rebounds. Norcross shot 1-of-14 from three.

Javon Greene’s historic performance leaves Langston Hughes shell-shocked at Holiday Hoopsgiving

No. 5 Henry County 92, No. 4 Langston Hughes 89

In possibly the most improbable outcome in Holiday Hoopsgiving history, Class AAAA No. 5 Henry County rallied from down 47-31 at the half to stun Class AAAAAA No. 4 Langston Hughes in overtime without New Orleans signee Damion Rosser available.

Rosser, who injured himself in a scrimmage against Eagle’s Landing, was on crutches as he watched George Mason signee Javon Greene will the Warhawks to victory. Greene went berserk, scoring 57 points – 37 in the second half – to steal a victory in a game which they never led in regulation.

Langston Hughes rushed out to a 12-2 lead behind Southeast Missouri State signee Khalil Cuffee’s 10 first quarter points. The Panthers were on the verge of blowing the game open on multiple occasions throughout, but Greene always had an answer.

He stroked the first of his seven threes at the 4:20 mark, but the Warhawks still trailed 17-6.

Cuffee drained a buzzer beater to give Langston Hughes a 27-16 lead after one quarter of play.


In the second quarter, it was Northeastern signee Derrick Cook and Landers Nolley, fresh off a 50-point game, turn to pepper the shorthanded Warhawks. Nolley finished the first half with 13 points while Cook contributed 10.

Henry County cut the lead to 40-30, but Cuffee buried a three off the dribble and Cook sank two hoops including a layup at the buzzer to make it 47-31 at the half.

Nolley continued to sizzle in the third quarter, scoring 10 of his team-high 35 points in the frame as it looked like the Panthers were going to finally run away with the game.

Kovi Tate came away with a big slam but Langston Hughes still held a commanding 62-41 lead with 2:57 to play in the period.

Tate’s put back, just his third point of the game, proved to be a springboard as the Warhawks entered the fourth down 64-50 with a shimmer of hope.

While Greene kept Henry County in the game, he started to receive help from Tate and Sadonte Lindley. Lindley pitched in five of his 18 points in the fourth quarter while Tate began to dominate inside. The undersized 6-foot-5 post crept the Warhawks closer and closer as he cleaned up the glass on misses. He scored nine of his 12 points in the fourth and collected 11 rebounds.

At the 2:57 mark, Henry County found itself down just two points, 70-68 after Greene dropped in another tough bucket.

 Nolley answered with a three at the 2:08 mark but Greene responded with another triple, cutting the Panther lead to 73-71 with 1:16 remaining.

The Warhawks finally drew even on another Tate follow up slam with 47.3 seconds to go.

Nolley was stripped heading to the hoop, giving the ball back to Henry County with 3.6 seconds left. Greene’s halfcourt heave went amiss, sending the game to overtime tied at 75-75, Henry County outscoring Langston Hughes 25-11 in the fourth.

In overtime, Greene took it to another level.

On fire, unconscious, in a zone; whatever you want to call it, Greene was it. He torched the Panthers for 15 in overtime with an array of buckets and his floater with 3:35 gave Henry County their first lead of the entire game at 77-75. As good as Greene was, Langston Hughes still had a final look after a missed free throw. The Panthers raced down and Nolley got a fairly good look at the horn but his three rimmed out.


My Take 

There’s not many words that will do this game justice. Javon Greene was insane hitting seven threes and 18 free throws. I thought the game was going to be a rout with how well Langston Hughes came out behind their trio of D-I standouts. With Damion Rosser sitting on the bench injured, it looked like it was just going to be a “What-If” game. What if Rosser was healthy? I wonder if the game would have been closer? Greene didn’t give us that opportunity as he showed he was more than enough to carry the Warhawks in one of the gutsiest efforts you’ll ever see. Sadonte Lindley pitched in 18 points in quiet yet steady fashion, but Kovi Tate’s intensity was what really helped Henry County out. Nine points in the fourth quarter in loud fashion had to have helped Greene’s psyche as his Atlanta All-Stars teammate began to make a difference.

Even in the loss, Langston Hughes looked flat out scary. Landers Nolley, Khalil Cuffee and Derrick Cook combined for 80 points. Cuffee is an absolute steal at SE Missouri State. He is a big time guard with a great stroke. Nolley has high level college ball written all over him and Cook does a little bit of everything on the floor. They looked like a different team from the Gainesville game but ran into a buzzsaw with Greene. There wasn’t much Coach Rory Welsh could do to slow down Greene. The Panthers will just need to shake this one off and trust that they are as good as any team in the state when they are clicking on all cylinders and not playing against Javon Greene.


Top Performers

Henry County
Javon Greene – 57 points (7 threes, 18 FTs), 3 rebounds, 3 steals
Sadonte Lindley – 18 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals
Kovi Tate – 12 points, 11 rebounds, 1 block

Langston Hughes
Landers Nolley – 35 points (6 threes), 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals
Derrick Cook – 23 points, 3 rebounds, 9 assists, 1 steal
Khalil Cuffee – 22 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals

Miller Grove Shot Clock League Analysis

After battling the traffic on 285 for two hours, I arrived at the Miller Grove Shot Clock Summer League on Wednesday. The League plays on Mondays and Wednesdays throughout June. The prestigious event showcases 14 teams throughout the summer. Miller Grove, Hiram, Mays, North Clayton, Jonesboro, Lithonia, Tucker, Sandy Creek, Shiloh, Cedar Shoals and Statesboro all made state tournament runs while Brookwood (17-9), Henry County (15-11) and Druid Hills (14-12) didn’t earn a berth but are as dangerous as any group in the 14-team field.

Cedar Shoals 78, Henry County 63

Cedar Shoals remained undefeated for the summer and scored another impressive win, this time ousting Henry County by 15 in a game that featured high level athletes with true D-I aspirations. Coming off of a 29-3 season with a Final Four run in Class AAAAA where they fell to Allatoona 48-46, Cedar Shoals faces the unenviable task of replacing sparkplug point guard and Sandy’s Spiel Most Underrated award winner, Jerrick Mitchell (Columbia State).

The Jags had no problem with Henry County using a wide open floor to pick apart the Warhawks. Cedar Shoals buried seven first half threes and finished with 10 on the day to gain and maintain their separation. Phlan Fleming was as good as advertised. The long 6-foot-5 senior guard poured in a game-high 29 points and nailed three triples. Fleming also collected 10 rebounds and won his personal matchup with the explosive Damion Rosser. The two even got a double technical in the second half. It did not feel like a preseason game with the amount of intensity in the building.

Snipe Hall, a 6-foot-2 senior shooting guard, was lethal from beyond the arc to open the game. He finished with 23 points and banged in three of his four three-pointers in the first half. He added on three rebounds and three assists as well. Hall was more than just a one-trick pony, scoring in the lane off pull-ups and tallying six points from the line.

AJ Jones, a 5-foot-9 scrappy guard, canned three long balls and finished with 12 points and four assists. Inside, workhorse tight end on the football field Stavion Stevenson chipped in six points and six rebounds.

The common theme for Cedar Shoals on Wednesday? Sharing the ball. The Jaguars collected 17 assists to Henry County’s seven. The engine that made Cedar Shoals go wasn’t Jerrick Mitchell anymore but instead senior Damarrea Lowe.

Damarrea Lowe ran the Cedar Shoals offense expertly
Damarrea Lowe ran the Cedar Shoals offense expertly

With Fleming and Hall already as known commodities, ‘D-Lowe’, a rail thin point guard listed at 5-foot-10, 130 pounds, might play just as important of a role in the Jags’ success in 2016-17. Lowe was inserted into the starting lineup and had the Jaguar offense clicking like it was in mid-season form. Lowe didn’t show the flashy burst of speed like Mitchell or the daringness to knock down pull-up jumpers like his predecessor did when he was on, but Lowe did exactly what Coach L’Dreco Thomas needed of him: make smart decisions with the ball.

He finished with four points, eight rebounds, seven assists and three steals. Every time I looked up, Lowe was affecting the action on the court in a positive way. If he can contribute the way he did yesterday, finding open shooters on the perimeter and limiting turnovers, this Cedar Shoals offense will be tough to slow down, especially if they can knock down their threes.

Even in the loss for Henry County, positives were taken away. Coach Vincent Rosser often told me last season, they could be a special team if they learned how to defend consistently. Against top level competition like Cedar Shoals who can shoot you out of the gym in a heartbeat, the Warhawks were tested and received a good measuring stick of how much further they need to improve to become a state title contender.

The Warhawks, down double-digits for nearly the entire game, never gave in. Coach Rosser stayed on his group and had them playing hard till the final buzzer, a very welcomed sign. Henry County has one of the best backcourts in Class AAAA, the tandem of seniors Damion Rosser and Javon Greene is good enough to hang with anyone. The 6-foot-4 Rosser plays above the rim and is constantly looking to attack. He scored 15 points and chipped in four rebounds, two steals and a block. Rosser is great at getting to the hole, but he mustn’t forget to keep the defense honest with his jump shot. He knocked down one three yesterday and if he can consistently knock them down, that will open up even more driving lines.

One player who wasn’t shy to let it rip was 6-foot-2 senior Javon Greene. Greene netted a team-high 22 points and ripped off 16 points in the second half. Henry County was in too big of a hole for it to make a difference, but Greene caught fire in the second half. The unconscious Greene was in ultimate heat check mode, drilling four threes in a row, pulling up on a dime and letting them fly. Along with his scoring outburst, he collected three rebounds, three assists, three steals and two blocks.

Both eligible to play this year, Kovi Tate and Seth Brown should be big difference makers for the Warhawks. The quartet of Rosser, Greene, Tate and Brown have been playing together in the summer with the Atlanta All-Stars and have been building a cohesion towards an exciting senior season. Tate, a stout 6-foot-5, brings power inside and an ability to convert easy buckets. Like seemingly all of his peers, he is also an above the rim finisher that can change games. He finished with a modest six points, six rebounds and one block. Brown was quiet last night with four points and three rebounds, but once he finds his footing, he will round out a very dangerous starting five with senior Sadonta Lindley heading up the point guard position.

Tucker Transfers

The Tucker Tigers breezed past Lithonia after an impressive second half, coasting to a 59-44 victory. Tucker is without last year’s leading scorer, Kenton Eskridge, as he is now at Columbia playing for Dr. Phil McCrary. Eskridge leaves one living legend (James Hartry) for another, but the Tigers will find a way to have some bite as always. Coach Hartry, who has amassed a 317-149 record over his 16 seasons at the helm of Tucker, won’t have a barren cupboard.

Transferring over for his senior season is 6-foot-3 guard Joshua Cammon. Cammon was overshadowed by 25-point-per-game scorer Isaiah Miller at Eastside, but the former team captain can fill it up himself. He averaged 13.6 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 3.4 steals per game as a junior. Cammon looked good yesterday, showcasing tight handles in traffic and the ability to get and create his own shot. He is a strong athlete with a muscular frame that will help him attack the hoop. Cammon attempted 92 free throws last year and knocked down 51 threes. He will have to raise his shooting percentage on both (64% & 27%), but Cammon looks like he can provide some instant offense for the Tigers, a team looking for a new go-to guy for the second straight year.

Jackmon on the Mend

Miller Grove senior Joshua Jackmon was on-hand at the summer league. Jackmon suffered a torn ACL on the adidas Uprising circuit and is eager to get back on the court. He expects teammate Tae Hardy and himself to have big senior seasons under new head coach Rasul Chester.