Tag Archives: state championship

2019-20 GHSA State Championship Recaps

DAY 1 — Wednesday, March 4th


[GIRLS] #2 No. 3 Holy Innocents’ 66, #1 No. 1 St. Francis 53: Holy Innocents’ (26-5) repeated as state champions behind two first half runs that gave the Golden Bears enough separation to hold off St. Francis (27-4). Trailing 16-15 after the first quarter, Holy Innocents’ ripped off a 10-0 run to take a 25-16 lead as Jada Farrell scored 14 of her game-high 21 points in the opening half. St. Francis found its footing mid-way through the quarter and got big minutes from freshman post Trynce Taylor who came off the bench to chip in 8 points and 5 rebounds for the game. The Knights went into halftime down 31-27 before the Golden Bears used a 12-0 spurt to take a commanding 43-27 lead. After digging themselves a deep hole, St. Francis tried to fight back .The Knights trailed 48-40 after three quarters and trimmed the lead to 48-44 at the 6:52 mark following a jumper from Oregon State-signee Savannah Samuel but from that point on it was all Golden Bears. Holy Innocents’ pieced together an 11-3 run to regain control keyed by a Jill Hollingshead corner three with 5:20 remaining to push the lead to 53-44. Hollingshead was held in check for most of the game, finishing with 11 points, 14 rebounds and 1 steal. Rachel Suttle erupted in the second half for the Golden Bears, scoring 16 of her 19 points to go along with 9 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 steals. While the Knights played tough defense on the 6-foot-5 forward, they continued to leave points at the line. St. Francis finished the game 13-23 from the stripe, hindering their attempts at a comeback.  Samuel, who led the Knights with 11 points and 4 rebounds and 3 blocks, fouled out with 2:16 remaining with the Knights down 11. Mia Moore added 11 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists before also fouling out. Notre Dame-signee Amirah Abdur-Rahim had 9 points, 4 rebounds and 2 blocks.

St. Francis

[BOYS]  #1 No. 1 St. Francis 76, #2 No. 2 Greenforest 55: St. Francis (30-3) led wire-to-wire in a dominating effort to capture their fourth state title and second in a row. The Knights led 12-0 out of the gate as Xavier-signee Dwon Odom was off and running. St. Francis held a 17-9 lead after one and took a 34-20 lead into the half as Greenforest (21-10) struggled to use their size to their advantage. Drexel-signee Lamar Oden scored 9 of his 21 points in the first half but was held to 4-14 shooting over the opening 16 minutes and 9-25 for the game before fouling out with 56.5 seconds left. St. Francis broke the game open with a 7-0 run to make it 41-20 at the 5:06 mark. The Eagles turned to a press and showed signs of life making it 50-36 after Oden and MTSU-signee Christian Fussell hit threes, but quickly after the Knights stepped on the gas to take a 56-37 lead into the fourth. Odom powered St. Francis with 27 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists and 1 steal. Chase Ellis contributed 14 points and 7 rebounds while Seth Hubbard tacked on 12 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals. Jusuan Holt finished with 11 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 blocks. The larger Eagles were held to 33.9 percent shooting while St. Francis connected at a 65.9 clip. In the loss, Fussell finished with 10 points, 8 rebounds and 3 steals.


Wheeler County

[GIRLS] #3 No. 2 Wheeler County 55, #1 No. 1 Central-Talbotton  50: Wheeler County (31-1) won their first state title behind the experience of their senior class, namely guards Samerria Bryant and Keonya Mincey. The duo made big play after big play down the stretch to hold off Central-Talbotton (27-2). Wheeler County led 10-8 after one but trailed 24-22 at the half as Bernyla Sparks scored 14 of her game-high 24 points and 13 rebounds in the first half to pace the Central-Talbotton. The Hawks looked ready to grab their first title since 1986, leading 33-22 with 3:41 left in the third quarter, but Sparks picked up her fourth foul and was banished to the bench. The Bulldogs made their move. Wheeler County closed the quarter on a 13-3 run to trim the deficit to 36-35 after three quarters. Sparks re-entered to start the fourth but from that point on the Hawks found themselves locked in a dogfight. Wheeler County edged ahead 51-44 with 1:30 remaining, but the Hawks came roaring back, trimming the lead to 51-50. With 15.1 seconds left, Mincey was sent to the foul line where she sank both attempts. On the ensuing possession, Bryant poked away a steal from behind, sending the ball into Lela Wright’s hands. She would sink both free throws to ice the game. Mincey, who scored a team-high 23 points, scored 10 in the fourth quarter including going 7-10 from the foul line. Bryant finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds as the Wheeler County senior class put a capper on their 98-16 career. In the loss, Shakemia Marshall added 10 points, 12 rebounds and 4 assists.

Hancock Central

[BOYS]  #3 No. 3 Hancock Central 61, #1 No. 1 Treutlen 58 OT: In improbable fashion, Treutlen (30-1) fell in heartbreaking fashion for the second year in a row. Hancock Central (28-3) led 18-10 after the first quarter and nursed a 29-23 lead into the half as turnovers plagued Treutlen. The Vikings would finish with 28 turnovers compared to 14 from the Bulldogs. In the third quarter, Hancock Central gained separation and led 37-26, their largest lead at the 5:26 mark of the third quarter but Treutlen would cut into the lead and head to the fourth down 42-35 as Chris Floyd scored 9 of his game-high 22 points in the third quarter to draw the Vikings near. However, at the 5:36 mark of the fourth with Treutlen now down just 46-43, Floyd would foul out. Momentum wouldn’t waiver for the Vikings however as they kept chipping away as Hancock Central kept missing from the foul line. The Bulldogs would go 2-10 from the line in the fourth quarter and a woeful 9-26 (34.6%) for the game, giving Treutlen plenty of opportunities to get back in it. With 1:31 left in regulation, Kamron Jordan knotted the game up at 49. A Quentez Jordan free throw at the 1:09 mark gave the Vikings their first lead since 8-7 back at 3:43 in the first quarter. Hancock Central regained the lead with 30 seconds to play when Treyvion Crayton hit a pull-up from the foul line. With 17 seconds, Leroy Wilson was sent to the line and split a pair. Kasabian Mitchell drew a foul shooting a three with 8.8 seconds and hit his first two free throws before missing his third, sending the game into overtime tied at 52.  In overtime, it looked like Treutlen’s first-ever title was in reach as 6-foot-8 Cartavious Terry scored on a putback to give the Vikings a 58-55 advantage at the 1:43 mark. With the score the same, Quentez Jordan had an opportunity to extend the lead but missed both free throws badly as the Vikings would finish 10-24 (41.7%) from the stripe. Those two misses would prove costly as Jamal Taylor slashed to the lane for the game-winning layup with 11 seconds left to go ahead 59-58 before Mitchell would turn the ball over in traffic and Marquavious Lawrence, who came up big off the bench with 12 points and 7 rebounds, pitched ahead to Jamarcus Morris for the layup at the buzzer.  Hancock Central saw Taylor lead the Dogs with 13 points, 8 rebounds and 4 steals while Leroy Wilson added 12 points, 8 rebounds and 5 steals. The Bulldogs, who went 0-16 from deep and were out-rebounded 51-44, captured their first title since their first back in 2008. In the loss, Kamron Jordan had 8 points and 12 rebounds. Terry posted 13 points, 13 rebounds, 2 steals and 5 blocks. Mitchell had 11 points and 6 rebounds.

DAY 2 — Thursday, March 5th



[GIRLS]  R6 #1 No. 1 Douglass 56, R3 #2 No. 6 Southwest-Macon 46: A second miraculous comeback wasn’t in the cards for the hometown Southwest-Macon Patriots (25-4) as Douglass (26-5) was able to repeat as state champs behind Kayla Sesberry’s sharpshooting and a dominant team effort on the glass, holding off another furious late Patriot comeback. Stantagious Alford and Avrie Grayer combined for 38 points and 38 rebounds in their wild rally to beat Rockmart in the Final 4, but their effectiveness on the glass was limited by Ikenya King and company. The Astros out-rebounded the Patriots 51-30 and gobbled up 24 offensive rebounds. King finished with 13 points and 16 rebounds, but it was Sesberry who set the tone early with her perimeter play. She scored 18 of her game-high 25 points in the first half and shot 10-17 for the game. The Astros trailed 13-12 at the end of one but held a 27-21 lead at the half before a 14-9 third quarter helped extend the lead. Alford went to the bench with her fourth foul at the 3:12 mark and the Patriots trailing 33-26. She would finish with 14 points, 8 rebounds and 4 steals. Southwest-Macon put a scare into the Astros as it looked like a repeat of last week’s spectacular finish could happen again as the the Patriots cut the lead to 44-42 with 3:12 left and trailed by just four at 50-46 with 1:55 remaining but a 6-0 run powered by Sesberry and Ashuntee Weems would put the game away. Weems, who started 0-11 from the field, came on strong in the fourth quarter and finished with 10 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 5 steals and 1 block.  In the loss, Ja’Khyla Johnson tallied 14 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 6 steals and 1 block. After hitting 7 threes in the semifinals, the Astros came back to earth going 1-12 from deep, but hit 13-23 free throws to help preserve the win.


[BOYS]  R2 #1 No. 1 Swainsboro 69, R6 #1 No. 3 Therrell 65: It wasn’t easy, but nobody said it would be. Swainsboro (30-2) held off the defending state champion Therrell (25-8) in a thriller to capture the school’s first title since 1996. The Tigers came out guns a’ blazin’, firing away from deep and led 10-4 early after back-to-back Immanuel Hackett threes. Therrell countered with Ra’Sean Frederick who was equally as hot, scoring 10 of his game-high 23 points and 9 rebounds in the first quarter to enter the second deadlocked at 14. Swainsboro continued to bomb from deep and grew a 35-23 lead with 1:04 remaining as they used a 12-0 run and held Therrell scoreless for 3:26 before Cameron Fortson hit a pair of free throws and the Panthers answered with a 6-0 run of their own to make it 35-29 at halftime. The Tigers shot 6-20 from three in the opening half but cooled off considerably, finishing 7-25. As shots stopped falling, Therrell clawed back into the game and cut the deficit to 45-43 with 2:41 left as Calvin Miller scored eight of his 16 points in the quarter. Therrell grabbed their first lead of the game on a Justin Worrill three with 38.6 seconds left but Swainsboro went into the fourth quarter tied at 50 as Fredrick Seabrough punched in nine of his team-high 18 points and 8 rebounds in the quarter as the Tigers started working the ball in the paint instead of relying on threes.  At the 7:02 mark, Frederick picked up his fourth foul and was sent to the bench with Therrell down 52-50. The Panthers charged on without their primary source of offense and pushed ahead to take a 57-53 lead with 5:02 left before Frederick checked back in at 4:03 with Therrell nursing a 57-55 lead. Swainsboro had already regained momentum however and took the lead for good when AJ Kingsbury came up with a steal and And-1 to go ahead 60-59 with 3:01 left.

With 1:44 left, Frederick, who finished 9-24 from the floor, couldn’t convert at the rim and consequently fouled out fighting for a loose ball with the Panthers down 62-61.

Knowing that pressure and fouling was coming, Coach Brice Hobbs put the ball in the hands of junior Derrick Jones. He would reward him by going 7-10 from the line in the quarter and finishing with 10 points. Therrell had a golden opportunity to cut into the lead with 1:29 remaining but Roman Son badly missed a pair of free throws. Son struggled in his final game with 8 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists and 5 steals, but missed seven layups against Swainsboro’s rim-protectors. 



[GIRLS]  R7 #2 No. 4 GAC 54, R3 #2 No. 3 Beach 44: After beating the defending two-time state champions Johnson-Savannah, GAC (20-12) had more work to do against another one of Savannah’s best programs. The Spartans pulled away late to edge Beach (22-10) for the school’s ninth title and first since 2007 behind Kaleigh Addie’s 28 points, 5 rebounds and 3 steals. The Spartans and Bulldogs were locked up in a back and forth game that saw neither team gain momentum in the first half. The two were tied 11-11 after one before GAC took a slim 24-22 lead into the half behind Addie’s 16 points. Beach rode the play of star junior Kaila Rougier, who scored 11 of her team-high 20 points and 8 rebounds in the first half.  In the third quarter the Bulldogs face-guarded Addie and denied her the ball. It worked. GAC scored just six points but Beach only managed 10 but it was still enough to take a 32-30 lead into the deciding 8 minutes. Beach took their largest lead of the game at the 6:01 mark following a Madison Evans And-1 at 37-34. Things looked grim with 5:36 to play as Addie picked up her fourth foul with the Spartans down 37-36 but the star stayed on the court and took over, sparking a personal 6-0 run to take a 42-37 lead. Before Jaci Bolden’s hoop with 2:22 to play, Addie had scored the last eight points for GAC and would net 12 points in the frame to carry the Spartans after being held to one shot in the third quarter. GAC put the game away from the line going 10-12 and 19-31 for the game. In support of Addie, senior Ava Irvin went 11-13 from the line to finish her career with 13 points and 5 rebounds. Beach out-rebounded the Spartans 40-33 but went 1-15 from deep. Region 3 Co-Player of the Year Madison Evans never found a groove going 5-21 for 11 points and 5 rebounds.

Pace Academy

[BOYS]  R5 #1 No. 1 Pace Academy 48, R8 #1 No. 6 Jefferson 35: It wasn’t pretty but Pace Academy (28-4) grinded out a low-scoring win over an upset-minded Jefferson (22-8) to win their third title in school history. The Dragons controlled the tempo and gave the high-powered Knights their best shot, leading 14-3 to open the game. After trailing 13-3 following the first quarter, Cole Middleton sparked a personal 6-0 run to make it 14-9 but Jefferson would maintain momentum and take a 20-13 lead into the half after shooting 50 percent while holding Pace to just 4-21 shooting (19%). Only Middleton and Matthew Cleveland scored in the first half while Jefferson saw six players enter the scoring column. In the third quarter, Pace Academy’s press began to speed up the Dragons and turn them over but it wasn’t until the 47.3 mark when the Knights would impose their will and take their first lead of the game. Senior George Adams came off the bench and changed the game, going on a personal 9-0 run ignited by his And-1 three-pointer that gave the Knights the lead 29-28. The Knights held their one-point lead into the fourth quarter but Adams was just getting started. He hit a jumper and another three before dishing off an assist to Middleton to cap an 11-0 run that put the Knights ahead 36-28 with 4:46 remaining. From that point on, the Dragons were stuck playing catch up.  Roles reversed in the second half. The Knights would shoot 62 percent while the Dragons connected on just 26 percent of their shots. Middleton finished with 15 points to lead Pace Academy while Cleveland scored 10. Madison Durr came to life in the second half and finished with 9 points and 8 rebounds. Jefferson got 11 points and 6 rebounds from Owen Parker but also 7 turnovers. Malaki Starks chipped in 8 points and 7 rebounds while Navy-signee Jacob Radaker was held to 5 points and 2 rebounds attempting just four shots on the night. 

DAY 3 — Friday, March 6th


[GIRLS] R1 #2 No. 2 Americus-Sumter 66, R5 #2 No. 7 Troup County 52: An early deficit was too much to overcome as Troup County (27-2) could never quite catch Americus-Sumter (29-2) who captured their third title and first since 2016. Foul trouble plagued the Tigers as star sophomore Aniya Palmer picked up three fouls in the first quarter as Americus-Sumter grew a 17-9 lead after one as Troy-signee Jelissa Reese scored 7 of her 19 points. She would finish with 9 rebounds, 3 assists and 4 steals, anchoring the Panthers’ hard-nosed defense and even drew the assignment of guarding Palmer. The Panthers led 27-16 before settling for a 31-23 lead at the half. The Panthers out-rebounded the Tigers 45-27 for the game and out-scored them in the paint 32-20. A 6-0 run coming via layups from Trinity Jackson, Tiffani Goodman and Trinity Jones pushed the lead to 46-34 with 1:47 to play before taking a 46-38 lead into the fourth. The Panthers were too much in the fourth quarter as Troup slowly lost ground. Jones finished with 21 points for Americus-Sumter while Goodman added 6. Troup County saw Palmer finish with 13 points, 10 rebounds and 2 steals. Ambert Gilbert finished her career with 15 points.

Woodward Academy

[BOYS]  R4 #1 No. 1 Woodward Academy 75, R3 #1 No. 6 Cross Creek 56: Just like they did in the second half of the Final 4, Woodward Academy (30-2) blew open a competitive game to race their way to their first state title, sending McDonald’s All-American Walker Kessler off to Chapel Hill with some hardware. Kessler was held in check, but Woodward’s balance was more than enough to lift the War Eagles. Woodward Academy never trailed. Floor general Michael Whitmore set the tone with his defense ending his career with 13 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 5 steals. Woodward Academy led 12-8 at the conclusion of the first quarter and slowly pushed their lead to 27-21 at the half. The War Eagles led wire-to-wire and saw a 9-0 spurt in the third quarter garner all the separation they would need as they pulled ahead 36-23 at the 4:36 mark of the third quarter.  Kessler finished with 17 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists and 5 blocks. Will Richard went for 15 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals. Jacorrei Turner added 12 points and 5 rebounds while Davidson-signee Emory Lanier pitched in 11 points. Cross Creek (25-7) was led by Presbyterian-signee Kobe Stewart who had 18 points and 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal and 1 block. Corey Trotter had 8 points and 6 rebounds while Markell Ware and Josh Dorsey added 8 and 10 points, respectively.

— Girls Three-Point Contest–

GHSA Three-point contest

Emily Acampora

  1. Emily Acampora (Harrison)
  2.  Jashiyah Jones (Vidalia)
  3. Trinity Jones (Americus-Sumter)
  4. Leah Turner (Griffin)



[GIRLS]  R8 #1 No. 1 Buford 66, R7 #1 No. 2 Kell 63: Experienced prevailed over youth in an instant classic as Buford (31-1) completed a four-peat, surviving freshman phenom Crystal Henderson’s 26-point outburst — 14 coming in the fourth as the Wolves ended the Longhorns (32-1) perfect season, the second year in a row Buford has defeated an undefeated team in the championship game. Getting title No. 8 was difficult as the game went back and forth. Buford opened up leading 10-3, but Kell tied it up and 10 before Buford finished with a 6-0 run to take a 16-10 lead behind Furman-signee Tate Walter’s seven points. In the second quarter momentum swung as the Longhorns ignited a 16-0 run to take a 26-18 lead as Makyah Favors came off the bench and scored all 10 of her points including hitting two threes. Buford regrouped however, closing on an 11-3 run to head into the half tied at 29. The Wolves forced 17 turnovers in the half and 24 for the game but Kell shot 52.9 percent as the Wolves managed just 26.5 percent. Walters gave Buford their largest lead of the second half with 3:28 to play in the third at 47-39 but Kell would storm back and trail 50-48 after three. Buford once again threatened to pull away in the fourth as Blair Wallis knocked down her fourth three of the game to make it 59-52 with 2:58 left but Kell would not fade, namely Henderson. She would score the final 11 points of the game for the Longhorns including hitting three free throws with 33.5 seconds left down 63-57 and then a contested three with 10.5 seconds left to make it 65-63. Walters had a chance to ice it from the line with 7.6 seconds remaining, making the first but missing the second. Henderson raced down and got quality look from deep but it was off the mark. She would tack on 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals in her first championship game. Amaya Moss had 14 points and 5 rebounds. Buford was led by Walters’ 18 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals. Ashyia Willis added 13 points and Wallis finished with 12. Katelyn Klein picked up 7 of Buford’s 16 steals. The Wolves netted 34 points off turnovers compared to 9 from Kell. Buford took 62 shot attempts to Kell’s 40 and finished 35.5 percent from the field while Kell shot 47.5.


[BOYS]  R4 #2 No. 2 Dutchtown 57, R8 #2 No. 8 Cedar Shoals 44: Dutchtown (28-4) reached the pinnacle in Coach Jordan Griffin’s first season on the job. Riding senior forwards Gardner-Webb-signee Jamaine Mann and Cam Bryant, the Bulldogs overpowered the smaller Jaguars (28-4) in the second half, pulling away after holding a 29-21 lead at halftime. The Bulldogs contained USC-Aiken-commit Tyler Johnson after he scored six points in the opening frame, holding him scoreless the rest of the game. Quincy Canty, another USC-Aiken-commit, did everything he could to lead the Jaguars. The 6-foot-6 forward scored 17 points but it wasn’t enough. Mann finished with 20 points, 12 rebounds and 2 assists while Bryant tallied 18 points and 4 rebounds. 

DAY 4 — Saturday, March 7th


Forest Park

[GIRLS]  R4 #2 No. 2 Forest Park  46, R2 #1 No. 4 Glynn Academy 30: Forest Park (27-6) won its first title in 50 years using a relentless defense and a cutting motion offense that Glynn Academy (26-5) could never slow down.  The Panthers, who led wire-to-wire, held Glynn Academy to 0-11 shooting in the first quarter and 10-45 for the game (22.7%).  The Red Terrors trailed 13-2 after one and were down just 21-13 at the half in a first 16 minutes thoroughly dominated by the Panthers. In the third quarter the Terrors cut the lead to 21-15 but Forest Park responded with back-to-back Jasmine Jacob And-1s to regain control, sparking an 11-3 run that put the score at 32-18 with 2:18 remaining. As a team, the Panthers would live at the foul line going 17-33. Forest Park would take a 34-22 lead into the fourth quarter and slowly grow their advantage. UGA-signee Zoesha Smith finished her career with 15 points, 14 rebounds, 2 steals and 1 block but didn’t get enough help from her supporting cast as Francis Marion-signee La’Trinity Best and Talia Hamilton combined to shoot 1-14 for 6 points. As a team, outside of Smith’s 6-18 shooting, the Terrors went 4-27 from the field (14%). Forest Park used a balanced attack seeing Western Carolina-signee Joi Reid (11), Janaya Jones (9), Jasmine Jacob (8) and Jayda Brown (7) fill the scoring column. Gatorade Player of the Year Sania Feagin finished with 10 points, 5 rebounds, 3 steals and 3 blocks.


[BOYS]  R7 #1 No. 5 Chattahoochee 69, R8 #1 No. 3 Lanier 66 OT: In their fourth consecutive overtime game, Lanier (26-6) just short of completing a magical journey to the top, instead it was Chattahoochee (25-7) who claimed their first title is school history, surviving a nearly heroic performance from Tulane-signee Sion James. Chattahoochee and Lanier traded blows in the first half as the Cougars led 15-12 after one and 34-31 at the half as AJ White scored 15 of his 22 points in the opening 16 minutes, missing just one shot from the field. Andrew McConnell led Lanier with 11 of his 13 points. In the third quarter, Lanier switched defenses and played zone, stifling the Cougar flow and leading to a 16-6 quarter that put the Longhorns ahead 47-40 going into the final period. A scoreless quarter for White put pressure on Rice-signee Cam Sheffield to respond and he did just that, scoring seven points in the fourth to help the Cougars go ahead 56-53 with 1:56 remaining. Lanier left points at the line in the fourth quarter but James came through with two late free throws to tie the game at 56. Chattahoochee had two final looks, but Franklin Bailey couldn’t connect on two threes. In overtime, Sheffield powered the Cougars scoring the first seven points of the frame for Chattahoochee as the moved ahead 63-58 before James’ onslaught began. The future Green Wave scored all 10 points in overtime for Lanier and finished his career with 27 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals. With the Cougars down 65-61 with 35.5 seconds left, James hit two free throws before getting a steal and a layup to tighten the gap at 66-65 with 20.3 to play. Follow two White free throws, James was sent back to the line where he hit his first but his second shot was waived off due to a lane violation on Goran Uzunov with just 7.8 ticks left. Sheffield would be sent to the line to ice the game with 1.7 seconds left, finishing his career with 31 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 block.  Bailey added 10 points while David McDaniel contributed 6 points, 14 rebounds and 2 blocks. In the loss, Lanier who was out-rebounded 40-29 but outscored the Cougars in the paint 32-20, got 12 points from Iajah Phillips.

— Boys Slam Dunk Contest —
Ja’Queze Kirby — Jeff Davis



[GIRLS]  R2 #1 No. 1 Westlake 72, R6 #1 No. 2 Collins Hill 53: Adding nearly an entire new roster in the offseason didn’t help Collins Hill (31-1) as Westlake  (30-2) three-peated and accepted an invite to the Geico Nationals.  The Eagles kept close in the first quarter after trailing 8-0 early, using a 7-0 spurt to get back in the game and enter the second down 11-9. The backcourt of Raven Johnson and TaNiya Latson paced the Lions as 6-foot-5 Georgia Southern-signee Lydia Freeman and Carlyse Hooks sat on the bench with two fouls. The Johnson-Latson duo combined for 22 of the Lions’ 28 points as the carried a comfortable 10-point lead into the break. Like they did the first quarter, Westlake came out of the gates hot with a 7-0 run to make it 35-18 at the 6:15 mark and would never look back. Johnson finished with 23 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal and 1 block while Latson poured in  23 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals. The Lions scored 25 points off 17 turnovers and shot 63.4 percent from the field while holding Collins Hill to 33.9 percent. Purdue-commit Sacha Washington led Collins Hill with 16 points, 11 rebounds, 1 assists and 2 steals.


[BOYS]  R2 #1 No. 4 Wheeler 60, R8 #1 No. 1 Grayson 59:  A dream ending for Grayson (30-2) wasn’t in the cards as a resilient gritty Wheeler (24-7) shocked the nation with a 14-5 run after taking the Rams’ best punch early in the fourth quarter. The Wildcats were anchored by Denver-signee Sam Hines throughout the night. The forward was nearly perfect, going 11-12 from the field and 6-8 from the line finishing his career with 28 points, 9 rebounds and 2 steals. He and Ja’Hiem Hudson set the tone early on, drawing two fouls on Ian Schieffelin just 56 seconds into game, forcing him to sit the entire first half. Wheeler led 10-4 but Grayson closed in before entering the second period down 14-11. The Rams would battle foul trouble for much of the night but got big minutes off the bench from three-point specialist Quinones Corpman who hit two threes in the second quarter to keep Grayson close. Wheeler would take a 31-25 lead into the half as Hines went a perfect 5-5 from the field. Grayson looked to change momentum in the second half as Schieffelin made and immediate impact with a putback but Wheeler would steadily grow their lead throughout. The Wildcats took a 42-31 lead at the 2:34 mark following a Hines layup but Grayson would answer in a big way. Mississippi State-signee Deivon Smith who hurt his ankle in the first half and looked less than 100% seen grimacing throughout the game, drilled two threes in a to ignite a 15-2 run that saw an 11-0 stretch that gave Grayson their first lead of the game with 1.2 seconds left in the quarter following a Caleb Murphy And-1 layup.

With the Loganville faithful in full throat, Grayson’s onslaught continued.  The Rams took their largest lead of the game at the 5:30 mark up 54-46 following a Toneari Lane three, capping a massive 23-4 run. For most teams, it would be the knockout punch but for Wheeler it was just a wake up call. The Wildcats clawed back with a 7-0 run as Hines continued to pound away inside and hit mid-range jumpers. The Wildcats outscored Grayson 32-26 in the paint and had 15 second-chance points to the Rams’ 7. Coming down the stretch, free throws loomed large. Wheeler went 14-18 including 8-9 in the fourth quarter while the Rams shot 10-19 and 5-11 in the final stanza. Murphy split a pair at the line as Grayson edged ahead 56-55 with 1:41 left. At the 1:08 mark, Schieffelin stepped to the line but missed both attempts before Nash Kelly, who was pressed into a bigger role after freshman Isaiah Collier broke his shoulder midway through the season, sank a pair of free throws to give Wheeler a 57-56 lead with under a minute to go. Wheeler went ahead 59-56 after two Hines free throws but Lane would answer with a corner three with 14 seconds left to knot the game up at 59. Wheeler would push the ball in transition where Kelly missed a layup but Hines swooped in for the offensive rebound and was fouled by Lane with 1.1 seconds left.

Hines hit his first free throw but missed the second on purpose but it was ruled that the shot didn’t hit the rim, giving Grayson an opportunity to inbounds underneath their own basket with the length of the floor to go. Murphy heaved a prayer from 3/4 court and hit the backboard, ending Grayson’s title hopes.

Max Harris was second in scoring for the Wildcats, adding 10 points and 4 rebounds. Prince Davies and Hudson scored 8 apiece while Kelly had 6 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists as the Wheeler bench was held scoreless. Grayson saw Lane, a Winthrop-signee, post 18 points, 4 rebounds and 3 steals. Murphy, heading to USF, scored 13 points while Smith finished his career with 11 points, 3 rebounds, 7 assists and 2 steals. 

2018-19 GHSA State Championship Recaps

DAY 1 — March 6th


[GIRLS] #1 Holy Innocents’ 75, #6 Wesleyan 48Holy Innocents'

No. 1 Holy Innocents’ (25-7) erased all bad memories of state championships past to blow past No. 3 Wesleyan (28-4), leading from the opening tip to final buzzer to capture the program’s third state title, first since beating the rival Wolves in overtime 66-64 back in 2016. Sweeping Wesleyan in the regular season had proved to be a kiss of death, losing in 2015, 2017 and 2018 in the title game after dominating outside of the state tournament. After beating Wesleyan 68-63 and 72-50 in the Region 5 championship this season, the Golden Bears were able to repeat their success on the biggest stage. Holy Innocents’ started quick in each quarter to grab an early lead in the first, then growing it by starting the second quarter on a 7-1 run to take a 27-18 lead into the half. The Golden Bears started the third quarter 6-0 and fourth quarter 12-2 to put the game out of reach. Wesleyan had no answer for 6-foot-4 sophomore Jill Hollingshead, who finished with a game-high 25 points, 10 rebounds and 3 blocks. Junior Jada Farrell came to life in the second half scoring 15 of her 18 points in the final 16 minutes. Freshman Marya Hudgins scored 9 points before fouling out while sophomore point guard Cierra Foster controlled the action with 8 points, 6 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 steals and 1 block. In the loss, junior AC Carter led Wesleyan with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Paige Lyons (11) and Nicole Azar (10) each cracked double digits as the Wolves were denied their 14th state title.

[BOYS] #1 St. Francis 73, #2 ELCA 69

St. Francis

Trailing 49-48 heading into the fourth quarter, No. 1 St. Francis (28-4) rode Xavier-commit Dwon Odom to the finish line in a back and forth fourth quarter. After scoring 11 points in the first half, Odom was held scoreless in the third quarter before he broke loose to score 17 of the Knights’ 25 fourth quarter points to finish with a game-high 28 points and his first state championship. 6-foot-6 sophomore Jusaun Holt scored the first eight points of the game for the Knights and paced St. Francis as they held a narrow 35-33 lead at the half. Holt finished with 16 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists as the Knights needed all of his firepower to help fend off a balanced Chargers group. Kelvin Jones II and Mekhi Cameron, battling a shoulder strain, finished with 17 points apiece to lead No. 2 ELCA (22-9). In the fourth quarter, Odom began to take over, scoring eight straight points in a stretch that grew the Knights’ lead to 59-53 with 4:20 remaining to play. Odom hit a tough floater in the lane over College of Charleston-signee Trevon Reddish with 1:29 left to give St. Francis a 67-62 lead, a defining moment in his bright career. ELCA would not go away however.  The Chargers cut the lead to 67-64 with 56 seconds remaining and saw Chase Ellis miss a pair of free throws. The Chargers were unable to get a clean look at the basket however as Cameron turned the ball over which started a foul fest. With 8.8 seconds left, Odom was sent to the line where he sank both free throws to put the game on ice at 71-66. Cameron knocked down a three with 2.5 seconds left but with no timeouts left the Chargers had to call one to stop the clock which resulted in a technical. Odom went 1-of-2 from the stripe to seal the deal. In the win, St. Francis received 8 points apiece from Chase Ellis and freshman Seth Hubbard. Felix Uadiale posted 16 points, 9 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks, doing damage in the second half. Reddish ended his career with 12 points, 9 rebounds and 9 assists.


[GIRLS] #4 Marion County 50, #3 Calhoun County 38

Marion County

Bruised and banged up, dealing with cramps along with general fatigue and other battle wounds, twins Ansley Whitley and Ashley Whitley left the Macon Centreplex with a state championship, No. 1 Marion County’s first in school history. The Virginia Tech softball-signees overwhelmed No. 4 Calhoun County (29-2) with their size and athleticism as Region 4 Player of the Year Ansley finished with 20 points (12-14 FT), 9 rebounds and 3 blocks while Ashley added 12 points and 12 rebounds, erasing last year’s title defeat from memory and ending their illustrious careers on top. Jameisha Williams added 13 points, 6 rebounds and 4 steals in the win. As a team, the Eagles (28-1) shot 21-of-30 from the foul line while Calhoun County went 3-of-8 and struggled from beyond the arc at 3-for-26. Destiny Hightower had a team-high 12 points and 4 rebounds while Jateriah Winbush netted 10 points for the Cougars. Takia Davis was saddled with foul trouble nearly the entire game and collected just 4 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks in 13 minutes. Region 1 Player of the Year Kanashus Enocher was held scoreless, going 0-of-12 from the field.

[BOYS] #1 Calhoun County 69, #2 Treutlen 67

Calhoun County

No. 3 Treutlen’s heart was broken on the big stage as No. 1 Calhoun County clinched an undefeated 32-0 season and handed the Vikings their second loss of the season after trailing for a majority of the fourth quarter before sophomore guard Tykevious Curry dished off the game-winning assist to Quanderious Powell with two seconds left as time expired to stun the Vikings. A frantic pace from the start, Calhoun County led 16-14 after one and 37-36 at the half as Juwaun Wiley paced the Cougars with 11 points and Jahmad Wiley 9. Treutlen (30-2) used a balanced attack to keep pace with Calhoun County and trailed 55-53 after three quarters following a wild last second hoop from Kam Jordan which gave the Vikings momentum. Treutlen surged ahead and crushed the Cougars on the glass, outrebounding them 27 to 13 in the second half. Before Calhoun County’s game-winning layup, their last lead came at the 5:59 mark up 59-57. Treutlen tried to extend the lead behind James Byrd (17 points & 7 rebounds) and Arkavias Lovett (15 points & 8 rebounds) but Calhoun County kept close, even with Bryan Smith being held to 9 points on the night — 7 coming in the first half. With 57.6 seconds left, it looked as if Treutlen could be making their closing move as Lovett converted a tough And-1 jumper in the lane to make it 66-63 but after Tafarjae Jordan split a pair of free throws, Jahmad Wiley hit a gutsy floater in traffic to knot the game up at 67 with 27.3 seconds left, two of his game-high 18 points .

The Vikings turned to the 6-foot-6 Lovett again inside, but his short jumper was well contested and off the mark, giving the ball back to Calhoun County with 8.8 seconds left.  Having to go the length of the floor, Coach Marcus Shaw turned to Curry, the Co-Region 1 Player of the Year to make the biggest play of the year. Curry, who scored 12 of his 16 points in the second half, raced down the floor and dropped a dime to Powell for the game-winning hoop, not leaving Treutlen enough time to get off the mat. Though the Cougars were outrebounded 46-31, they were able to score 21 points off turnovers and saw senior Juwaun Wiley contribute 13 points and 5 rebounds.  Treutlen’s backcourt of juniors Kam Jordan and KaSabian Mitchell finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds and 6 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals, respectively.

DAY 2 — March 7th


[GIRLS] R6 #1 Douglass 57, R1 #2 Early County 51

Douglass Astros

Kayla Sesberry’s three with 4:35 remaining in the second quarter gave the Lady Astros a 21-18 lead they would never relinquish as No. 3 Douglass (27-6) captured the school’s first state title and held off a late rally from the Bobcats. No. 8 Early County (27-5) led 15-12 after the first quarter as 6-foot-3 star sophomore Makayla Timpson scored seven points and blocked four shots. Jacksonville State-signee Nekiyah Thompson kept the Astros close and midway through the second quarter Douglass seized the lead and took a 28-25 advantage into the half with 6-foot-2 senior Kayla Pruitt altering the game with her play off the bench, posting six points and three rebounds to try and slow down Timpson. In the third quarter Pruitt’s interior play, Thompson’s shooting and Ashuntee Weems’ slashing helped Douglass grow a 41-30 lead with 2:27 left to play, their largest lead of the night before settling for a 41-36 lead following back-to-back threes from Early County’s Taliah Wesley to close the frame. Held to just two points in the third quarter, Timpson got back to work in the fourth quarter as her and post mate Ta’Ziaya Jones started to find their footing, Timpson scoring five points in the quarter along with Jones who scored just two points over the opening three periods. The Bobcats cut the lead to 43-41 with 5:32 left but the Astros held on and maintained a 51-49 lead with 2:07 remaining when Ikenya King split a pair of free throws after Sesberry fouled out Timpson at the 2:28 mark with the Astros up 50-47. At the 1:43 mark Jones was able to draw the Bobcats even at 51 but it would be Early County’s last hoop of the game as the Astros would close on a 6-0 run and hold the Bobcats scoreless the rest of the way. Thompson’s slicing layup with 39.6 seconds left proved to be the clincher as the Bobcats stopped defending near midcourt after they thought they heard a whistle.

Thompson finished her career with a game-high 23 points, 3 assists and 3 steals while Pruitt provided an integral 12 points, 8 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal and 4 blocks.  Ashuntee Weems finished with 10 points followed by Sesberry’s 6. Timpson posted 20 points, 14 rebounds, 4 steals and 5 blocks before fouling out. Freshman guard Jordan Eafford added 10 points, 9 rebounds and 1 block while Jones chipped in 7 points, 12 rebounds and 2 steals. Taliah Wesley netted 9 points. Janya Williams was held to 2-of-11 shooting, 1-of-8 from three for 5 points after hitting five threes and scoring 21 points in the semifinals.

[BOYS] R6 #2 Therrell 51, R2 #2 Vidalia 49


In and out of the line up throughout the season and not even listed on their MaxPreps roster, senior Zyquan Morton found playing time and his three-point stroke at the right time — the state tournament — as Morton helped balance a once one-dimensional offense and help No. 3 Therrell (27-8) to their first ever state title by scoring 16 of his game-high 19 points in the first half, knocking down three three-pointers and six free throws. The Panthers opened quickly with an 8-0 run to start the game before No. 4 Vidalia (27-5) hunkered down with a 13-0 run spanning the end of the first quarter and into the second to take a 20-14 lead as senior forward Toriun Mull scored 10 of his team-high 14 points in the opening 16 minutes. Therrell answered the bell behind Morton, who hit a buzzer beating three to give the Panthers a 27-26 lead at the half.  With Xavier McClendon hobbled, hurt at the 2:17 mark of the first quarter and unable to return until the third quarter where he went down again with a left leg injury and did not return with the Indians down 29-28 with 6:25 to play, Coach Tommy Dalley turned to a 2-3 zone to stymie the Panthers. Back and forth the two teams battled until it was Therrell who came away with a 38-35 lead after three quarters. A mini-run helped the Panthers go ahead 43-37 with 6:08 remaining as Robbie Armbrester broke free for a putback slam. Morton scored his only points of the second half on a three ball that made the score 46-39 with 4:20 left, cracking the magic number of 46, the most points Vidalia had allowed during their postseason run. With the season slipping away, the Indians battled back with buckets inside from Galen White and Mull to cut the deficit to 47-43 with 3:14 remaining. Adam McCloud nailed a triple to make it a 49-46 game with 1:01 left and with 59 seconds to play, Anthony Jones came away with a steal. Following a Dalley timeout, Mark Wardlaw turned the ball over with 23.6 seconds. Roman Son, who scored all 10 of his points in the second half after attempting just one first half shot,  split a pair of free throws before Wardlaw atoned for his mistake and buried a deep three to make it a 50-49 game with just 6 seconds left. RaSean Frederick turned the ball over as Johnathon Moody won a jump ball but in a loose ball scramble, Shawn Edwards was called with a travel with 1.3 seconds on the clock. Cam Fortson split free throws on the other end to ice the game. Therrell was outscored 34-22 in the paint by Vidalia but notched 24 points off turnovers to counter. Armbrester was held to 10 points, 4 rebounds and 4 steals in the win while Frederick netted 8. Vidalia got 10 points apiece from Jones and Wardlaw and saw their bench outscore the Panthers 33-0.


[GIRLS] R3 #2 Johnson-Savannah 54, R8 #1 Hart County 50


Freshman K’lya Hankerson scored only five points but they were the biggest five points of the season as she drilled a three — her 10th of the season — with 1:21 left to play to give No. 2 Johnson-Savannah (22-8) the lead for good and repeat as state champs. The Atomsmashers had control in the first half before No. 4 Hart County (25-7) made their move in the final 16 minutes.  Johnson led 13-7 at the end of one as senior forward Jasmine Thompson scored 11 points, attacking the paint and helping draw two fouls on 6-foot sophomore Taniyah Alexander. Johnson ran their lead to 24-12 at the 5:36 mark, their largest lead of the game when Checobie Hugie bounced in a three-pointer. Hart County was able to close the quarter strong however as Alexander scored eight points down low. With the lead dwindled to one-point, Region 3 Player of the Year J’Mya Cutter hit a three at the buzzer to push the Atomsmasher advantage to 29-25 heading into the half. Thompson continued her monstrous night in the third quarter but Western Kentucky-signee Torrion Starks began to find a groove and started putting pressure on Johnson’s backcourt.  Shakendra Grove hit a pull-up jumper with 13 seconds left to give the Bulldogs their first lead of the game at 37-36 heading into the fourth quarter. Hart County claimed their largest lead of the game with 5:46 remaining in regulation as Starks converted a basket through contact but missed the free throw, making it 42-39. Hart County’s last lead was 42-41 before Hugie nailed a three at the 4:04 mark to pull the Atomsmashers ahead 44-42. Tied at 48 following a Starks layup, Hankerson struck with an unexpected three on the left wing with 1:21 remaining. The Bulldogs had to foul and saw the Atomsmashers miss the front end of two one-and-ones, but Abbygail McLane and A’Cira Teasley missed two clean looks from three on back-to-back possessions. With free throw shooting potentially on the verge to come back and bite the defending state champs, it was Hankerson who stepped up to the line to sink a pair of free throws to put the game away with 13.4 seconds left. Thompson finished her Atomsmashers career with a team-high 20 points and 8 rebounds. Cutter had 13 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 5 steals while Hugie netted 8 points — five in the fourth quarter. Hart County was led by Alexander’s 21 points and 11 rebounds followed by Starks’ 15 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals. A’Cira Teasley added 7 points and 6 rebounds. Grove was held to 5 points on 1-of-5 three-point shooting.

[BOYS] R8 #1 Morgan County 68, R8 #3 Hart County 54

Morgan County

No. 10 Hart County (24-8) led 5-4 at the 4:35 mark of the first quarter and never did so again as Region 8 bully No. 1 Morgan County (30-2) beat the Bulldogs for the third time this season to earn the school’s third state title, first since 2016. Able to match Hart County’s quickness and athleticism unlike many of the Bulldogs’ opponents during their tournament run, Morgan County held Hart County to 32.8 percent shooting as the senior trio of Tyrin Lawrence, Stevin Greene and Austin Peay-signee Alec Woodard overpowered the smaller Bulldogs on both ends. Lawrence, one of the state’s top unsigned seniors, finished with 19 points, 18 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal and 1 block while drilling 3-of-4 three-pointers and going 8-of-12 from the charity stripe. Greene put in 14 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 1 block while Woodard netted 13 points and tallied 5 assists.  Late season addition Malik Crawford paid dividends inside with 11 points and 4 rebounds. Hart County was led by senior guard Rex McCord who posted 19 points and 11 rebounds. Sophomore Shone Webb scored 9 of his 11 points in the fourth quarter, suffering through an off 3-of-9 shooting night, but managed to contribute 5 assists. Tyrese Morrison finished his career with 10 points and 3 assists.

DAY 3 — March 8th

[GIRLS] R1 #1 Carver-Columbus 56, R2 #1 Spalding 44


No. 1 Carver-Columbus (32-0) finished off a perfect season as the Lady Tigers avenged last year’s 58-51 semifinal loss to No. 4 Spalding (25-5). The Jaguars struggled with Carver’s size, quickness and length at every position and saw the Tigers race out to a 17-9 lead after one. Midway through the second quarter the Jaguars had accumulated 14 fouls to Spalding’s five before the count was 16-10 at the half. Carver went 16-of-23 from the foul line to take advantage but Spalding still trailed by just six points at 32-26. The Jaguar offense sputtered in the third quarter as the Tigers outscored Spalding 11-2 to balloon their lead to 43-28 before cruising to the title. Olivia Cochran finished with 15 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks. West Georgia-signee Jailyn Shaw posted 13 points and 14 rebounds while KeKe Gaines added 11 points and 5 rebounds and Sadrea Mabry scored 10 points. Columbus State signee Ja’Nya Love-Hill finished her high school career on the bench after an injury at the 1:30 mark of the third quarter with Carver up 40-28, but was able to celebrate Carver’s first title. Spalding was led by Corriana Evans’ 21 points, 18 rebounds, 3 steals and 4 blocks. Aniaya Jester struggled through an off shooting night going 4-of-18 for 12 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 6 steals along with 7 turnovers. As a team, the Lady Jaguars managed to shoot just 25.5 percent.

[BOYS] R1 #1 Carver-Columbus 58, R1 #2 Americus Sumter 55


No. 5 Carver-Columbus (26-5) led for only 47 seconds of the game and stunned No. 7 Americus-Sumter (26-5), beat the Panthers for the fourth time and claimed the program’s first title since 1971. Americus-Sumter jumped out to a 7-0 lead early and rode 6-foot-7 senior Josh Lusane to a 13-8 lead after one. At the half, the Panthers led 23-20 after their largest lead came at 17-8 at the 4:39 mark. Americus-Sumter couldn’t gain separation in the third quarter as AJ Watts and Devin Flowers bombed from deep, Watts hitting back-to-back threes to cut the lead to 27-26 with 5:05 remaining but a late Wallace Bradley hoop helped Americus-Sumter carry a 37-35 lead into the fourth. Following a Bradley three, the Panthers extended their lead to 42-35 with 7:01 left, their largest lead of the second half, but Flowers ignited a 10-4 run to make it a 46-45 game at the 4:41 mark after nailing one of his three threes on the day. Watts, the Region 1 Co-Player of the Year with Lusane, banked in a three from the right wing to give the Tigers their first lead of the game with 2:12 remaining at 51-50. Americus-Sumter shot 16-of-23 from the free throw line but left points at the stripe late. David Sumlin split a pair of free throws to leave the game tied at 51 with 1:50 to play before the Panthers forced a 10-second call and got the ball back with 1:39 left.  Josh Moore converted a layup to regain the lead, but next possession Watts was fouled and split free throws to trim into the Panthers lead, making it 53-52. It looked as if Americus-Sumter was going to escape when Sumlin missed a free throw attempt but made his second to make it 54-52 before Watts traveled on the other end to give the Panthers possession with 40.7 seconds left, but Watts, who scored 10 of his game-high 19 points in the fourth quarter, drilled a fall away three in the same spot where he gave the Tigers their first lead, to go-ahead 55-54 with just 13.3 seconds remaining. Jalen King, who chipped in 12 points and 7 rebounds, went 1-of-2 from the line with 3.1 seconds left to give Carver a 58-55 advantage. Americus-Sumter couldn’t get a clear inbound pass as Watts clinched the championship with a steal to run the clock out. As a team the Tigers went 9-of-20 from deep, Watts hitting six and Flowers who finished with 18 points, three. Americus-Sumter was led by Lusane’s 19 points and 10 rebounds as the Panthers outrebounded Carver 36-23. Quevoluia Willoughby collected 10 points and 7 rebounds in the loss while Bradley added 10 points. Postseason hero Trae Brown was held to 4 points on 1-of-7 shooting.


[GIRLS] R8 #1 Buford 67, R7 #1 Villa Rica 59


No. 1 Buford (29-2) pulled away in the fourth quarter to complete a three-peat and end No. 2 Villa Rica’s quest for perfection. The Wildcats (32-1) led 12-10 after the first quarter but saw Kentucky-signee Deasia Merrill pick up two early fouls along with starting guard Aliyah Hindsman. Hindsman and Tee Windom scored six points apiece in the opening frame to pace Villa Rica in an action packed opening eight minutes. In the second quarter the Wildcats extended their lead to 28-20 at the 2:19 mark after Merrill sank two technical free throws —  her only points of the half. Instead of impacting the game scoring the ball, Merrill dominated the glass and ignited fast breaks with outlet passes leading to eight fast break points as Villa Rica took a 33-29 lead into the half but in the second half, the transition buckets came to a screeching halt. Buford would limit the Wildcats to just two fast break points over the final 16 minutes as Blair Wallis and Preston Reid started to turn Villa Rica over with their full court pressure. Reid’s layup at the 3:52 mark gave Buford the lead for good at 41-40. Following a 2-point first half on 1-of-7 shooting, Tate Walters found her rhythm from deep, hitting three three-pointers in the third to help offset Windom’s five on the night, giving Buford a 49-47 lead heading into the fourth.  As their perfect season began slipping away, as did Villa Rica’s options on the perimeter with Aliyah Hindsman, Niya Hindsman and Kyndal Coleman all fouling out. After scoring seven points in the third quarter, Merrill was held to two points in the final period as Buford didn’t allow her any post up opportunities. Trailing 60-51 with 3:04 remaining, the Wildcats finally scored after three-plus minutes of no offense as Niya Hindsman and Windom scored layups to make it 61-55 at the 2:26 mark. Buford provided the dagger with 1:08 left when Casey Jones dropped off an assist to Abbi Perkins for a layup to make it 64-57. Buford went 8-of-24 from three, 15-of-29 from the line — going just 8-of-16 in the fourth quarter — and outrebounded Villa Rica 38 to 34 in the win. Walters finished with 16 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists while Wallis scored 11 points off the bench. Jones scored 9 points and Ashyia Willis tallied 8 points and 5 assists. Tee Windom led Villa Rica with 21 points and 5 rebounds while Merrill collected 11 points (3-10 FG), 14 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 steals and  5 blocks but had 8 turnovers. Dekyia Cofield added 10 points and 5 rebounds.

[BOYS] R8 #1 Buford 76. R3 #2 Fayette County 69

Buford Wolves basketball

An 8-0 spurt spanning 58 seconds in which Oklahoma State-signee Marcus Watson scored five points and High Point-signee Eric Coleman netted three propelled No. 1 Buford (29-2) to their second state title in three years, putting away a feisty sharpshooting No. 7 Fayette County (26-6). Watson (17) and Coleman (14) powered the Wolves to a 39-31 lead at the half combining for 31 points. At the 5:02 mark of the third quarter JeKobe Coleman drilled a deep three to ignite a 10-0 run which tied the game at 46 with 2:53 remaining as Coleman and Ricky Knight locked in from beyond the arc. Buford countered with Watson to push ahead 51-46, but Fayette County used a 7-2 flurry to head into the fourth quarter tied at 53 as Coleman hit three threes. At the 7:32 mark of the fourth, Terrell Bradley gave Fayette County their first lead since 15-14 by hitting two free throws to make it 55-53. Tied at 58 with 4:38 remaining, a close charge/block call went in the favor of Buford as Watson was sent to the line for two free throws, sparking the decisive 8-0 run.

During the run Watson hit a step back corner three and Coleman finished an And-1 to make it 66-58. Minutes later Knight sliced into the lane for a tough hanging floater to cut the lead to four, but on the ensuing possession Coleman landed the kill-shot with a straight away three to make it 71-64 with 2:09 left. Knight hit the last of his six three-pointers with 40 seconds left to bring the score to 74-69 but Donell Nixon sank two free throws to end all hopes of a comeback. Buford outrebounded Fayette County 42-23 and kept pace with the Tigers’ three-point shooting, nearly matching them by going 8-of-19 from deep compared to Fayette’s 9-of-24. Watson earned his second state title with a 33-point (9-15 FG; 4-7 3PT; 11-14 FT) 10-rebound performance while Coleman proved to be the missing piece, transferring in from King’s Ridge in the summer and posting 25 points (7-12 FG; 3-5 3PT; 8-11 FT), 9 rebounds and 4 blocks. Wingate-signee Donell Nixon added 8 points and 6 rebounds. In the loss, Knight shined for the Tigers with 26 points (8-12 FG; 6-8 3PT; 4-4 FT). Coleman scored 15 points followed by Josh Dupree’s 12 points, 4 rebounds, 7 assists and 2 steals. Bradley rounded out Fayette County’s attack with 10 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal and 1 block.

DAY 4 — March 9th


[GIRLS] R8 #1 Lanier 52, R4 #1 Lovejoy 45


Facing the state of Georgia’s premier program, No. 4 Lanier (29-3) turned the game into a rock fight a slayed Goliath, No. 1 Lovejoy (29-4), using a 21-8 fourth quarter to shake the country, ending nationally ranked Lovejoy’s quest for a repeat.  The Longhorns jumped out to a 5-0 lead in a whistle happy contest but saw 6-foot-4 junior Christabel Ezumah pick up her second foul just 1:34 into the game. And the end of one, Lanier was tied with Lovejoy 7-7. The Wildcats went on a 10-0 run to pull ahead 13-9 but Genesis Bryant was banished to the bench with three fouls. Taylor Stanley came off the bench to hit a timely three for Lanier to stem the tide but Ezumah soon after earned her third personal. At the half Lovejoy led 26-21 with Anaya Boyd scoring 12 points but the Wildcats shot just 36 percent, while Lanier went 4-of-8 from three. In the third quarter Lovejoy surged ahead for their largest lead of the game at 35-27 with 2:08 left as Bryant knocked down a transition three but junior 6-foot-2 post Lizzie Campbell scored inside late to cut the lead to 37-31 heading into the fourth. Campbell logged major minutes in the absence of Ezumah and came up big, finishing with 8 points, 8 rebounds and 1 block. Lanier dominated the fourth quarter much like they did against No. 2 Forest Park in the semifinals when they looked dead in the water. Kalen Surles, an unsigned 5-foot-10 guard, took over down the stretch besting Boyd and Bryant as she helped ignite a 7-0 run to take a 38-37 lead at the 5:51 mark. Surles knocked down a three to tie the game at 41 and then assisted to Campbell to move ahead 43-41 with 2:50 left, a lead that would stand until the final buzzer. Bryant buried a three at the 1:18 mark to make it 48-44 but the Wildcats were rushed in their shot selection and settled for tough threes. Lovejoy was held to 3-of-14 shooting (21.4%) while shooting 1-of-11 (9.1%) from deep. Lanier went 7-of-13 from the foul line down the stretch with Mekala Fuller going 5-of-8 on the night to help preserve the win. Nala Lawrence led Lanier with 10 points and 4 rebounds while Surles scored seven of her 9 points in the fourth quarter and added 4 rebounds, 7 assists, 4 steals and 1 block. Fuller netted 8 points while Ezumah had 7 points, 6 rebounds and 2 blocks. Taylor Stanley hit two threes. Lovejoy saw Boyd finish with 15 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks. Bryant finished with 8 points along with Mariah Spain.

[BOYS] R5 #1 Tri-Cities 46, R4 #1 Tucker 43


Unsigned senior DaMarcus Johnson struggled with his shot at the Macon Centreplex and had five points heading into the fourth quarter but the human microwave set the temperature to Ball Game as he scored eight of his team-high 13 points in the final frame including drilling the game-winning three at the buzzer to cap a wild 16-6 fourth quarter to give No. 1 Tri-Cities (26-6) their first state title in school history rallying past No. 5 Tucker (28-5). The Bulldogs led 9-6 at the end of the first quarter but Tucker took control with a 12-2 run and led 22-18 at the half holding the Bulldogs to 27.3 percent shooting while 6-foot-6 junior Jermontae Hill and David Giddeon hurt Tri-Cities with their length around the basket, scoring eight points apiece. Tucker continued to make life difficult on the trio of Johnson, Peyton Daniels and Titus Hunter and saw Braelon Seals slash to the basket for a buzzer beating layup to extend the Tigers’ lead to 37-30 heading into the fourth. At the 7:07 mark Hill picked up his fourth foul on a charge and less than three minutes later up 39-33, Hill fouled out with a game-high 14 points on an efficient 5-of-8 shooting. From that point on, the 4:35 mark, the battle tested Bulldogs smelt blood in the water and began to claw back — outscoring Tucker 13-4 with Hill on the bench and holding the Tigers without a field goal in the fourth quarter (0-4). Hunter, the Region 5 Player of the Year, started the comeback with a free throw but from there it was Johnson’s moment, scoring eight points over the span.  Freshman Raylan Barrion hit a pair of free throws to slow momentum at 41-36, but Hunter hit a layup at the 2:39 mark to cut the lead back to three. Johnson delivered a three that bounced on the rim and dropped after a heroic Hunter offensive rebound that tied the game up at 41 with 1:17 left to play.

With 25 seconds left and their primary ball handler on the bench, Nick Watson, the Region 4 Player of the Year, was forced into ball handling duties and turned it over leading to a Demetrius Rives layup in transition, the Bulldogs’ first lead since 14-12.

Watson redeemed himself however, getting to the foul line with 6.9 seconds left and sinking both free throws, but Johnson put on his cape and drilled a long bomb three as time expired to complete the comeback.

Daniels finished with 12 points and 5 rebounds while Hunter had 11 points and 4 rebounds. Giddeon had 9 points and 9 rebounds for Tucker. Barrion scored 8.


[GIRLS] R2 #1 Westlake 60, R6 #1 Collins Hill 53


A quick start afforded No. 1 Westlake (30-0) all the space they needed as the young Lions repeated as state champions and held off a hard charging No. 2 Collins Hill (30-2) who closed to within 40-38 with 1:10 left in the third after an 11-0 run powered by Georgia-signee Javyn Nicholson who scored seven points and finished with 17 points, 15 rebounds, 1 assist and 3 steals to finish. Westlake led 17-8 through the first quarter and ran its lead to 25-10 in the second quarter before settling with a 32-21 advantage at the half. In the third quarter the Eagles trailed 38-27 when Jordan Releford went down with an injury. Turning to a full court press, Collins Hill rallied around their fallen teammate and swarmed the Lions before heading into the fourth quarter down 42-38. Over the final eight minutes, Westlake kicked it into overdrive behind 6-foot-4 junior Lydia Freeman and sophomore sensations Raven Johnson and Brianna “Snoop” Turnage. The trio combined for 16 of Westlake’s 18 points in the fourth quarter to put the game away. Johnson finished with 16 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals and 1 block. Freeman had 16 points, 9 rebounds and 2 blocks. Turnage chipped in 14 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 block. Bria Harmon had 13 points in the loss while Releford posted 7 before the injury.

[BOYS] R3 #1 McEachern 62, R7 #1 Meadowcreek 54


No. 1 McEachern (32-0) earned their first state title the hard way, battling foul trouble and the defending state champion No. 3 Meadowcreek (26-6) to capture the ever elusive Class 7A state championship. The Mustangs led 15-11 with 1:37 left in the first quarter using an 8-0 run to pull ahead but McEachern countered with a 7-0 streak to close the frame up 18-15 as Sharife Cooper scored seven points. A Jared Jones basket inside made it 28-17 but the story was the Indians’ sharpshooting as they connected on 57.1 percent of their shots including going 7-of-14 from deep as Cooper finished the half with 17 points and Alyn Breed 11. South Florida-signee Jamir Chaplin scored 11 points to pace Meadowcreek but they trailed 38-28 at the break. UAB-signee Jalen Benjamin got Meadowcreek off to a quick start with five straight points to cut the lead to 38-34 but he picked up his fourth foul at the 4:36 mark down 42-34 while Cooper was sent to the bench with his fourth just nine seconds later. 57 seconds later, Temple-signee Damian Dunn and Quinton McElroy were tagged with their fourth fouls on a double foul away from the ball. McEachern carried a 49-42 lead into the fourth quarter and led 51-47 with 4:49 left in the fourth when Cooper and McElroy checked back in. Meadowcreek had their chances to narrow the gap or take the lead but with their top scoring options of Benjamin and Dunn sidelined, the Mustangs couldn’t muster enough firepower as Jerod Bush and Braden Sparks played key minutes down the stretch for McEachern to fill in defensively for Cooper and McElroy. The Mustangs ran out of gas and out of star power when at the 3:42 mark Dunn fouled out on a free throw box out as his elbow connected with the face of McElroy, disqualifying him with the Mustangs down 52-47 before McElroy sank both free throws to put the game out of reach.  McEachern turned the ball over 22 times compared to Meadowcreek’s 14, but the Indians shot 52.9 percent from the floor and hit 19-of-25 free throws. McEachern didn’t make a three in the second half and due to limited playing time Cooper only scored three points, but the All-American finished with a game-high 20 points and 4 assists.  Isaac Okoro was a handful going down hill, posting 16 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists. Breed stepped up in the first half especially and ended the night with 15 points and 6 rebounds. Meadowcreek was outrebounded 28-12 and saw the Indians corral 12 offensive rebounds alone. Benjamin led the Mustangs with 19 points — 13 in the second half. Chaplin tallied 13 points and 4 rebounds while Dunn had 9 points before fouling out. Kedrick Green had 7 points.

Spielin’ & Dealin’ Ep. 74: 2018-19 GHSA State Championship Previews


Kyle Sandy previews the GHSA Georgia High School Basketball State Championships.

A-Private Girls [:57]
A-Private Boys [6:26]
A-Public Girls [13:07]
A-Public Boys [16:09]

2A Girls [20:27]
2A Boys [25:53]
3A Girls [30:56]
3A Boys [35:02]

4A Girls [38:29]
4A Boys [41:50]
5A Girls [44:08]
5A Boys [48:09]

6A Girls [53:01]
6A Boys [57:12]
7A Girls [1:01:18]
7A Boys [1:04:07]

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. Ansley 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.