An old dynasty thought to be past its prime shattered the dreams of a national-championship contender last week in the final and most riveting game of the state basketball tournament in Macon.

Wheeler's boys won their seventh state title, first since 2015, with a 60-59 victory over Grayson and finished No. 1 in the Class AAAAAAA rankings.

Chattahoochee (AAAAAA)Dutchtown (AAAAA) and Woodward Academy (AAAA) won state titles for the first time in Macon. Pace Academy (AAA)Swainsboro (AA)St. Francis (A private) and Hancock Central (A public) also won championships to claim final No. 1 rankings.

» MORE: Girls final basketball rankings

The Grayson-Wheeler final stood above the rest. Grayson was ranked as high as No. 2 in one national poll, and no other public-school team in the country was held in higher regard. The Rams had won 22 straight games, including a 73-68 win over Wheeler in December. One more victory would’ve landed them in the GEICO Nationals in New York.

Grayson trailed 42-31 with 2:34 left in the third quarter but led 54-46 with 5:35 left in the game. Wheeler, ranked No. 6 entering the tournament, made another run, outscoring the Rams 14-5 to the final buzzer.

Unlike all previous Wheeler state champions, this Wildcat team didn’t have a major Division I signee such as NBA first-round picks Shareef Abdur-Rahim and Jaylen Brown. But the University of Denver will be thrilled with Sam Hines Jr., who scored seven points in the rally and finished with 28 for the game on 11-of-12 shooting.

“I’ve said all year that Sam is one of the best players in the state that people don’t talk about enough,” Wheeler coach Larry Thompson said. “Sam was a man today. The University of Denver is getting a heck of ball player. He’s everything. ... He deserves all the accolades he’s going to get.”

It was Wheeler’s first title under Thompson, who led Greenforest Christian to championships in 2016 and 2017 before replacing the retired six-time state champion Doug Lipscomb in 2018.

Chattahoochee, like Wheeler, won a title despite seven regular-season losses. Ranked No. 8 entering the tournament, the Cougars defeated Kell 69-66 in the final in overtime behind Cameron Sheffield’s 31 points.

Dutchtown beat Cedar Shoals 57-44 in another final between schools that had never won boys state championships. Jamaine Mann had 20 points and 12 rebounds.

Chattahoochee opened in north Fulton County in 1991 while Dutchtown opened in Henry County in 2004, but Woodward of College Park, a 120-year-old school, had the longest wait of any first-time champion in history. Woodward 7-footer Walker Kessler had 20 points, eight rebounds and five blocked shots in a 75-56 win over Cross Creek of Augusta.

Pace Academy, Swainsboro and St. Francis were the only boys champions that were ranked No. 1 when the tournament began.

Pace beat Jefferson 48-35 for its second state title, first since 2017. Swainsboro beat Therrell 69-75 for its first title since 1996. St. Francis defended its 2019 championship with a 76-55 victory over Greenforest.

Hancock Central beat Treutlen 61-58 in the Class A public final. Treutlen (30-0) had been the last undefeated team in any class.

Class AAAAAAA

  1. Wheeler (24-7)
  2. Grayson (30-2)
  3. Shiloh (24-4)
  4. Milton (26-5)
  5. McEachern (22-6)
  6. Norcross (26-4)
  7. Berkmar (18-10)
  8. Newton (21-10)
  9. North Gwinnett (18-12)
  10. Archer (18-10)

Class AAAAAA

  1. Chattahoochee (25-7)
  2. Lanier (26-6)
  3. South Cobb (28-3)
  4. Tri-Cities (26-6)
  5. Tucker (26-4)
  6. Sequoyah (24-6)
  7. Hughes (21-9)
  8. Evans (22-7)
  9. Valdosta (24-4)
  10. Richmond Hill (24-5)

Class AAAAA

  1. Dutchtown (28-4)
  2. Cedar Shoals (28-4)
  3. Kell (26-6)
  4. Buford (22-7)
  5. Lithonia (26-4)
  6. Southwest DeKalb (19-13)
  7. Eagle's Landing (25-4)
  8. Clarke Central (19-9)
  9. Columbia (18-12)
  10. Warner Robins (22-5)

Class AAAA

  1. Woodward Academy (30-2)
  2. Sandy Creek (25-5)
  3. Cross Creek (25-7)
  4. Americus-Sumter (29-1)
  5. Denmark (25-6)
  6. LaFayette (25-3)
  7. St. Pius (23-8)
  8. Upson-Lee (21-8)
  9. Blessed Trinity (18-10)
  10. McDonough (17-13)

Class AAA

  1. Pace Academy (28-4)
  2. Jefferson (22-8)
  3. Johnson-Savannah (23-8)
  4. Central-Macon (23-8)
  5. Windsor Forest (25-5)
  6. Monroe (21-7)
  7. Dawson County (25-3)
  8. Long County (25-5)
  9. Greater Atlanta Christian (21-9)
  10. Lovett (19-8)

Class AA

  1. Swainsboro (30-2)
  2. Therrell (25-8)
  3. Glenn Hills (23-8)
  4. Washington County (20-7)
  5. Spencer (23-4)
  6. Douglass (21-9)
  7. Chattooga (24-7)
  8. Banks County (25-5)
  9. Butler (19-7)
  10. Laney (21-9)

Class A-Private

  1. St. Francis (29-3)
  2. Greenforest Christian (20-10)
  3. Mount Pisgah Christian (22-8)
  4. Walker (21-8)
  5. Trinity Christian (20-11)
  6. Pinecrest Academy (17-12)
  7. Galloway (23-7)
  8. North Cobb Christian (19-10)
  9. Providence Christian (24-3)
  10. Christian Heritage (20-5)

Class A-Public

  1. Hancock Central (28-3)
  2. Treutlen (30-1)
  3. Wilcox County (28-1)
  4. Terrell County (25-3)
  5. Calhoun County (24-4)
  6. Wilkinson County (20-10)
  7. Drew Charter (18-9)
  8. Lincoln County (18-8)
  9. Dooly County (20-6)
  10. Mitchell County (18-5)

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