Boys: Second-round previews

The marquee game of the second-round should be No. 5 Cedar Grove at No. 9 Calhoun, which features a pair of well-coached, athletic teams.

Cedar Grove (19-4) bounced back from its unfortunate meltdown in the Region 4 final with a 73-59 win over Josey in the first round. The Saints are led by forward Jaraca Cross (15.5 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3 blocks), Chris Fredrick (13.0 points) and Kenneth Lewis (11.8 points).

Calhoun (22-3) has won 19 straight games, including an 81-48 beatdown of Pepperell in the first round. Coach Vince Layson’s team has been offensively solid behind Kaelan Riley (14.7 points, 9.1 rebounds), Jireh Wilson (14.1 points, 4.2 rebounds) and Chapin Rierson (11.6 points, 5.4 rebounds), a trio of underclassmen. The Yellow Jackets have only three seniors on the roster.

Calhoun is in a quest for a rare double; the Yellow Jackets won the state football championship in December.

Here’s a look at the other second-round games:

  Peach County at East Hall: East Hall (23-5) brings a five-game winning streak into this game. The No. 8 Vikings, who have won 10 of 11, are led by Kyvon Daneport, who had 24 points, including five dunks, in the first-round win over Jefferson. Triston Cooper is an outstanding 3-point shooter and Jacquen Hopkins does a nice job as the floor leader. Peach County (23-5) likes to play fast, too. The Trojans are led by Darrell White (13.7 points, 4.6 rebounds) and Jared Johnson (11.1 points) and average almost 70 points.

Rockmart at Laney: No. 1 Laney (27-1) has won 27 straight games. The Wildcats are loaded with outstanding players who can run, shoot and play defense. They have three starters who average double figures: Jashawn Brooks (13.1), Christian Keeling (11.3) and Collin Young (11.0), but they rotate 10 players so they can play their relentless style. Rockmart (22-6) has made its bones this year with it's stellar defense, but the Bulldogs probably haven't come across anything like they'll see in this game.

Central Carroll at South Atlanta: Central Carroll (13-16) will have to jump over a huge obstacle in order to reach the quarterfinals for the first time since 1988. Isaiah Boyd leads the Lions with 16.4 points. No. 4 South Atlanta (26-4) has won 16 straight games thanks to its relentless defense and the seemingly unlimited number of players that coach Michael Reddick has at his disposal. The Hornets shoot it well from the 3-point line and are extremely quick.

Central Macon at Morgan County: No. 3 Morgan County (20-7) continues its quest to defend its state title. Guard Tookie Brown leads the Bulldogs, who dismantled Lumpkin County 82-33 in the first round. No. 10 Central Macon (20-7) likes to play an up-tempo style (as do a lot of teams in Region 2) and have four underclassmen who average double figures: sophomore Antarius McCoy (22.2), Derrick Evans (16.8), Rakwon Iverson (13.0) and Kentrevious Jones (11.3). The Chargers have won 10 of their last 11, losing only to No. 7 Rutland in the region final.

Banks County at Rutland: No. 7 Rutland brings an eight-game winning streak into the games thanks largely to an offense that averages 81.6 points. The Hurricanes are a three-headed offensive monster, led by Tylik Evans (22.7), Jeremy Braswell (19.6) and Dallas Smith (15.9), three seniors with plenty of court savvy. Banks County (24-5) has above-average size with Austin Venable, Zac Orr and Kahmal Wiley, with point guard Zez Steeple doing a good job setting the offense. The Leopards have set a school record for wins this year.

Blessed Trinity at Callaway: No. 6 Blessed Trinity (24-5) may be the most deliberate team remaining in the playoffs. First-year coach Patrick Hughes doesn't mind playing the patience game and waiting for the best shot, a strategy that worked in the first-round 32-30 win over Washington County. Callaway, perhaps the best unranked team in Class AAA, at 19-4 is another athletic team that can expect to have its will tested. The Cavaliers, who got to the final four a year ago, are led by Braylon Sanders, Quadarius Patillo and Dre Martin.

Hart County at Jenkins: No. 2 Jenkins (25-3) has won 15 straight games, thanks to its defensive mindset. The Warriors are led by Georgia State signee Mikel Benlevi (16.1 points) and Eric Johnson (9.3 points, 4.5 assists). Hart County (16-13) opened with a 10-0 blitz to easily take out Franklin County in the first round. The Bulldogs are led by Dre Sadler, a good shooter and defensive threat. Hart is expected to get Anthony Turner back in the lineup; he sat out the state playoff opener after sustaining a hard fall in the region tournament.