Class AAA blog: Nine region champions advance to boys/girls state tournament quarterfinals

The quarterfinal schedule has been set after Class AAA made its way through the second round of the GHSA high school basketball tournament Wednesday and Thursday.

On the boys side, five region champions – Pace Academy (5-AAA), Long County (2-AAA), Jefferson (8-AAA), Monroe (1-AAA) and Windsor Forest (3-AAA) -- will play for a berth in the semifinals. Monroe will have to travel to Jefferson.

For the girls, four region champions – North Hall (7-AAA), Jefferson (8-AAA), Johnson-Savannah (3-AAA) and Sonoraville (6-AAA) – are still alive. Top-ranked Johnson-Savannah will have to travel to Sonoraville.

Here’s a look at what took place in the second round:

Boys:

-- Top-ranked Pace Academy advanced after a 61-32 victory against Beach at home. Cole Middleton led the Knights with 20 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks. Four-star shooting guard Matthew Cleveland, a 6-foot-6 junior, and the No. 2 recruit in the state for the 2021 class, scored 19 points with nine rebounds.

-- Other notable boys results: On the left side of the bracket, Pace will play at home against Monroe Area in the quarterfinals after the Hurricanes defeated Westside-Macon 71-66, ending Westside’s 13-game winning streak. Since losing to Jefferson in the 8-AAA region tournament Feb. 7, Monroe Area had victories against Hart County 74-72, North Murray 49-47 (OT) and Westside. ... Johnson-Savannah outlasted an upset-minded four-seed Cedar Grove 71-57 after the Saints beat Region 7 No. 1 Dawson County in the first round 72-69. ... On the right side of the bracket, Jefferson defeated Pierce County 65-57 and will host Monroe in the quarters after Monroe defeated Greater Atlanta Christian 59-52. ... Windsor Forest beat Cherokee Bluff 80-55 and will play at home against Central-Macon in the quarterfinals. Windsor Forest's D’ante Bass led all scorers with 17 points. The Knights led 38-27 at halftime and 52-37 at the end of the third quarter before outscoring Cherokee Bluff 28-18 in the final quarter.


Girls:

-- Top-ranked Johnson-Savannah continued its bid for a third consecutive Class AAA championship, advancing to the quarterfinals with a convincing 47-point victory against Fannin County. Five Johnson players scored in double-figures, including senior captains Antalazia Baker (18 points, 10 rebounds and 10 steals) and Jaida Burgess (15 points, four rebounds and five assists). Sophomore Amani Hamilton scored 15 points with 15 rebounds and 15 blocks. Sophomore K’yla Hankerson scored 11 points with eight rebounds and two blocks, and junior Tiana Williams scored 10 points.

Other notable girls results: On the left side of the bracket, Ringgold defeated Rutland 64-40 and will play at home against Beach in the quarterfinals. The Bulldogs beat Cedar Grove 50-43 to advance. ... North Hall will host Region 8 No. 2 Morgan County after the Trojans beat Savannah 55-33. Morgan County advanced after a 57-51 victory against Tattnall County in the second round. ... On the right side of the bracket, Region 8 No. 1 Jefferson defeated Pierce County 64-33 and will host GAC in the quarters. GAC beat Monroe 50-42 to advance.

Boys quarterfinal pairings (Feb. 25-26)

R8 #3 Monroe Area at R5 #1 Pace Academy

R3 #3 Johnson-Savannah at R2 #1 Long County

R1 #1 Monroe at R8 #1 Jefferson

R4 #2 Central-Macon at R3 #1 Windsor Forest

Girls quarterfinal pairings (Feb. 25-26)

R3 #2 Beach at R6 #2 Ringgold

R8 #2 Morgan County at R7 #1 North Hall

R7 #2 Greater Atlanta Christian at R8 #1 Jefferson

R3 #1 Johnson-Savannah at R6 #1 Sonoraville

Boys second-round scores

R8 #3 Monroe Area 71, R4 #1 Westside-Macon 67

R5 #1 Pace Academy 61, R3 #2 Beach 32

R2 #1 Long County 66, R8 #2 Franklin County 57

R3 #3 Johnson-Savannah 71, R5 #4 Cedar Grove 57

R8 #1 Jefferson 65, R2 #2 Pierce County 57

R1 #1 Monroe 59, R7 #2 Greater Atlanta Christian 52

R4 #2 Central-Macon 55, R8 #4 Hart County 43

R3 #1 Windsor Forest 80, R7 #3 Cherokee Bluff 55

Girls second-round scores

R6 #2 Ringgold 64, R4 #1 Rutland 40

R3 #2 Beach 50, R5 #1 Cedar Grove 43

R8 #2 Morgan County 57, R2 #1 Tattnall County 51

R7 #1 North Hall 55, R3 #3 Savannah 33

R8 #1 Jefferson 64, R2 #2 Pierce County 33

R7 #2 GAC 50, R1 #1 Monroe 42

R6 #1 Sonoraville 81, R4 #2 Jackson 63

R3 #1 Johnson-Savannah 92, R7 #3 Fannin County 45

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