Class AAAAAA blog: Top-ranked Tri-Cities boys suffer first loss

The Tri-Cities boys basketball team, ranked No. 1 in Class AAAAAA, suffered its first loss of the season when it fell to Sickles (Fla.) 70-68 Saturday in the second day of the Sunshine State Explosion event in Miami.

The loss ended the Bulldogs’ 21-game winning streak that began after a 75-67 loss to Alexander on Jan. 25. Tri-Cities bounced back from that loss with an 81-78 victory over Douglas County in the regular-season finale, won two games to capture the Region 5 tournament championship and went on to win its first state title. Tri-Cities won its first 13 games this season. 

Junior guard Peyton Daniels scored 36 points in the loss to Sickles, which is 7-2 on the season. Tri-Cities beat St. Thomas Aquinas of Florida 77-57 Friday on the first day of the event. 

Tri-Cities returns to action Saturday against South Paulding in a Region 5 game. 

Three other Georgia teams participated in the Sunshine State Explosion, and all three went 2-0. Douglas County of Region 5 beat Bishop Snyder (Fla.) 60-48 and American Heritage-Plantation (Fla.) 53-52. Class AAAAA Cedar Shoals beat Miami Northwestern 78-42 and Apopka (Fla.) 67-61. Class AAA Jefferson beat tournament host Coconut Creek (Fla.) 66-53 and Coral Reef (Fla.) 75-57. 

Here’s a recap of a few of the other tournaments and showcases featuring Class AAAAAA teams over the past week: 

*Andrew Johnson Bank Ladies Classic: The girls teams from fourth-ranked Dacula and defending state champion Lanier will meet in the fifth-place game Tuesday in Greeneville, Tenn. Lanier got 35 points from Zuriyah Davis in a 49-41 victory over North Greene (Tenn.) Monday. Dacula rallied from a 21-8 first-quarter deficit to beat Dobyns-Bennett (Tenn.) 66-54. Jin Sileo scored 21 points. 

*Big Orange Classic: The Alexander boys lost to Huffman (Ala.) 55-47 in the championship game at Alabama’s Hoover High. The Cougars had beaten Alabama teams Wenonah and Florence in the first two rounds. Bryce Robinson had 15 points and 10 rebounds in the final game. The Alexander girls played in the Campbell Holiday Classic, beating Peachtree Ridge 58-55 for the bracket title. 

*Big South Shootout: The Forest Park girls team beat Class AAAAAAA North Cobb 54-29 Monday night to finish off a 2-1 weekend in the showcase event at Holy Innocents’. The Panthers, ranked No. 5 in AAAAAA, lost to Hoover (Ala.) 61-40 Friday but rebounded with a victory over AAA No. 3 Beach on Saturday. Hoover is 19-1 and the No. 1-ranked team (MaxPreps) in Alabama. 

*Hounds Holiday Hoop Classic: The Cherokee boys (AAAAAAA) and Kell girls (AAAAA) won the championships in the tournament at Pope. Cherokee defeated Westminster 60-42, and Kell beat Hillgrove 54-41. Pope’s boys (11-3) beat South Forsyth 67-61 for a 2-1 record and third-place finish. The Pope girls (7-7) beat Centennial 62-31 Monday and also finished in third place. 

*Lake City Classic: The boys team from Evangelical Christian of Tennessee defeated host Allatoona 70-57 Monday night to win the title. Evangelical’s Cam Jones scored 30 points in the championship game and was named tournament MVP. Allatoona’s Isaiah Logan and Kevin Taylor made the all-tournament team. Fifth-ranked Allatoona defeated Alcoa (Tenn.) and Walton in the first two rounds. 

*Lanierland Tournament: The Gainesville boys seem to have found their footing after an uncharacteristic 0-10 start, winning three games in four days to capture their fourth consecutive Lanierland title. The Red Elephants beat West Hall 75-52 Monday in the title game at Cherokee Bluff. Dee Buffington, the tournament MVP, had 13 points in the final. Class AAA North Hall won the girls title. 

*Queen of Palms Classic: The sixth-ranked Harrison girls were the Emerald Division champions after defeating Muhlenberg County (Ky.) Monday in the tournament in Fort Myers, Fla. Amara Newsom was named the MVP, and Meredith Ward and Mia Geveke made the all-tournament team. The Hoyas defeated Florida opponents Tarpon Springs (41-26) and Estero (73-10) in the first two rounds. 

*Thomasville Holiday Hoopfest: Valdosta’s boys and girls teams rolled to the titles in the tournament at Thomasville, beating their counterparts from the host school in the championship games. Valdosta’s boys beat Gainesville (Fla.) 73-62, Brooks County 81-30 and Thomasville 66-50. The No. 2 Valdosta girls beat Gadsden County (Fla.) 83-19, Leon (Fla.) 59-33 and Thomasville 68-34. 

*Tournament of Champions: The third-ranked South Cobb boys team extended its winning streak to 11 with impressive victories over No. 10 Chattahoochee (89-75) and tournament host Wheeler (65-60), the No. 6 team in Class AAAAAAA. Second-ranked Tucker beat Hughes 56-53 Saturday, a day after losing to AAAAA No. 3 Dutchtown 73-72. Hughes and Chattahoochee both went 0-2.

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