GHSA Basketball State Tournament Wednesday Roundup

By Kyle Sandy & Craig Sager II/Score Atlanta

BOYS

Class AAAAAA

R8 #4 Grayson 59, R5 #1 Wheeler 58: "As long as when we walked in we weren't intimidated by their banners…just don't get intimidated by what they've done in the past. Everybody is 0-0 now," is what Coach Geoffrey Pierce told his Grayson Rams before heading into their first round meeting with No. 1 Wheeler, the defending state champs. His senior-laden group listened as the Rams stunned the home standing Wildcats 59-58 after senior Austin Dukes hit three free throws with 3.6 seconds left to win the game. Nick Edwards hadn't played all game but the sophomore found Dukes on the perimeter for the open look. "I told Dukes just shoot it. Don't try to pump fake or anything because they closed out pretty hard and fouled him on a jumper earlier." Grayson had trailed 32-23 at the half and 44-35 at the end of three quarters, but remained in striking distance. Pierce noted that Wheeler hadn't played many close games and if they kept it within arm's length, they had a shot. His eyes lit up when he saw Wheeler in a man-to-man defense, meaning Dukes and fellow senior Alphonso Willis could create off the dribble. Dukes scored 21 points and grabbed six rebounds while Willis finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds while being saddled with foul trouble. Dealing with the likes of Al-Wajid Aminu (North Florida) and Romello White (Georgia Tech) inside, the Rams were giving up size. Pierce knew heading into the game that controlling the glass would be important if they wanted to advance to the Sweet 16. "We worked in practice whenever a shot went up, we instructed them all to yell 'shot'." It worked out well as Brandon Uziewe and Hafeez Anifowoshe combined for 16 points and 11 rebounds battling the taller front line. With the win, Grayson now has sights set on a long road trip to Lee County. As pleased as the players and coaches are with tonight's performance, Pierce reminded, "four more".

R8 #1 Shiloh 68, R5 #4 Woodstock 35: Shiloh jumped to a 15-9 lead at the end of the first quarter and increased the lead to 55-30 entering the final frame. Josh Okogie led Shiloh with 16 points, all of which came in the first three periods and teammate Malik Chandler finished with 14. Tyreke Johnson led Woodstock with 14 points.

AAAAA

R8 #1 Cedar Shoals 65, R5 #4 Hiram 48: Cedar Shoals took a 43-33 lead at the end of the third quarter before piling on a 22-15 scoring advantage in the fourth. Jerrick Mitchell stuffed the stat sheet with 19 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, while teammates Stavion Stevenson (14) and Snipe Hall (11) also reached double-digits in the scoring column.

R8 #2 Gainesville 68, R5 #3 Villa Rica 62: After a sluggish start outside of Georgia State signee D'Marcus Simonds, No. 6 Gainesville got the ball rolling and fending off an upset-minded Villa Rica team. Simonds scored 15 of Gainesville's 21 first quarter points as the Red Elephants entered the second quarter knotted up. Simonds scored 25 of his game-high 33 in the first half. The Wildcats cut the lead to 61-58 with 2:01 left, but the Red Elephants were able to put the game away late from the line.

R4 #1 McIntosh 100, R1 #4 Carver-Columbus 69: Carver-Columbus jumped on McIntosh out of the gates with a 10-0 run before the Chiefs countered to pinch a 21-17 lead at the end of the first period. McIntosh outscored Carver 21-14 in the second quarter to take a 42-31 halftime lead and entered the final quarter with a comfortable 70-48 advantage. Furman signee Jordan Lyons led McIntosh with 31 points, while Daniel Melvin and Timothy James paced Carver with 14 points apiece.

R6 #1 Miller Grove 101, R7 #4 Sprayberry 41: Miller Grove cruised to a 48-20 halftime lead and outscored the visiting Yellow Jackets 18-13 in the third quarter before piling on a 25-7 advantage in the final frame. Tae Hardy and Aidan Saunders led the Wolverines with 20 points apiece while adding six and four steals, respectively. Alterique Gilbert added nine steals with 17 points and Aaron Augustin stuffed the stat sheet with five steals to go with his 13 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds.

R2 #2 Richmond Academy 85, R3 #3 Effingham County 74: No. 10 Effingham County's season came to an abrupt end, losing to the Madison Williams-led Musketeers. The Illinois State signee poured in 32 points and Rashard Calloway added 14. Richmond Academy gets a chance to shock the world if they can knock off No. 1 Miller Grove, who beat Sprayberry 101-41 in the first round.

R6 #2 Southwest DeKalb 66, R7 #3 Kell 42: Keith Gilmore scored 19 points to pace four Panthers in double figures. Mandarius Dickerson and TiQuan Lewis both netted 11 points while Nathaniel Ambersley chipped in 10. The Panthers now visit No. 7 Warner Robins in round two out of Region 2.

AAAA

R4 #1 Jonesboro 81, R1 #4 Worth County 47: The bigger Rams were no match for No. 1 Jonesboro. MJ Walker and Eric Lovett both scored 21 points while Tariq Jenkins pitched in 13. The Cardinals host Carrollton in round two, who comes off a 59-56 win over North Hall.

R6 #4 St. Pius 63, R7 #1 Cartersville 46: No. 8 St. Pius shook off a bad region tournament and took care of Cartersville in the opening round of state. The trek from DeKalb County to Bartow County didn't hinder the Golden Lions led by Kerney Lane and Carson Seramur's 20 points apiece. St. Pius now travels to Thomson in the Sweet 16.

R6 #2 Lithonia 88, R7 #3 Northwest Whitfield 36: The trip to DeKalb County wasn't a pleasant one for the Bruins from Tunnel Hill. Jacara Cross posted 17 points, nine rebounds and five blocks to power the No. 4 Bulldogs. UTC signee Rodney Chatman finished with 14 points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals. Tylon Patterson added 11 points while Tyheem Freeman scored 12. The Bruins received 14 points from Luke Shiflett and 10 from Paxton Pardee.

R1 #3 Monroe 71, Walnut Grove R4 #2 45: Monroe pounded No. 6 Walnut Grove into submission with a decisive victory. Emeshaun Offord drilled six three-pointers and finished with 25 points to advance the Tornadoes to the Sweet 16.

R3 #4 New Hampstead 82, R2 #1 Upson-Lee 66: No. 5 Upson-Lee's 17-game win streak was shattered by New Hampstead in the opening round of the AAAA state tournament. Out of Savannah, the Phoenix road Oronte Anderson to 32 points, 10 over his season average of 22, into the Sweet 16. Sophomore Ty Fagan went for 27 in the loss. New Hampstead now travels to No. 4 Lithonia for its second round matchup.

R5 #2 Woodward Academy 53, R8 #3 Monroe Area 52: Leading 45-35 heading into the fourth quarter, the War Eagles had to cling on for a state playoff victory. Brennan McDaniel finished with 15 points and nine rebounds. Maxwell Chester added 15 points and five rebounds. Jacob Robertson scored 10 in the win. Woodward now travels to Westover in the Sweet 16.

AAA

R6 #1 Calhoun 68, R7 #4 West Hall 39: No. 2 Calhoun remained perfect and ran its record up to 26-0 after dispatching of the Spartans. Kaelan Riley led the charge with 14 points and 13 rebounds while Chapin Rierson added 14 points.  Jireh Wilson led the Yellow Jackets in scoring with 16 and nine rebounds. Ray Reeves netted 10 points. Malik Lawrence scored nine from his guard position. In the second round, Calhoun hosts R2 #2 Westside-Macon and five-star sophomore Khavon Moore. The Seminoles downed Butler 79-67 in round one.

  R7 #1 East Hall 86, R6 #4 Ringgold 59: No. 10 East Hall rained down threes in Valhalla, sinking 12 in the first half and 18 in the game. Andy Lara led the Vikings with 16 points while Triston Cooper added 15. Luke Holtzclaw and Tylor Brown scored 12 and 11 respectively.

  R8 #3 Jackson County 75, R5 #2 Rockmart 52: It had been 51 long years since Jackson County had won a state playoff game, but with this record-breaking season at hand for Coach Chuck Butler, the Panthers continued to EAT. Jackson County held a lead early in the game but couldn't push it out past 10 points. With a 34-28 lead at the half, Jackson County quickly saw it cut in half after a Rockmart three. Coach Butler sensing the game tightening up, decided to put on a full court press and the rest was history for Rockmart as the Panthers blitzed past the Yellow Jackets. Seniors led the way for Jackson County. Joel Ellis scored a team-high 20 points, Preston Giroux added 15, Malique Wade netted 14 and Stephen Fogarty chipped in 10 while junior Christian Smith scored 13. Jackson County is now 18-11 after a 4-22 season a year ago. They will travel to defending champion No. 5 Jenkins in the second round.

R8 #1 Morgan County 71, R5 #4 Pepperell 30: Class AAA's No. 1 ranked team looked the part picking up a 41-point first round victory. Florida Atlantic signees Jailyn Ingram (17) and Devorious Brown (10) combined for 27 points. Jordan Ford added 14 and Emmanuel Little 10 in the rout.

R4 #3 South Atlanta at R1 #2 Johnson-Savannah: In a game filled with lopsided scoring runs, South Atlanta closed the game on a 12-5 run in the final two minutes. South Atlanta had what seemed like a comfortable 22-7 lead after the first quarter, but an 11-0 run sparked by Da'Monte Greene's seven straight points chipped the Atomsmashers' deficit to 26-18 at the half. South Atlanta grew the lead to 39-25 in the early in the third quarter, but a 14-0 run by Johnson tied it at 39-39 entering the fourth quarter. Johnson finally claimed the lead with just over two minutes left (52-51), but South Atlanta's 12-5 run to close the game hushed the comeback.

AA

R4 #1 Crawford County 95, R1 #4 Seminole County 64: The rematch of last year's AA state title game turned out much different. No. 2 Crawford County hammered No. 7 Seminole County, who limped its way to the finish line. Will Jarrell posted 27 points and 10 rebounds while Marcal Knolton went for 23 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks inside. Monkeize Moore was the crucial third piece to the puzzle, adding 17 points. UGA signee Jordan Harris finished with 37 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks in the final game of his historic Seminole County career.

R6#1 Pace Academy 70, R7 #4 Darlington 48: Darlington took the host Knights into the half with a 26-25 lead, but a 21-2 scoring advantage in favor of Pace Academy in the third quarter turned the tides as Darlington trailed 46-28 entering the final frame. Kyle Tackeberry led Darlington with 18 points. Pace Academy was led by Isaiah Kelly's game-high 19 points, while teammate Wendall Carter Jr.'s netted 15.

R8 #3 Union County 56, R5 #2 Bowdon 51: Behind 21 points and eight rebounds from Crawford Colwell, the Panthers were able to hold off the Red Devils. Union County led 12-8 at the end of one while CJ Brewer scored all eight for Bowdon. The Panthers extended their lead to 23-18 at the half, but to open the third quarter it was the Red Devils coming out on an 11-0 run to take a 29-23 lead. Union County quickly regained its footing and took a 39-32 lead into the fourth quarter before holding on. Chase Shook scored 15 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in the win Lawson Baenniger chipped in 11 points. Bowdon was led by Brewer's 23 points and 17 rebounds. Octavius Meadows finished with 21 points and nine rebounds.

Girls

AAAAAA

R2 #1 Tucker 81, R3 #4 Campbell 63: Host Tucker jumped to a 42-21 halftime lead and took a 65-36 lead into the fourth quarter. Bria Bass led the Tigers with 17 points, while Kierra Johnson-Graham netted 14 pionts and hauled in a mighty 21 rebounds.

A AAAA

R7 #1 Sequoyah 77, R6 #4 Miller Grove 39: The Lady Chiefs rolled at the War Lodge, defeating Miller Grove by 38 points. Megan Garcia was an integral part, scoring 22 points to lead the way for the She-Chiefs.

AAAA

R1 #3 Bainbridge 50, R4 #2 Jonesboro 49: Jonesboro led 14-4 after the first quarter but visiting Bainbridge answered with a 13-4 edge in the second period to cut the halftime deficit to 18-17. The drama continued in the second half as Jonesboro increased the lead to 41-35 midway through the fourth quarter. Bainbridge used a crucial 9-0 run to shift momentum and grab a 44-41 lead. Bainbridge took a 48-46 lead with under a minute to play before Jonesboro's Victoria Sutton hit a three pointer with 20 seconds left to put the Cardinals ahead 49-48. Sophomore Nadia Marshall drew the foul on the other end and drilled both free-throws, the second which proved to be the game-winner. Saadia Munford led Jonesboro with 20 points.