Grayson stuns No. 1 Wheeler in first round 59-58

Defending Class AAAAAA boys champion and No. 1-ranked Wheeler is out of the state tournament, beaten Wednesday night in the first round at home by Grayson – a program that had never won a state-playoff game in its history.

Grayson won 59-58 as Austin Dukes, a point guard, made three free throws with three seconds left. Wheeler led by eight entering the final quarter.

See our State Tournament Wednesday Roundup for more details on the game and others in the first round.

Grayson (21-7) was the No. 4 seed from deep Region 8-AAAAAA. The Rams were handled by region champion Shiloh 54-32 in the region semifinals.

Wheeler had held the No. 1 ranking since Jan.  3 and was 14-0 since then, although had not played a ranked team in AAAAAA. All five of Wheeler’s losses had been to out-of-state teams. Wheeler had not lost to a Georgia team since the 2014 championship game against Tift County.

Another reigning state champion also lost, though it was less surprising, except perhaps the margin of victory. Seminole County was beaten by third-ranked Crawford County 95-64 in a rematch of the Class AA game of 2015.

Other ranked teams were put out Wednesday.

In Savannah, fifth-ranked South Atlanta beat ninth-ranked Johnson 63-57 in AAA.

In AA, unranked Holy Innocents’ beat No. 10 Model of Rome 54-51.

In AAAA, unranked Bainbridge crushed No. 5 Eagle’s Landing 80-46, and unranked New Hampstead beat No. 10 Upson-Lee 82-67.

The tournament resumes Friday and Saturday with the second round.

Credit: Todd Holcomb

Credit: Todd Holcomb