Class 3A boys: Cross Creek 60, Windsor Forest 53

The Cross Creek boys won the Class 3A boys basketball championship for the second straight season on March 11, 2022 at the Macon Coliseum.

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The Cross Creek boys won the Class 3A boys basketball championship for the second straight season on March 11, 2022 at the Macon Coliseum.

Any talk about the best basketball program in the state needs to include Cross Creek. The Augusta school has been to the championship game for three straight years and Friday successfully defended its Class 3A title.

No. 5 Cross Creek finished strong and defeated No. 6 Windsor Forest 60-53 at the Macon Coliseum and enhances the argument that the Razorbacks are among Georgia’s elite.

“We talk about the Savannah area, the Atlanta area, but the Augusta area has some great basketball, too,” Cross Creek coach Lawrence Kelly said. “It was shown Thursday night when Westside and Butler played for the (2A) state championship. Its just a tremendous honor to represent Augusta.”

Windsor Forest, which competes in the basketball-rich Savannah area, was trying to win its first state championship. The Knights rode big D’Ante Bass as hard as they could, but the 6-foot-6 Georgetown signee wasn’t enough. Bass proved his mettle by scoring 22 points on 8-for-11 shooting, made 6 of 7 free throws, had 10 rebounds, three assists and two steals.

The Knights (23-6) also got 13 points and seven rebounds from Abasi Scott, but no one else threatened double figures.

That was in stark contrast with Cross Creek (26-6), which had four players in double figures: reserve Ahmad Hunt with 14 points, Jayden Pack with 11 points and six rebounds, Antoine Lorick with 10 points, seven rebounds and four steals before fouling out, and Jaquez Ellison with 10 point and five rebounds.

“It was just a result of all the hard work my guys have put in, my coaches have put in,” Kelly said. “It’s a tremendous thrill to bring it back to Augusta for the second time.”

Cross Creek had to dig in after losing two to players from last year’s championship team who are now playing in college. The Razorbacks did it with balance all season; no player averaged more than 12.3 points.

That depth and balance was evident down the stretch on Friday when Windsor Forest tied the game 45-45 with 4:04 remaining. From that point Cross Creek had six different players in crunch time to take the lead and hold off the challenge.

“They’ve got some great ball players (at Windsor Forest) and we knew it wasn’t going to be easy and a smooth ride,” Lawrence said. “We knew we were going to have to deal with adversity and we played through the adversity and came out on top.”