Class 5A boys final: Eagle’s Landing 81, Tri-Cities 69

The Eagle's Landing boys basketball team won the 2021 Class 5A championship at the Macon Coliseum.
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The Eagle's Landing boys basketball team won the 2021 Class 5A championship at the Macon Coliseum.

The young Eagle’s Landing basketball team taught a lesson to their veteran coach this season, and it wound up producing a state championship.

The Eagles outlasted Tri-Cities 81-69 to win the Class 5A boys championship Thursday at the Macon Coliseum. It was the school’s second championship and first since 2013.

“God is so awesome. This year has been so great,” Eagle’s Landing coach Elliott Montgomery said. “These kids taught me a lesson … to enjoy life and not to be so uptight. I am so thankful for these kids. With coaches, winning a state championship is an ego thing a lot of time … but I can’t take any credit. These are great kids, and the sad thing is, they told me they’d be back next year.”

That’s when Montgomery cracked a big smile, knowing he has three starters who will return. Chilling out – and winning a state championship – can have that effect.

Eagle’s Landing (29-1) was led by A.J. Barnes with 21 points and 11 rebounds, David Thomas with 19 points and Jaylon Hand and Jordan Fordyce with 15 apiece. The Eagles finished the season with a 16-game winning streak.

Tri-Cities (23-5) got 25 from Peyton Daniels, a Vanderbilt signee who had five rebounds, three assists and four steals. Simeon Cottle scored 13 with five assists, and Dwayne Cottle scored 12.

The Eagles used a 13-0 run in the first quarter to open a 20-7 lead and built the lead to 30-11 after Jaylon Hand’s 3-pointer to open the second period.

“I ask my assistants if we need to slow it down,” Montgomery said. “I wrote on the blackboard to make them play our kind of ball. Anybody who has seen us knows we like to get it up and down the court, too.”

That’s when Daniels scored nine consecutive points in an 11-3 run that kept the game within reach. Eagle’s Landing led 49-37 at the half.

“I knew they were going to make a run,” Montgomery said. “They’re too good. That Daniels kid is awesome. The young man hits nine straight points and changes everything. Great player. Great kid. I wish him well.”

Tri-Cities got as close as four points at 53-49 on a Daniels basket, but could not narrow the margin. The Bulldogs had one last push when Daniels scored to make it 71-67, which was as close as they could get.


Tri-Cities – 11-26-21-11—69

Eagle’s Landing – 27-22-15-17—81

Tri-Cities: Dwayne Cottle 12, Peyton Daniels 25, Mario McIntosh 7, Simeon Cottle 13, Davorian Rudolph 5, Jackson Watson 2, Chancelor Johnson 5.

Eagle’s Landing: Jordan Fordyce 15, Jayden Jackson 7, A.J. Barnes 21, Jaylon Hand 15, David Thomas 19, Khylan McKenny 2, Fabian DeSilva 2.