Class A Blog: A finals primer

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Here’s a primer for the final basketball games of the season, all at the Macon Centreplex.

But before that, hats off to all of the players, coaches, cheerleaders, trainers, scorekeepers, announcers, officials, athletic directors, principals and custodial staffs who followed COVID-19 protocols, kept the gyms, locker rooms, training rooms and weight rooms clean and gave us a full basketball season!

BOYS

Private

Region 5 No. 1 Holy Innocents’ (16-3) vs. Region 6 No. 1 Mount Pisgah (26-6), Today, 2:30 PM

How they got here: Region 5 champion Holy Innocents’ beat Region 8 No. 4 Athens Christian (65-43), Region 7 No. 2 Darlington (41-35), Region 3 No. 1 Savannah Country Day, and Region 6 No. 2 St. Francis (59-46).

Region 6 champion Mount Pisgah beat Region 7 No. 4 North Cobb Christian (72-45), Region 5 No. 3 Providence Christian (62-50), Region 4 No. 1 St. Anne-Pacelli (62-55) and Region 7 No. 1 Christian Heritage (66-57).

The Skinny: This is the first trip to the finals for both schools. Holy Innocents’ advanced to the quarterfinals last season while Mount Pisgah advanced to the semifinals. Holy Innocents’ is led by three seniors – G Garrison Powell (19 points, five rebounds per game), PG Justin Wilson (12 points, three rebounds and five assists) and SF Landon Kardian (13 points and seven rebounds) … Mount Pisgah has lost to just one Class A team all season, Region 6 rival St. Francis, 69-55, on January 29. The Patriots avenged the loss in the region tournament final, 65-46.

Public

Region 8 No. 1 Towns County (24-3) vs. Region 7 No. 1 Hancock Central (16-1), Saturday, 12:30 PM

How they got here: Region 8 champion Towns County beat Region 5 No. 4 Manchester (78-67), Region 7 No. 3 Warren County (77-67), Region 2 No. 1 Irwin County (61-55) and Region 5 No. 1 Chattahoochee County (59-45).

Hancock Central beat Region 6 No. 4 Fulton Leadership Academy (73-52), Region 8 No. 3 Social Circle (68-58), Region 1 No. 1 Terrell County (65-63), and Region 4 No. 1 Dublin (73-72).

The Skinny: Hancock Central is the defending state champion. The Bulldogs also won a state title in 2008… Prior to this season, Towns County’s deepest run in the state playoffs was a trip to the quarterfinals in 1974 in Class B … Hancock Central is led by a trio of seniors – G Leroy Wilson (18 points per game), PG Jamal Taylor (18 ppg) and F Marquavious Lawrence (13 ppg), who was a standout linebacker for the Bulldogs in football.

GIRLS

Private

Region 5 No. 1 Hebron Christian (28-2) vs. Region 6 No. 1 St. Francis (22-4), Today, 12:30 PM

How they got here: Region 5 champion Hebron Christian beat Region 8 No. 4 George Walton (83-12), Region 7 No. 2 Christian Heritage (85-45), Region 1 No. 2 Stratford Academy (79-24) and Region 5 No. 4 Galloway (68-54).

Region 6 champion St. Francis beat Region 7 No. 4 North Cobb Christian (68-41), Region 5 No. 3 Wesleyan (59-48), Region 2 No. 2 Eagle’s Landing Christian (56-42) and Region 5 No. 2 Holy Innocents’ (58-50).

The Skinny: Hebron Christian is in the finals for the first time in its second season under legendary head coach Jan Azar, who build the program at Wesleyan where she won more state titles (13) than any other coach, boys or girls, in Georgia high school basketball history … St. Francis advanced to the finals last season before losing to eventual champion Holy Innocents’… Since 2013, St. Francis has advanced to at least the semifinals and has won three state titles, the latest in 2016.

Public

Region 2 No. 1 Clinch County (20-1) vs. Region 1 No. 1 Calhoun County (13-1), Saturday, 10 AM

How they got here: Region 2 champion Clinch County beat Region 3 No. 4 Jenkins County (70-38), Region 4 No. 2 Montgomery County (57-38), Region 8 No. 1 Lake Oconee County (57-53), and Region 5 No. 2 Greenville (58-52).

Region 1 champion Calhoun County beat Region 4 No. 4 Telfair County (64-32), Region 2 No. 3 Brooks County (48-27), Region 7 No. 1 Georgia Military College (61-34), and Region 8 No. 2 Commerce (46-38).

The Skinny: Clinch County advanced to the quarterfinals last season, and is trying to win the program’s fifth state title, the first since 1993… Calhoun County advanced to the semifinals last season, and is trying to win a state title for the first time in school history… Both teams suffered their only losses on December 29 to schools from larger classifications – Clinch County to Class 5A Ware County (45-33) and Calhoun County to Class 2A Early County (43-42).

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