Class A Public blog: The state tourney begins with four teams searching for first titles

Four Class A Public basketball teams will have the honor of opening the four-day GHSA state championships Wednesday at the Macon Centreplex.

None of those teams have won a state title.

The Warren County boys team, the No. 1 seed from Region 7, will play Region 6′s top-seed Drew Charter. The Region 7 No. 1-seed Hancock Central girls will play Region 8 No. top seed Lake Oconee Academy.

The girls play at 1 p.m.; the boys follow at 3 p.m.

Here’s the breakdown:

R7 # 1 Warren County vs. R6 #1 Drew Charter

  • Warren County lost to eventual-champion Towns County in the second round last season, but cleared that hurdle this season, then defeated Manchester 49-48 to reach the finals. Warren County beat Taylor County 79-52, Mitchell County 74-52, Dublin 61-60 and Manchester on the way to the finals. Senior Lorenzo Johnson is scoring 22.5 points a game, with six rebounds and three steals to lead the Warren County offense. Senior Ken’Vonte Brinkley adds 11 points, 5.5 rebounds and two steals per game. Senior Ra’ Quan Myers is scoring 11 points with five rebounds and two steals per game.
  • Drew Charter’s last loss came against Grayson (72-61) on Nov. 27. It enters the state championship on a 28-game winning streak, although the streak might need an asterisk. A scorebook error in the semifinals allowed the Eagles to defeat Social Circle 70-66 in overtime under controversial circumstances where – according to video evidence – Drew Charter was awarded two phantom points in regulation. That would have changed the outcome. Seniors Ja’Kobe Strozier, Cam Johnson and junior Cedric Taylor were named first-team all-region for Drew Charter. Drew beat Washington-Wilkes 61-43, Dooly County 64-60 and Wilkinson County 52-49 before the semis.

Girls

R7 #1 Hancock Central vs. R8 #1 Lake Oconee Academy

  • Hancock Central is riding a 16-game winning streak, which includes a 50-35 victory against Commerce in the semifinals. The Bulldogs have beaten Chattahoochee County 59-32, Bryan County 56-48, Montgomery County 58-56 and Commerce. Senior Jameria Lawrence leads the Bulldogs with 13 points per game. Freshman Neeia Lamar is scoring 11 points per game and senior Tiamber Williams adds 10.
  • Lake Oconee Academy lost to Clinch County 57-53 in last year’s quarterfinals, and the path to this year’s title game could have started there. The Titans haven’t lost since Dec. 6 (against Stratford Academy) and have won 21 consecutive games entering the title matchup. Hannah Heinen, Jada Williams and Kensi Stevens were productive for Lake Oconee throughout the playoffs. In the Titans’ 63-60 victory against Seminole County in the quarterfinals, Heinen scored 23 points, and Williams added 21.