Milton, Pace fall in GEICO boys first round; Westlake girls open Friday

March 13, 2021 Macon - Milton's Bruce Thornton (2) drives past Berkmar's JaÕRon Ford (right) during the 2021 GHSA State Basketball Class AAAAAAA Boys Championship game at the Macon Centreplex in Macon on Saturday, March 13, 2021 Milton won 52-47 over Berkmar. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)
March 13, 2021 Macon - Milton's Bruce Thornton (2) drives past Berkmar's JaÕRon Ford (right) during the 2021 GHSA State Basketball Class AAAAAAA Boys Championship game at the Macon Centreplex in Macon on Saturday, March 13, 2021 Milton won 52-47 over Berkmar. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Georgia boys state champions Milton and Pace Academy lost their first-round games this week in the GEICO High School Nationals in Florida, and Westlake, a four-time girls state champ, gets its shot Friday in the nationally televised event in Cypress Lakes, Fla.

Milton got 18 points, nine assists and six rebounds from Bruce Thornton, a junior guard committed to Ohio State, but lost Thursday to IMG Academy 73-68. Kanaan Carlyle scored 22 points for Milton. Jaden Bradley, a five-star recruit and point guard, scored 20 for IMG.

On Thursday, Pace senior Matthew Cleveland scored 30 points in his final high school game, but the Knights fell short against Oak Hill Academy of Virginia 84-77. Cleveland, who has signed with Florida State, was 12-of-18 from the field, made a pair of 3-pointers and had eight rebounds. Josh Reed, a junior, scored 21 points. Oak Hill is the most renowned prep school basketball program in the country. Its alumni include Carmelo Anthony, Jerry Stackhouse and Josh Smith.

The girls tournament has four teams, and Westlake is the No. 1 seed. The Lions will play Fremont of Utah on Friday at 12:30 p.m. in a game televised by ESPNU. Westlake won its fourth straight Georgia state title last month.

The tournament is in its 13th season. Georgia is among a minority of states that allow its teams to play after their local seasons are complete.

About the Author

In Other News