Region 6-AAAAA has produced the champion in each of the past three seasons.
“They’re absolutely the team to beat,’’ said Lakeside coach Larry Pierce. “They’re the best team in the best region. That speaks for itself. They do so many things well. They can shoot and take it inside and handle the ball.’’
The 2009 team was guard-oriented with Mfon Udofia, now a Georgia Tech freshman, as its leader. This team is noted more for its inside game.
Williams, who scored 14 points Friday, is a 6-foot-9 post player who is rated among the top 20 senior prospects in Georgia. Junior Henry Brooks, a 6-7 forward, has SEC and ACC offers. He scored 17.
“We’ve got some athletic bigs," White said. "But a lot of guys underestimate our guard play now, but they’re just as good [as last season] because they’ve been practicing and playing with Mfon for three or four years, and some of that rubbed off on them.’’
The guards came with pressure Friday. Trailing 34-33 at halftime, Miller Grove allowed only one field goal in the third quarter until Strickland made a steal and a layup with 1:22 left in the period. By then, it was 57-45. Miller Grove also held Lakeside (17-7) without a field goal for a six-minute stretch in the fourth quarter.
The only big concern now is a toe and ankle injury that kept 6-9 forward Tony Parker out of the game. His status for the state tournament is undetermined.
Otherwise, Miller Grove is on schedule. The region final is Monday against the winner of Friday’s late game between Marist and Chamblee.
‘’There’s a certain type of walk you have to have to win a state tournament,’’ White said. “We’re getting it.’'