2016 GHSA Basketball State Championship Preview

Photo by Ty Freeman

All roads lead to Macon, but not every path is the same. Georgia enjoyed one of its deepest talent pools in recent memory with parity sprinkled throughout the Peach State.

Region 3 has reigned supreme this year in Class AAAAAA sending three teams to the Elite Eight before No. 2 Westlake and No. 7 Pebblebrook have separated themselves from the pack. It will be the fourth meeting between the Lions and the Falcons, a series that has been dominated by Westlake sweeping the three games. Pebblebrook has some unfinished business to attend to however after losing to Wheeler 59-58 on two free throws with 0.6 seconds left in last year’s AAAAAA championship.

A familiar face returns to the Centreplex after a year off in No. 1 Miller Grove. The Wolverines are back to reclaim the crown behind McDonalds All-American and UConn signee Alterique Gilbert. Additions of Aaron Augustin, Tae Hardy and Colin Young have propelled Coach Sharman White’s team back into the limelight as they search for their seventh title in eight years. Standing in their way will be No. 2 Allatoona, the state’s last unbeaten team. Coach Markus Hood will try to put a capper on a perfect 32-0 season with the school’s first ever state championship.

No. 1 Jonesboro attempts to make it three-straight championships in Class AAAA if they can slow down the powerful scoring duo of Auburn-commit Davion Mitchell and UGA football-commit Richard LeCounte of No. 2 Liberty County.

Class AAA has been wide open all year long but in the end it was No. 1 Morgan County and No. 5 Jenkins who have driven crash course to Macon for a rematch of last year’s epic 62-60 Warrior victory.

No. 3 Pace Academy has caught fire since its 2-8 start to the year. Wendell Carter Jr. the nation’s top junior leads the Knights into battle with No. 10 Manchester in the AA final.

Class A-Private No. 1 Greenforest has been the state’s most devastating team and they will try to end defending two-time state champion No. 2 St. Francis and McDonalds All-American Kobi Simmons’ hold over the classification while in A-Public seven-time champ No. 1 Wilkinson County gets a rubber match with No. 4 Hancock Central.


The girls brackets provide some of the weekend’s most anticipated storylines as an assemblage of decorated champions clashes with rising first-timers. The McEachern girls look to become the first team to complete a three-peat in the state’s highest classification since Collins Hill completed the feat in 2007, a year after former Eagle Maya Moore led them to back-to-back titles and earned consecutive Naismith Prep Player of the Year honors. In Class AAAAA, Southwest DeKalb searches for its fifth state title since 2008, while Winder-Barrow makes its first finals appearance in program history. Winder-Barrow had not even made the postseason since 1994 prior to this season. Class AAAA finalists Veterans and Americus-Sumter sets up the only championship matchup this weekend that will guarantee a first-time state champion. In Class AAA, Morgan County looks to snap a title drought that dates back to 1983, while appearing in their second straight final.

The Bulldogs’ opponent Jackson-Atlanta presents an even more inspiring path to the finals. Jackson was 0-8 all-time in the postseason before this year’s run to the final. In Class AA, Holy Innocents’ has to beat Wesleyan for the sixth time in two years to win its first state title, and prevent the rival Wolves from a state record 12th crown. In Class A-Private, St. Francis and Greenforest both have a chance to complete the rare boys and girls sweep of titles and in Class A-Public, Turner County returns to the finals for a second straight year, in search for the programs’ first state title as three-time state champion Terrell County looks to sojourn its decade-long title drought.


No comments yet.

Leave a Reply