3A Boys: Greater Atlanta Christian 67, Jenkins 53

The GAC boys won their eighth title on Friday afternoon.

GAC won its eighth basketball state championship after rolling past Savannah’s Jenkins 67-53 in the Class AAA title game in Macon on Thursday. The Spartans held a 10-point lead with 1:33 to play and Hunter McIntosh, a 6-foot-2 junior guard, at the free-throw line. It was right where they wanted to be.

“We came back so far, and I just did not want to let my team down,” McIntosh said following the game. “We had to refuse to lose that game. That’s one we wanted. We had to keep pushing and pushing. I didn’t do good in the first half, so I knew in the second half I had to step it up.”

In the first half, McIntosh, was 1-of-8 shooting for just four points and Jenkins took a 25-20 lead at the break. McIntosh attempted four free throws in that half, converting two of them. But by the end of the game, he was 14-of-19 from the line for 19 points. His late-game free throws padded and protected the lead.

“Really I just had to lock in,” he said of the early deficit GAC faced. “The guys got the butterflies out, got the jitters out and then it was just about playing basketball. It’s something we’ve done the past 30 games. We just come out here and play as hard as we can.”

The Spartans big man, Michigan football commit Chris Hinton, displayed an extremely soft touch under the basket in route to his 16-point finish. As one of the best football players in the nation (c/o 2019) he gave hints to the future for GAC athletics.

“This is amazing,” Hinton said. “There are no words that can describe this. This group of guys that we have been playing with this year, to go out and win a state championship with these boys, it’s the greatest feeling in the world. But it’s kind of bittersweet (that I got a ring in basketball and not football) but we are going to get a ring in football this year, you better watch out.”

GAC took advantage of a 24-13 run through the third quarter which put the Spartans up 44-38 entering the final frame and a 23-15 run in the fourth put the game away. GAC led for 22:09. Jenkins held the lead for 7:21 and the game was tied for 2:29.

“It’s awesome. God, I’m so proud of my boys,” said GAC coach David Eaton. “We beat a really talented team tonight. I said to them at the half ‘you’ve been through adversity before, right?’ so let’s do it one more time. And they all smiled. Jenkins came out and slapped us in the face in the second quarter and we responded with our own second half run. This is just a product of the school right here. We have great young men, great coaches, guys with great work ethic and great character. It’s good to see guys like that get rewarded with a state championship.”

The Spartans had four players in double-figures in the victory. McIntosh, Hinton, Ben Sheppard (15 points, three steals, two assists) and Roy Dixon (13 points, four assists, three steals).

Jenkins was paced by Sai Fisher (12 points), Mye’ On Williams (11 points) and Matthew Sams (10 points).

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