AAAAAA Boys: #1 Pebblebrook vs. #1 Wheeler

Photo by Ty Freeman


REGION 3, 27-5

Pebblebrook, the state’s No. 1 ranked team in several polls is looking for its first ever state championship against cross-county powerhouse Wheeler. The last time the Falcons faced off with the Wildcats was in the final four a season ago, a game that slipped away late and saw the Wildcats walk away with a 67-52 victory. Pebblebrook wanted another shot at the Wildcats and they got it, but this time in a must-see winner-take-all battle. The Falcons’ grueling schedule left no chances to dwell on what ifs from 2014 as they put it behind them and have set a school-record with 27 wins. The Falcons ran through Region 3 with a perfect 14-0 re- cord and finished with a 4-4 record against the eight nationally ranked teams they faced. Pebblebrook’s signature wins came against the No. 1 ranked team in Alabama, Lee High school (90-54) and against the No. 2 ranked team in California, Mater Dei (82-79). Like Wheeler, Pebblebrook squared off against Montverde, the No. 1 ranked team in the nation but fell 69-61. In the playoffs, Pebblebrook opened the first round with a 29-point win over Kennesaw Mountain (81-52) and followed that up with a 19-point win over Pope (78-59) in the second round. The Falcons entered hostile territory in the quarterfinals but ran away with an 80-62 victory over 2013 state champions Norcross. UGA-signee Derek Ogbeide and Trhae Mitchell combined for 23 points and 15 rebounds in the second half. Pebblebrook’s most recent victory came in a 57-47 grind-it- out win over Shiloh. The Falcons led by only four points at halftime, but used an 11-2 run out of the locker room to build a 42-29 lead. Jared Harper scored 14 of his game-high 20 points in the second half. Clemson- signee Ty Hudson runs the point and with his 6-foot-2 size, can attack the rim and use his solid frame to create separation and showcase his knockdown jumper.



Region 5, 29-2

Wheeler is making its second consecutive appearance in championship weekend’s main event and can take home its sixth state title since the 1994 season with a win over an emergent Pebblebrook team. The Wildcats beat Pebblebrook in the final four last season to advance to the championship but ultimately lost at the hands of Tift County. Wheeler has lost only two games this season, both to out of state teams. The Wildcats’ signature wins came against the No. 1-ranked school in North Carolina, Wesleyan Christian Academy (76-70), the No. 3-ranked team in Oregon, Jesuit (75-52) and to the No. 1-ranked team in the nation, Montverde Academy, (72-65). In the playoffs, Wheeler opened the first round with a 27-point win over Centennial (64-37) and followed it with a 19-point win over Douglas County (87-68) in the second round. Next in line was Newton, which was making its first quarterfinals appearance since 2011 but the upset-minded Rams were no match for the Wildcats as top-ranked Wheeler dismantled Newton 72-54. Jaylen Brown, the nation’s consensus No. 2 prospect and one of the most powerful finishers at the rim in the country, had another strong performance with 20 points and nine rebounds. Makhai Eastmond added 11 points including three consecutive three-pointers late in the third quarter to give Wheeler a 9-point lead. After a three-pointer at the buzzer by Wheeler’s Darius Perry, the Wildcats led by 11 headed into the fourth quarter, 58-47. Newton never got any closer as the Wildcats pulled away to secure the victory. With the semifinal stage set at Georgia Tech, Wheeler met the Tucker Tigers. Brown netted a game-high 29 points, including seven straight Wheeler baskets in the third quarter, and the Wildcats held on for a 74-64 victory. Wheeler’s 29 win are the most since reaching 30 victories in the 2007-08 season.


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