Class AAAAAA Championship Roundup

AAAAAA: Wheeler 59, Pebblebrook 58

Wheeler’s Jaylen Brown shot a perfect 12-12 from the foul line, including a pair of makes with .5 left to give Wheeler a 59-58 victory. Pebblebrook trailed throughout the game until a 8-2 run in the fourth quarter gave the Falcons a 55-51 lead.  Shembari Phillips ended the run with a corner three to cut the deficit to 55-53 but Jared Harper found Kevin Murph for a dunk with 1:42 left to put the Falcons back up by four 57-53. Brown then closed the game with 6-6 foul shooting in the final 1:38 to fuel a 6-1 run.

“I had no doubt,” said Wheeler head coach Doug Liscomb about Brown shooting for the win. “He is pure ice at the line.”

Brown finished with a game-high 22 points but logged just 28 minutes after getting into early foul trouble. Phillips hit the only two three-pointers of the game for either team and finished with 17 points.

“Shembari kept us in the game,” said Lipscomb.

Pebblebrook scored 20 of its 32 points in the paint after the half and UGA-signee Derek Ogbeide was a force inside. Ogbeide finished with 22 rebounds and 14 points.

Jared Harper struggled getting open looks against the Wheeler defense and shot just 3-14 from the field en route to a 10-point performance. Harper drew a foul with 7.8 second left and hit one of two to put the Falcons up 58-57 before Brown got to the line and netted both attempts for the win.

Ty Hudson led Pebblebrook with 19 points but committed a game-high eight turnovers.

Girls AAAAAA: McEachern 58, Norcross 51 (OT)

The McEachern Indians (24-6) had a chance to win the championship in regulation with a picture-perfect scenario against the Norcross Blue Devils (28-5) Saturday evening in Macon but instead used an 8-1 scoring edge in the extra frame to secure the program’s third state ttile in four seasons. The Indians found themselves tied with Norcross (50-50) and had Tennessee-commit and McDonald’s All-American Te’a Cooper at the line with a chance to end the Blue Devils’ hopes right then and there. The Indians were in the double bonus, had the momentum on their side and their leader at the foul line but she missed both and Norcross could not find an open look on its last possession of regulation.

The game ended with McEachern’s 8-1 run and this was a theme throughout the previous four quarters. The Blue Devils, who’d held opponents to under 30 points eight separate times this year, mounted a 17-7 run in the second quarter. Norcross also held Cooper to three points and pushed her into foul trouble, which would’ve been an ideal formula for toppling McEachern. Cooper picked up her third foul at the 3:30 mark and would sit on the bench the final two minutes of the quarter and Norcross took a 32-25 lead into the half.

In the third quarter, Norcross began committing a slew of fouls and quickly found itself on the wrong side of a game-changing 14-5 run which got McEachern back in the game.

With four minutes left in the fourt quarter, Cooper picked up her fourth foul but answered with a baseline drive and basket that killed any momentum that could have shifted to the Blue Devils’ favor. As the clock ticked past 4:00 in the final quarter McEachern was clinging to a slim lead when Cooper picked up her fourth foul. However, Norcross’ Taylor Mason answered with two free-throws and a three-pointer to tie the game with :57 remaining. McEachern coach Phyllis Arthur called a time-out after Mason’s three-pointed to calm her troops and set the play that would see Cooper draw the foul and miss both free-throws.

“Okay, look, I missed two free-throws with the game in hand. After that I knew we had to stop them,” said a relieved Cooper after the game. “As soon as we got a chance to win it in overtime, I knew we had it.”

Cooper took only :30 to drive for a lay-in which gave McEachern a 52-50 lead. Norcross’ Ty Gillespie found herself at the line with 2 minutes remaining but only converted one free-throw, it would be the last Blue Devil point of the year. Jada Lewis added a floater with 1:40 left to extend the lead and added  two clutch free-throws with less than a minute remaining to extend the final run to 8-1 and secure the repeat.

Coach Phyllis Arthur said of her team’s resilience after seeing Cooper miss the possible game-winning free-throws, ”It’s hard to describe, I knew we wouldn’t go down. Norcross was being physical. I told them that we needed to be physical too. Te’a and Jada (Lewis) are my eyes and ears out there.”



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