Friday Class AAAAA Championship Roundup

Photo by Craig Sager II

Girls AAAAA: Stephenson 65, Mays 56

Stephenson scored just 23 points in the first half but used a 23-13 scoring advantage in the third quarter to edge Mays 65-56 and take home the Class AAAAA state title.

Prior to Friday’s championship matchup, the third-seeded Jaguars had lost twice to Mays in the past two months. A 64-46 loss on Jan. 20 was followed by a more respectable 53-51 defeat on Feb. 13 and head coach Dennis Watkins knew that it was mistakes and not talent that had held his team back.

“I knew we could beat them,” said Watkins following the game. “We made a lot of mistakes the first two times we played them. I told them if we just limit the mistakes we can win.”

Mays jumped to a 27-23 halftime lead, but once again, it was the Jaguars’ turnovers that gave Mays the extra scoring opportunities. Stephenson committed 12 turnovers in the first half that the Raiders turned it into 12 points. Mays also outscored Stephenson 10-5 in second chance points in the first two quarters.

“At the half, I just told them to keep our composure. Mays didn’t hurt us in the halfcourt set in the first half. They scored most of the points off our turnovers, so we knew that if we protected the ball it would limit their opportunities in the second half and it worked.”

Stephenson came out in attack-mode in the third quarter and took advantage of its depth by drawing charges and taking the ball right into the bulk of the Mays defense. One of the Jaguars’ biggest strengths can be their bench and coach Watkins knew his team could take advantage of this depth if they could get Mays into foul trouble.

“Mays usually plays six girls so our whole plan this week was to get them in foul trouble,” revealed Watkins. “We knew if we could get to their bench that we would be fine.”

Offensively, Stephenson saw its most balanced game of the postseason. Terrianna Cave led the way with 14 points, including 2-2 from the foul line in crunch time. Davion Wingate and Miracle Gray each finished with 13 and Chloe Culpeper chipped in with eight. Nine total Stephenson players scored points and Breanna Saunders, the only one without a basket, contributed two rebounds, a block and a steal in just seven minutes of action.

“This is just a testament of the hard work of every member of this team,” said Watkins. “You put in the effort and this is the result. A championship”

Mays was led in scoring by Kamiyah Street, who finished with 19 points on 6-of-20 shooting. Raiders’ teammate Harlyn Wyatt notched a double-double with 18 points and 13 rebounds but did her damage at the foul line. Wyatt netted 10-of-15 free throws but was held to 4-of-14 shooting from the field. This marks Stephenson’s third state title and first since 2008.


Boys AAAAA: Brunswick 49, Allatoona 32

A disastrous third quarter ruined Allatoona’s plans of bringing home its first ever state title, instead Brunswick (29-2) claimed its first in school history after a 49-32 runaway victory. Allatoona (29-3) struggled to score early and would continue to have the same problem as the game went on. The Pirates jumped out to an early 17-7 lead to end the first after Darius Lampkin scored seven points and Roger Davis added six.

The Buccaneers made a run in the second quarter after Rodney Brown started to heat up. Brown scored six in the quarter after a sluggish start. Freshman guard Trey Doomes zipped a laser inside to Brown at the 4:14 mark and the senior was able to finish inside to bring the score to 19-11. Brown would go on to hit back-to-back jumpers to close the gap to five points before heading into the half trailing 22-17.

Brunswick would rip-off a 16-0 run before the Buccaneers would find their first points of the second half at the line on a Bradley Brevet free throw with 33 seconds remaining. Brevet would added a quick bucket in the lane seconds later for Allatoona’s first field goal of the half, but by that point the Bucs found themselves trailing 38-20.

Roger Davis, who was a handful all night, showcased his talent in a three minute span. He slammed home a putback dunk and then followed it up with an emphatic block out of bounds. Seconds later, he would burry a pull-up 3-pointer to push the lead to 43-22. Davis would end the night with 18 points and 13 rebounds while Kymani Dunham was a load inside as well. The 6-foot-6 sophomore was too big inside for the smaller Buccaneers and took advantage of his size finishing with 14 points and nine rebounds on 7-of-8 shooting. Dunham and Davis were the two main culprits for Brunswick who ended up outscoring Allatoona 34-12 in the paint.

When asked about how a win like this in the state championship would make a statement in the state of Georgia, Coach Chris Turner said, “It’s our first time here. We were just fighting till the end.” The size advantage of the Pirates inside was something Turner focused on entering the championship bout. “We knew if we could play well inside we would have a shot”.  It wasn’t just the offense from the bigs inside but it was the defense as well. Rodney Brown could not find a rhythm for Allatoona and would finish just 4-of-12 from the field with eight points to lead the Bucs. Brunswick controlled the paint outrebounded Allatoona 44-to-27 while blocking five shots.

With the paint being limited, the Buccaneers tried to connect from deep, but still could find no luck finishing 3-of-24. Even when Allatoona got to the line they were unable to convert, missing 10 of their 13 free throws. Bradley Brevet, their second top scoring option was also harassed into 3-of-11 shooting and scored just seven points. Brunswick led coast-to-coast and never were threatened. The Pirates led for 29:24 minutes out of an available 32.

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