Ranked teams face final tests before region tournaments

Photo by Ty Freeman

No. 8 Pope (21-3, 13-2) @ No. 1 Wheeler (22-2, 15-0)

Holt Road will be jumping in this clash between Region 5-AAAAAA Top Ten schools. Wheeler managed to hold off the Greyhounds at Pope in January with a 64-54 victory. Pope will try to grind out a slow scoring defensive win as the two teams meet again. Jaylen Brown, the nation’s No. 2 ranked prospect, will yet again be the focal point for the Wildcat offense. Brown was kept in check for the most part in their first meeting as he scored 16 points along with Cameron Jordan to lead Wheeler. Shembari Phillips, a guard slated to play at Tennessee, scored seven of his 11 points in the fourth quarter to lift the Wildcats. Pope will rely on crafty GCSU-commit Chase Hutchins and Garrick DeBowles to tame the ‘Cats. Hutchins finished with a game-high 21 and DeBowles added 12 in their first meeting. A potential X-factor will be 6-foot-9 Drew Romich, a three-point specialist for the Greyhounds.

No. 9 Douglas County (19-5, 11-2) @ No. 3 Pebblebrook (19-5, 13-0)

Another clash of Class AAAAAA titans will take place in Region 3. The Tigers will look to avenge an 87-62 drubbing at home that the Falcons handed them nearly a month ago. Pebblebrook’s star trio was able to run wild on the road. Ty Hudson (Clemson) scored 22 points, Derek Ogbeide (UGA) finished with 19, and Jared Harper pitched in 21 to help the Falcons soar past Douglas County. Since that loss, the Tigers have gone 8-1. K’Ja Johnson leads the team in scoring at 12.7 points per game, while Corey Tillery averages 10.3 and Brandon Robinson and Kalen Clifton both chip in 9.4. Johnson and Robinson both scored 15 points in the loss earlier in the season while Tillery finished with 11.

No. 1 St. Francis (21-3, 11-0) @ Mt. Pisgah (13-10, 6-5)

The top ranked Knights will look to remain perfect in Region 6-A as they visit the Patriots. Mt. Pisgah played the loaded Knights tough before succumbing 77-54 earlier this year. Malik Beasley (FSU) leads St. Francis in scoring at 21.9 points per game while averaging 7.1 rebounds. Junior five-star wing, Kobi Simmons, pitches in 21 points per night and Kaiser Gates (Xavier) rounds out the scoring attack at 13.3 and 7.4 rebounds. Mt. Pisgah suffered a huge blow on opening night when 6-foot-7 Western Carolina-signee Jesse Deloach went down with a knee injury and has yet to return. With the injury to Deloach, the Patriots now implement a strict guard attack with no players taller than 6-foot-3. Ben Miller leads the team in scoring with 14.9 points and Aaron Winchester is close behind at 12.3 along with 6.1 rebounds and a team high 4.1 steals. Connor Richey and Brandon Younger will need to play big games if the Patriots want to knock off the Knights.

No. 5 Shiloh (21-3, 15-0) @ Berkmar (12-11, 9-6)

The Generals suffered three straight close losses to out of state schools at the MAIT Tournament in Florida, but after a 25-point win at Parkview, Shiloh has its sights set on remaining perfect in Region 8-AAAAAA. Kareem Brewton and Joshua Okogie lead the Generals’ charge both averaging over 18 points per game. Cedric Guillaume patrols the paint at 6-foot-6 and Malik Chandler controls the point. Berkmar is coming off a statement win against Dacula, 68-53. The Patriots use a balanced scoring attack led by guards Lane Foster, Al Durham, Leroy Jones, and Jackson Lenyear. 6-foot-9 Josh Culver is coming off a nine point 16 rebound game and will need to play big again if Berkmar wants to knock off the Generals after losing 58-50 earlier this season.

No. 4 Norcross (21-3, 12-1) @ Mountain View (6-18, 1-12)

Region 7-AAAAAA’s hottest team, the Norcross Blue Devils (12 straight wins) will visit the region’s coldest team, the Bears of Mountain View (8 straight losses). Norcross is coming off a big 74-66 win on the road against Duluth. High Point-commit Ricky Madison and Rayshaun Hammonds help form one of the largest teams in the state. Tim Cameron, Amir Butcher, and Devin Huffman are all dangerous from the perimeter. The Bears dropped to the Blue Devils 70-53 in their first meeting. Mountain View is a young team that boasts five freshmen compared to just three seniors. Freshman Spencer Rodgers and senior Trevor Ogle do the heavy lifting offensively for the Bears.

No. 9 Stone Mountain (16-7, 11-5) @ No. 4 Lithonia (21-2, 16-1)

Lithonia had its 20-game winning streak snapped last Friday at the hands of No. 3 St. Pius, but the Bulldogs still hold onto first place in Region 6-AAAA. Kesean Warren, Rodney Chatman, and Tyheem Freeman all regularly score for Lithonia. They managed to defeat Stone Mountain 67-56 in their first meeting. Guards Chris Jones (18.9 ppg) and Ty-meer Pierce (13.3) lead the Pirates in scoring and will need help from supporting role players Robert Boulware and Dunnell Stafford to get a win.

Northgate (3-21, 1-16) @ No. 2 McIntosh (24-0, 17-0)

Undefeated McIntosh will look to repeat its success against Northgate (84-46) as they meet for the final time this regular season in Region 4-AAAAA. Star guard Jordan Lyons is a clutch shot maker and the Chiefs’ leading scorer pouring in 23.8 points per game. Will Washington is one of the best assist-men in the state averaging 12.2 points and 8.5 dimes. Chase Walter averages 9.8 points and 8.5 rebounds while Dishon Lowery rounds out the balanced and multifaceted Chiefs with 11.2 points and 11.5 rebounds to go with 3.3 blocks per night. Spencer Weller is a talented sophomore guard that Northgate head coach Maurice Smith hopes will continue to blossom.

Marist (9-15, 5-12) @ No. 3 St. Pius (21-3, 15-2)

The Golden Lions ripped off 12-straight wins and now gives themselves a chance to grab the number one seed in Region 6-AAAA with a win on Friday and a Lithonia loss. Hamilton Crane is a deadly shooter and Christian Merrill can score in a multitude of ways. Kerney Lane also gives St. Pius a reliable presence on both ends inside. Marist fell 49-34 in its first meeting. Patrick Zeck, John Waring, and Jack Owens are focal points for the War Eagles offense.

Monroe Area (15-9, 4-3) @ No. 2 Johnson-Gainesville (23-0, 7-0)

Though it took a stunning two overtimes to defeat an upset-minded Stephens County bunch, the Knights were able to remain undefeated and clinched the number one seed in Region 8-AAAA. Johnson had to use a furious comeback to rally from down 20-7 at the half. Johnson entered the game averaging over 75 points per game which made the final score even more shocking. Ty Cockfield averages 28.7 points while Rod English scores 19.7. Monroe Area may look to implement a 2-3 zone similar to which Stephens County used to stifle the Knights into just 3 of 28 from three-point land. Marquez Williams is Monroe Area’s leading scorer at 12.1. Willie Taylor and Alfred King also play big roles for the Hurricanes who are playing the Knights for the first time this season.

Peachtree Ridge (15-9, 8-5) @ Collins Hill (18-6, 8-5)

The battle for the second seed in the ever competitive Region 7-AAAAAA comes down to one game. The Eagles and the Lions are both tied along with Duluth for the rights to the number two seed. Duluth will play Meadowcreek and should be favored to win the game. Both Collins Hill and Peachtree Ridge have split the season series with Duluth, so the outcome of the number two seed will be up in the air. The Eagles downed the Lions earlier this season 51-46 and will try to do so again. Devin Watson leads Collins Hill in scoring and receives help from Kai Lambert and Jalen Mitchell. Point guard Max Clark and JD Ozoh are two outstanding role players that consistently pick up the slack. The Lions are paced by guards Aaron Augustin (16.5 ppg) and Jay Estime (11.1 ppg).


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply