The first round of the GHSA basketball state playoffs came to a conclusion last night with several teams looking especially dominant and worthy of a title. Stephen Black, Ricky Dimon, Fletcher Proctor and Craig Sager II break down the action from across the state.
Archer 47, Cherokee 45: Host Archer went into the half ahead 31-20 and barely edged past Cherokee. The Warriors outscored Archer 13-2 in the third quarter to even the score at 33-33 heading into the fourth. Bryan Halmet was able to keep Archer ahead and scored a team-high 17 points. With the game knotted, senior guard Randall Smith drove, got fouled and hit both free throws with 4.5 seconds to keep the Tigers alive.
Brunswick 71, Campbell 53: Brunswick received a huge effort from Tracy Walker to score a home victory over Campbell. Walker finished with 25 points and 14 rebounds while Marquice Jones added 12 points. Ty Jackson and Rodriquez Hamilton each contributed 11 points for Brunswick. Campbell was led by Donte Scott’s 16 points and Rasheed Merritt finished with 10 points in the loss.
Peachtree Ridge 57, Centennial 38: The host Peachtree Ridge Lions received tremendous efforts from both senior Jordan Capps (eight points) and junior Amir Warnock (18 points) to stretch a 19-18 halftime lead to a 19-point winning margin. Freshman point guard Aaron Augustin dished out four assists in the win. Head coach Keith Arrington noted the key to the win was simply playing better in the second half and avoiding mistakes that plagued the team through the first two quarters.
Morrow 63, Newnan 54: Visiting Morrow was able to pull off the upset following a huge 23-point game from senior Anthony Calloway. Fellow senior Sahr Joe reached double figures and added 10 points. Newnan got plenty of scoring from Doniel Dean, who led the way at 18, and teammates Darrell Morrow and Immanuel Griggs coming in at 14 and 11. A strong second half was the difference in the Mustangs’ win.
North Cobb 70, Coffee 45: The host Warriors led 22-3 after one period and coasted into the second round. North Cobb’s defense held Coffee’s leading scorer Rashad Thomas, who came in averaging more than 14 points per game, to just eight. Lee Moore led the Warriors with 15 points, six rebounds and eight assists while Dennis Young-Coleman had 14. Coffee’s leading scorers were Dikembe Deberry and Tyree Paulk who each had 11 points.
Rockdale County 66, Westlake 62: Visiting Westlake got off to a promising start and led 39-29 at the half. Junior shooting guard Raymond Saunders led Westlake with a game-high 21 points. Saunders was dialed in from distance and his scoring was powered solely from his seven made 3-pointers. Rockdale responded by outscoring the Lions 37-23 in the second half and held Westlake to just two fourth-quarter points.
Shiloh 54, Walton 52: The host Generals of Shiloh rallied back from a 30-19 deficit at intermission to pull out a win over Walton. Junior Nate Mason led Shiloh with 26 points and five assists while junior center Trayvon Reed scored 14 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Shiloh turned up the defensive pressure after halftime, leading to plenty of steals and Walton turnovers to finally grab a 50-46 lead in the fourth after entering the final frame down 10.
Tift County 70, McEachern 48: Tift County led by just three after the first quarter and McEachern trailed 35-25 at halftime, but the Blue Devils dominated the second half en route to victory. Brannen Greene scored a game-high 30 points for host Tift County, which also got 17 points from Tadric Jackson and 15 from Donnell Tuff. Deonte Patterson led a balanced McEachern attack with 11 points as the only Indians’ player in double-figures.
Allatoona 69, Salem 56: Allatoona jumped out to a 14-6 advantage against Salem and held on. The visiting Buccaneers led by nine at the half and by 10 after three quarters before earning the final 13-point margin. Daniel Fowler made 13 of 16 free throws to finish with 23 points for Allatoona. Forrestt Lane added 11 points and Austin Faulkner chipped in 10.
Tucker 56, Sprayberry 39: The visiting Tigers roared to a 27-16 halftime edge, then extended the lead to 41-23 at the half. Junior Davante Reynolds led Tucker with 21 points and eight rebounds while junior Jon Dunmyer scored 17. Sprayberry was led by Nkem Ojeh and Armel Potter, who each had 11.
Eagle’s Landing 39, Albany 13: Eagle’s Landing led 29-12 at the half, then withstood stubborn Albany’s stalling attempts in the second half to advance to the second round. In one possession, visiting Albany held the ball for more than six minutes without a shot. There were no points scored in the third quarter. Isaiah Dennis led Eagle’s Landing with 15 points and Maurice Green added seven.
Jonesboro 61, Crisp County 27: Jonesboro umped out to a 21-6 lead after the first period and extended the lead to 35-14 at the half. Patrick Petty led the host Cardinals with 15 points.
Marist 71, Dalton 42: Marist dominated host Dalton from the start and led 15-4 after one period and 35-21 at the half. By the end of the third, Marist led 52-30 and had the game well in hand. Senior forward Quinton Stephens, a Georgia Tech commitment, led Marist with 19 and sophomore Cameron Wiley added 13 points.
Westover 84, North Clayton 59: Westover jumped on North Clayton for a double-digit lead in the first quarter and never looked back. Kel Miller led the way for the host Patriots with a game-high 23 points and he added six rebounds. Teammate T.J. Cromer notched a double-double with 21 points and 10 boards as Westover improved to 21-5 for the season.
Beach 80, Callaway 72: Visiting Beach was even at 64 at the end of regulation before outscoring Callaway 16-8 in overtime. Rashad Cummings had 29 points, Juadeem Banks had 12 points and Shawn Brooks had 10 to lead the Bulldogs. Nehemiah Jones had 28 points and teammate Brandon Bridges had 16 to help pace Callaway, but Beach was able to outlast the Cavaliers.
Calhoun 59, Hapeville Charter 55: Hapeville Charter led after each of the first three quarters, including 16-9 after one but just 41-40 after three, before Calhoun overtook the visitors for a hard-fought victory. The Yellow Jackets finally snagged a lead midway through the final frame and held on with clutch free-throw shooting. Kaelan Riley led the way with 15 points for Calhoun, which also got 11 from Greyson Arnold and nine apiece from Austin Byrd and Jireh Wilson.
Dade County 80, Wesleyan 72: Dade County went into Wesleyan and pulled out an overtime thriller. The host Wolves maintained a slight lead most of the game, but the Wolverines kept it close and managed to tie it before pulling away in the extra frame. Cole Birchfield poured in 34 points for Dade County and Clynt Bell added 22. Will Clifton scored a game-high 35 points for Wesleyan.
Greater Atlanta Christian 80, Coosa 37: Visiting Coosa never had an answer for GAC, which jumped to a 43-19 lead at the half. Collin Swinton and Cam Boyd each finished with 17 points for the Spartans.
Model 49, Westminster 47: Model survived a furious rally by visiting Westminster when Davy Fisher hit a game-winning jumper with 3.1 seconds remaining. Fisher finished with a game-high 22 points for the Blue Devils. The Wildcats trailed 47-41 late in the fourth quarter but forced four consecutive turnovers before Harrison Butker tied it at 47-47 on a jumper with 40 seconds left. Butker scored 10 points, while Robert DeGolian and Will Benson had 11 and 10, respectively, for Westminster.
Alpharetta 69, Duluth 53: Alpharetta came out sloppy at home against Duluth before making adjustments at halftime to pull away for the victory. Senior Kylee Smith netted 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds while fellow senior guard Lauren Brown chipped in 11 points. Freshman Vashnie Perry scored 11 points and notched eight assists. Alpharetta coach Mike House said the game turned after halftime when the team upped the defensive pressure.
North Cobb 67, Coffee 40: North Cobb led just 32-26 at the half, then dominated the third quarter 17-4 to take control of the game. Kyrie Chandler led the host Warriors with 22 points while Amber Reeves added 14 points and eight rebounds. Briah Woods starred with 13 points, 13 rebounds and six steals, also for North Cobb.
Norcross 80, South Forsyth 32: The host Norcross Blue Devils jumped out to a 24-4 lead after the first quarter against South Forsyth and never looked back. Norcross led 40-12 at halftime and outscored South Forsyth 40-20 in the second half. Senior Shayla Cooper had 28 points in the victory for Norcross.
Tift County 65, Campbell 55: Tift County led throughout the game but visiting Campbell made things interesting late as D’Aisa Cain scored 18 points as Campbell tried to rally from a halftime hole. Junior guard Julie McKie added 10 points for Campbell. Alexis Johnon paced Tift County with 18 points while Brakia Bateman and Brecklyn Greene each contributed 14 points. Tift County blew a chance to put the game away, going just 24-for-41 from the free throw line.
Jonesboro 64, Cairo 29: Jonesboro led Cairo at half by just eight points at home before pulling away behind 16 points from Kimberly Dawkins and 10 points from Michaelle Smith. Alicia Hampton and Deneesha Edward each added nine points and Kenisha Reeves chipped in eight as Jonesboro outscored Cairo 40-13 after intermission.
Marist 59, Northwest Whitfield 34: The War Eagles led 18-8 at the end of the first quarter, 32-17 at the half and 47-25 at the end of the third. Junior Briana Bell scored 20 points to lead Marist while sophomore Kelsey Carrier added 10. Visiting Northwest Whitfield was led by Kaitin Wade’s 12 points.
Salem 74, Paulding County 40: Salem jumped out to a 37-21 lead at halftime over Paulding County before cruising at home to a 74-40 victory in Round 1 of the Class AAAAA playoffs. The Region 8-AAAAA champions were led by Ayana Mitchell’s 29 points and 14 rebounds while Shay Tarver had 14 points, including 13 in the third quarter. Jennifer Tindi chipped in with 10 points.
Wesleyan 85, Armuchee 29: Katie Frerking poured in 35 points without even playing in the fourth quarter to lead host Wesleyan past Armuchee. Frerking added seven rebounds, five assists and five steals. Kendra Talley led the defensive effort with five steals while scoring nine points on the other end of the floor. Keevana Edwards and Paige Mosley chipped in eight points apiece for the Wolves, who surged to a 50-17 lead by halftime.