Wheeler ahead of championship schedule

The North Cobb Warriors have been without star point guard Saxon Steele since January, but Terry Gorsuch’s squad has Jordan Neff back down low to go with guards Lee Moore, Dennis Young-Coleman and forward Jon Beausejour in a potent lineup that managed to take down fellow quarterfinalist Hillgrove for the Region 4-AAAAAA title. North Cobb looked good in its first two playoff victories but now faces a daunting task in Tifton against Tift County, the No. 1 team in the state according to the most recent Score Atlanta poll. … Speaking of Hillgrove, the Hawks are trying to tie the program record for wins with 27 tonight when they travel to Brunswick. Hillgrove is paced by Kyle Castlin and Keith Ray and coach Ed Morris has plenty of other options from a very balanced attack. … The Wheeler Wildcats are a huge threat to take the Class AAAAAA title this year but 2014 might be the real make-or-break season for Wheeler. Standouts Elijah Staley, Avery Patter, Malik Abdur-Rahim and Trevin Steede are all juniors while 6-foot-10 center Daniel Giddens and Jaylen Brown are both sophomores for coach Doug Lipscomb. This team is capable of taking the title from Tift County or Norcross, but look for Wheeler to enter next season as the favorites for the title. … With Miller Grove already through to the semifinals, the fans of Class AAAAA can turn their attention to the other action. Gainesville will be a team to watch to see if Shaquan Cantrell is back at full strength after taking a spill in the Red Elephants’ last game out. Football star Deshaun Watson will also have plenty of eyes on him as he tries to bring his football magic to the hardwood to pull off the double-title school year. … Columbia and Marist are getting plenty of the headlines in Class AAAA, but South Atlanta-Alexander may be the most interesting game. It will be interesting to see if South Atlanta can kick it into the high gear the team found earlier this year against Columbia. … Eagles Landing remains the team with the most talent, but can the Region 4-AAAA champions continue to play as a team and make a run to the semifinals? … The Buford Wolves received a wake up call last night courtesy of its girls team. Gene Durden’s squad was a favorite in the girls Class AAA bracket but fell to St. Pius X. Now Allen Whitehart’s team won’t look past anyone, including Region 6-AAA champ Woodward Academy. … The Class A-Private bracket has some of the best matchups left outside of AAAAAA as St. Francis faces W.D. Mohammed, Ahmed Hill and Aquinas face Excel Christian, North Cobb Christian travels to face Athens Christian and No. 1 Greenforest Christian hosts Calvary Day. That field may be the most entertaining of the evening.

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