Archive for January, 2012

AAAAA boys basketball: Harrison 72, Hillgrove 54

The seventh-ranked Harrison boys basketball team has some big goals for this season, but its first order of business this week was strengthening its hold on first place in Region 4-AAAAA.

The Hoyas took a big step on Tuesday toward repeating as regular-season champions, breaking open a close game early in the third quarter and cruising to a 72-54 victory at Hillgrove.

Harrison (16-4, 10-1) has three region games remaining, including a showdown with second-place North Cobb (17-4, 8-2) at home on Feb. 10. Hillgrove (14-8, 7-4) remains in third place but fell out of contention for the regular-season title.

“Every win is a good win,” Harrison coach Robert Churchwell said. “We’re fortunate enough to be in first place, and we would like to stay there. We know that every game, someone’s coming at us.”

Harrison was playing without one of its leading scorers, Subby Adetujoye, who is out with pneumonia. The Hoyas got a balanced offense in his absence, with six players scoring between …

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Class A public, private schools debate merits of plus-one championship game

By S. Thomas Coleman
For the AJC

Class A high school football fans soon could find themselves asking the same question that college football fans ask:

“Who’s No. 1?”

When the executive committee of the Georgia High School Association voted overwhelmingly (36-12) earlier this month to hold separate playoffs and championships in all sports in Class A, the handful of voters on the short end of the decision predicted several unforeseen consequences. Figuring out who the “real” state champion is — the public-school winner or the private-school winner — is one of those issues.

In a 16-team playoff scenario for public and private schools, a winner-take-all championship game could be played in the Georgia Dome during the same weekend that the other five champions are crowned. But opinions vary among on whether a “plus-one” championship game should follow.

“My sentiments, and most [Class A public school] sentiments, I believe, are that I don’t think I would be in favor of it,” Wilcox …

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Parkview, Walton win county championships

By Stephen Black

Score Atlanta

Parkview won the Gwinnett County championship meet with 1,045.5 points to Collins Hill’s 820.5. Mill Creek came in third with 797.5 points. It is the Panthers’ 18th county title in 21 years. While winning the county boys and girls meets, Parkview increased its record set earlier this year with 40 qualifiers to the GHSA state championships. Meanwhile, Brookwood’s Aidan Sweeney and Michael Trice each won two races and also combined to help the Broncos take the 200 medley relay. … Walton won the Cobb County Championships with a combined score of 1,062.5 edging Lassiter’s 1,020. The Raiders boys team won their meet with 540 points to the Trojans’ 471, while the defending state champion Lassiter girls won the girls meet with 542 points to 522.5 for Walton. Lassiter’s Jimmy Yoder, however, had All-American times in the 200 and 500 free. Zach Brunner won the 100 back and the 100 fly for the Trojans. For the Raiders, David Sanchez had an All-American …

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McNair wins first-ever county title

By Stephen Black

Score Atlanta

McNair won its first-ever DeKalb County wrestling title Saturday at Miller Grove. The Mustangs outpointed Marist 200.5 to 193 after trailing 182 to 175.5 with three matches remaining. Khalil Williams won the 120-pound weight class while D.J. Jackson pinned Miller Grove’s Jacob Miller to win the 220-pound class. Kenneth Brinson won the 195-pound class for Marist while Patrick Lange (120), Matt Andres (138) and Ian Kirchner (145) each were runners-up in their respective classes. … Robby Martin (138) and Quinn Peragine (113) of St. Pius each won their weight classes at the DeKalb meet. Martin was awarded the 2012 William S. Venable Trophy for the Most Outstanding Wrestler in DeKalb County. … Lithonia’s Anthony Smith won his second consecutive county title by capturing the 152-pound match over Stephen Wylie of Stephenson. The battle between the two was voted the Best Finals Match by the coaches. … Lovett won the Elbert County Invitational Saturday as …

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HS rankings: Jordan, Model take No. 1 in AA … Milton beats Wheeler … Norcross upset … and other news

Two new No. 1 teams this week – Jordan’s boys and Model’s girls.

We’re trying something a little different this week in that we’re adding some commentary to each class. It’s a little heavy on the boys side this week, but we’ll balance it more next week when we get the routine down.

AAAAA-
No. 1 Milton beat Wheeler 65-60 in a boys game on Saturday as Tevin Glass had 23 points and 12 rebounds for Milton. (See MDJ story.) Wheeler’s Chuck Mitchell scored 30. Both players are their teams’ top inside players. … Previous No. 5 Norcross was upset by unranked Stephenson 51-48 on Saturday. Is that score right? Stephenson is 5-16. … No. 2 Shiloh went 2-1 in a tournament in Florida and blew a four-point lead in the final 90 seconds in the defeat. … No. 3 Westlake needed two overtimes to beat Marcus Hunt-led North Clayton 75-75. … No. 8 Berkmar beat unranked Alpharetta 65-62 on Saturday when Brandon Thompson hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer. … No. 5 Mill Creek lost 59-39 to G.W. Carver of …

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We’re taking nominations for the AJC Slam Dunk Contest

[Thanks for nominations. Closed]

It’s that time again for one our most popular high school sporting events of the year — the celebrated AJC Slam Dunk Contest.

It’s official: Beginning now, we’re looking for a few good men (or women)  for the AJC Slam Dunk Contest, ones on Atlanta area high school basketball teams that can dunk with the best of them.

We are taking nominations between now and midnight on Feb. 4.

Do you know a local high school basketball player who is a prolific dunker? Someone who dunks with such a smooth style that it causes fans from BOTH teams to rise to their feet? That’s the player we want. Lots of players can dunk but we’re looking for creativity. Take a peek at this video and then read more below …

We are taking nominations, if you have one. Please list the player’s name, high school, and your best description of this player’s dunking ability below in the comments section. This is very important: Please also post a video link from the player you are …

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AAAAA blog: It’s Wheeler-Milton on Saturday; Shiloh drops one in FLA; Pope to honor TJ Yates

Milton’s boys will try to solidify their No. 1 ranking in Class AAAAA on
Saturday when they play at No. 4 Wheeler.

Milton has won 13 straight games and is undefeated when point guard Charles
Mann, the Georgia signee, has played. Wheeler has lost two starters since
December to academic ineligibility, so this will be a measure of whether the
Wildcats remain serious state-championship contenders.

Milton defeated Wheeler 77-59 in the 2011 regular season and 72-71 in
overtime in 2010. Wheeler beat Milton three times in 2009, including in the
state final. Milton’s Evan Nolte and Wheeler’s Chuck Mitchell, both highly
recruited seniors, have been around for all those games.

In other news around Class AAAAA, second-ranked Shiloh lost its opener in
the Montverde Academy Invitational to Orlando Christian 59-55 this week
after failing to hold a four-point lead in the final 90 seconds. Orlando
Christian made a pair of 3-pointers, and Shiloh called a time out it did not
have, leading to a …

Continue reading AAAAA blog: It’s Wheeler-Milton on Saturday; Shiloh drops one in FLA; Pope to honor TJ Yates »

AA Basketball blog: Jordan wins showdown

The No. 5 Jordan boys answered a lot of questions about superiority in Region 5 on Friday when it routed No. 6 Manchester 71-55. The Red Jackets (19-2, 6-0) jumped on Manchester early, scoring the first nine points of the game and taking a 17-2 lead thanks to some hot shooting and terrific defense.

Center Marcus Powell led Jordan with 17 points and forward Brandon Simmons contributed 13 points.

Jordan’s taller lineup – Powell is 6-foot-5, Simmons is 6-4 — proved to be a problem for Manchester, which doesn’t have a starter taller than 6-1. The Blue Devils (13-2, 5-1) got 12 points from Saiquan Terry, 11 from Damien Turner and 10 from Denzel Martin.

Manchester won the first meeting 72-69 in overtime in December. The two clubs could meet again in the playoffs.

Model girls win 18th straight

The No. 3 Model girls won their 18th straight game, beating Coosa 72-23. The Blue Devils (21-1) opened the game on a 32-3 run and didn’t allow Coosa to score a basket until three minutes were …

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AAA basketball blog: Time for a little retribution

Payback, revenge, getting even, flipping the script … High school basketball, with its home-and-home setup, makes for lots of vengeance story lines, and in Class AAA, there has been no shortage lately.

First up, the Grady Grey Knights, who suffered a 59-57 loss to Druid Hills on Dec. 16. Friday night, the Knights exacted revenge and improved to 17-3 overall with a 78-62 win. The Knights won their sixth straight game and maintained their hold on first place in 5-AAA, Division A.

In 5-AAA, Division B, defending state champion Columbia is riding a 13-game winning streak after beating Arabia Mountain Tuesday. The Eagles, 19-1 overall and 8-0 in sub-region play, play Towers Tuesday with a chance to clinch the top spot in the sub-region. The Titans pose what would appear to be the most serious remaining threat to Columbia in the regular season.

Flipped script: The Haralson County boys’ only win so far came against Columbus back on Jan. 7. Friday night, Columbus’ Jevan Billinger …

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Class A Basketball Blog: SACA girls want a shot at No. 1 Wesleyan, North Cobb Christian boys still perfect

By S. Thomas Coleman
For the AJC

News and notes from Class A basketball …

GIRLS

St. Francis stumbles on way to Wesleyan rematch. St. Francis, ranked No. 2, will most likely drop a bit in the polls after a 50-48 loss to No. 3 Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy last week. SACA may have had a bit more riding on the game as the Warriors were seeking payback for a 54-29 thumping at the hands of the Knights during a tournament in Florida over the holiday break. In that game, junior guard Nigia Green, who transferred from SACA to St. Francis last summer, scored 19 points. SACA (18-4) will probably take the No. 2 slot in the rankings behind No. 1 Wesleyan (17-3), whose only losses this season have come to teams from other states. St. Francis will host Wesleyan on Feb. 7 to decide the regular season champion in the B Division of subdivided Region 5. Wesleyan won the first game, 67-54, Jan. 20.

SACA wants its shot at Wesleyan. When you’re on top, everybody wants a piece of you. …

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AAAA basketball blog: Douglas County boys, girls tighten grip on 5-AAAA with sweep of Osborne

The battles for the lead in Region 5-AAAA turned out to be no contests at all.

Douglas County’s boys and girls teams strengthened their hold on first place and took a big step toward regular-season region titles with lopsided victories against second-place Osborne on Friday.

The sixth-ranked Douglas County boys improved to 20-1 overall and 11-0 in the region with a 106-89 victory. The Tigers got 25 points from Jaumonee Byrd and 19 from Vantrail Commings, according to the Douglas County Sentinel. It was the seventh time this season that Douglas County has scored at least 100 points, and the Tigers are averaging 91.3 points for the season. Devonte Thornton scored 25 points to lead 10th-ranked Osborne (18-3, 9-2).

Douglas County’s girls team, ranked No. 1 in Class AAAA, jumped out to an early double-digit lead and cruised to a 62-38 victory. Douglas County (20-1, 11-0) got double-doubles from Maya Benham (19 points, 19 rebounds) and Christin Mercer (11 points, 17 rebounds). No. …

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Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy 67, Strong Rock 32 (girls)

By S. Thomas Coleman
For the AJC

Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy head coach Jackie Cowan wasn’t concerned about a let down on the court Friday as her third-ranked Warriors hosted Strong Rock, after claiming an emotional two-point win over No. 2 St. Francis on Tuesday.

That’s because, unfortunately, the let down occurred off the court during the week, days after the win. As a result, Cowan suspended a couple of key players for the Strong Rock game, and with 6-foot-2 junior center Alexis Carter still on the mend from knee surgery, that meant only six Warriors were available to take on the Patriots .

But SACA (17-3) still had more then enough fire power to take care of Strong Rock (13-5), a five-year-old school in Locust Grove that is in its second season competing in the Georgia High Schools Association. The Warriors jumped out to a 23-8 lead after one quarter and didn’t look back in a 67-32 win.

“We are dealing with some internal issues, some discipline issues,” Cowan said …

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Drew 74, Henry County 58

It was obvious early on that the Drew Titans weren’t going to let Henry County’s Dre Soulder beat them again.

D.J. Frye scored 13 points and Barry Mayes added 12 for Drew (18-3), which beat Henry 74-58 Friday night for its seventh straight win.

In a game that featured five technical fouls and a delay when some of the lights in the drew gym went out, the Titans solidified their standing in second place in Region 4-AAA and avenged a one-point loss to Henry on Jan. 7, when Soulder scored 33 points in McDonough.

Friday, Soulder scored the game’s first basket and didn’t make another field goal until three minutes into the third period. He scored nine points before fouling out.

Rufus Brown scored 11 for Drew, which had 12 different players score in the game.

Through the first quarter, this one appeared headed toward the same kind of nail-biter as the first game between the two schools, with three ties and two lead changes early.

Drew was assessed an administrative technical foul …

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Hart County re-hires DeVane, coach of ‘99 state runner-up team

Hart County promoted defensive coordinator William DeVane to head football coach this week to succeed Joby Scroggs, who retired earlier this month with a 70-31-2 record in 10 seasons.

DeVane was Hart County’s head coach in 1998, 1999 and 2000 and had records of 12-1, 14-1 and 12-1. Hart’s quarterback in those days was Jeff Leard, who went on to start at Auburn. The Bulldogs played for the Class AA title in 1999 and lost to Cartersville.

“We certainly had a lot of success back then,” DeVane told The Hartwell Sun. “We’re going to strive for that perfection and put forth the effort to get back there again.”

DeVane left Hart for Greene County in 2001 before moving on to Clarke Central in Athens for four seasons, never having the the success he had in Hartwell. He rejoined Hart’s staff in 2006.

Hart was 6-4 last season. The Bulldogs’ streak of making the playoffs ended at 19 seasons. Hart will play in Region 8-AAA in 2012.

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Cherokee hires Etowah assistant as head football coach

Cherokee announced the hiring of Etowah defensive coordinator Josh Shaw as head football coach on Wednesday.

Shaw, who played college ball at Morehead State in Minnesota, has been an assistant at Etowah for the past six seasons and through three region titles. He coached in Minnesota, West Virginia and Florida before that.

Shaw will replace Brian Dameron, who was x-x in 11 seasons. Cherokee had its best success under Dameron, achieving 10-win seasons in 2002 and 2003, but was 1-9 last season.

Etowah also is looking for a new head coach as Bill Stewart took the head job at Clemens High in Alabama in December.

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