Archive for January, 2012

Stephenson girls 69, Luella 50

For a half, it looked as if Luella had closed the gap on Stephenson in Region 2-AAAAA.

Then Stephenson began pressing, and the truth of the region became more apparent: The Lady Jaguars are the class of the league.

Stephenson won 69-50 Friday night behind 17 points from sophomore Naima Jackson, who led four players in double figures. The Lady Jaguars (14-4, 8-0 Region 2-AAAAA) completed a regular-season sweep of Luella.

“The first half they hung with us,” said Jackson, whose three baskets sparked a 12-0 run to start the third period. “We just kept hustling and did what we needed to do.”

Kyana Johnson and Kaliyah Mitchell scored 13 each for Stephenson and Kerry Watson added 11.

The loss ended an 11-game winning streak for Luella (15-4, 6-2), which played without starting point guard Amber Griffin, the Henry County school’s all-time leader in assists. In her absence, leading scorer Britney Guy took over at the point, and Stephenson double-teamed her most of the night. …

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How will GHSA set up Class A public, private playoff draws? Here’s how I’d do it

Now that the GHSA has agreed to hold separate state championships for Class A public and private schools, the next step is determining how set up the state playoff brackets for each division.

This week, most Class A private schools met at Eagle’s Landing Christian and came up with a proposal that would seed the 16 playoff qualifiers in football based on a points system. (Let’s stick to football now, as other sports will make this very complicated. In some sports, such as soccer, few Class A public schools field a team.)

Remember that public and private schools will continue to play each other and compete in the same regions — in the regular season. It’s in the playoffs that they’ll separate.

The private schools’ plan for the football playoffs is pretty simple. Teams get 10 points for each victory, and additional points for every victory won by teams that they have beaten. For example, Holy Innocents’ went 8-2. That’s 80 points (8 wins x 10). Those eight …

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Class A Basketball Blog: No. 2 at No.1 on tap Friday, state statistical leaders, top games in January

By S. Thomas Coleman
For the AJC

Perhaps the most anticipated game of the year thus far will go down Friday when the No. 2 St. Francis girls (15-2) travel to No. 1 Wesleyan (13-2). Neither team has lost to a team in Georgia this season.

While it should be a test for Wesleyan, which is seeking its fourth consecutive state title, the game is much bigger for St. Francis. The Knights have never beaten the Wolves and have lost the last three game against them by an average of 23 points.

“For us this is a championship game,” said standout senior forward Keyona Hayes.

The Knights warmed up with an 83-27 blowout of Pinecrest Academy on Tuesday. Sophomore center Brittany Outlaw had 19 points and 11 rebounds while junior guard Nigia Greene led all scorers with 20 points. The transfer from Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy says she is not “The Answer” to beating Wesleyan, which is led by four NCAA Division I signees — Wesleyan’s Missy Byrd, Kaetlyn Causwell, Jordan Frazier …

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AAAA basketball blog: Marist girls begin busy week with big victory

Marist’s girls team got off to a good start on what is perhaps its most important week of the regular season when it beat ninth-ranked Redan 52-29 on Tuesday.

It was the fifth consecutive victory for Marist, which is 10-2 overall and 6-1 in tough Region 6-AAAA, which has about seven teams with legitimate shots at qualifying for the region’s four state tournament berths.

Marist finishes the week with a home game on Friday against perennial playoff contender Mays and a road game Saturday at Tucker, which beat Redan 51-38 last Friday. The War Eagles also were scheduled to play eighth-ranked Miller Grove this week, but that game has been moved to Feb. 9.

Marist’s two losses this season have come against third-ranked Chamblee (55-33 on Dec. 2) and Hendersonville, Tenn. (56-50 on Dec. 29).

*Hunt’s big night: North Clayton’s Marcus Hunt scored 41 points and recorded a triple-double in the Eagles’ 85-72 victory over Mundy’s Mill on Tuesday that snapped the team’s …

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Top out-of-state teams come to Norcross this weekend for Hilton Invitational

Several Georgia boys teams – including No. 4 Wheeler, No. 6 Norcross and No. 10 Berkmar from Class AAAAA – will play in the Hilton Invitational on Friday and Saturday at Norcross. Each of the eight games matches a Georgia team against an out-of-state team.

Columbia, Georgia’s top-ranked team in AAA, is playing the Saturday prime time slot (8:30) against United Faith Christian of Charlotte, which has two major college signees in 6-foot-11 center Peter Jurkin (Indiana) and 6-1 guard Braxton Ogbueze (Florida), plus one of the nation’s top eighth-graders in 6-5 guard V.J.King. (Yes, eighth-graders are eligible, and this kid apparently is blue-chip.)

Charlotte Christian, which is led by Clemson-committed Patrick Rooks, a junior guard, will play Archer on Friday and Norcross on Saturday.

Wheeler will play nationally ranked Olympic, which also has a Clemson-signee in Josh Smith, a 6-8 center who will duel Wheeler’s own 6-8 post in Charles Mitchell. Olympic is No. 35 in the …

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AA basketball blog: Model wins 15th straight

The Model girls may not have a lot of Sports Center moments, but the Blue Devils find ways to win games. On Tuesday the No. 4-ranked team swamped rival Armuchee 50-35 to improve to 18-1 and 7-0 in Region 7-AA Subregion A.

Model has won 15 consecutive games since losing in the Darlington Thanksgiving Classic. Coach Sally Echols team is doing it with a balanced scoring attack and heavy emphasis on defense. Model stresses fundamentals and hitting the boards.

In the win over Armuchee it was Timia Reynolds and Kaylee Akin with 14 points and Carla Clemmons with 13 rebounds who led the way.

Pack gets tighter in Region 5

The goal for the teams in Region 5-AA is to avoid being in the first-round tournament game against No. 6 Jordan, which is 17-1 and has won 12 straight games, or No. 7 Manchester, which is 11-1 and has a 10-game winning streak.

Callaway helped its own cause on Tuesday by taking advantage of a short-handed Temple team to score a 79-62 upset and improved its standing in …

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AAA basketball blog: Smooth sailing for Allatoona

Greater ‘Toona: The Allatoona girls are putting together a season to be envied. Tuesday night, Allatoona ran its record to 17-1 with a 49-24 win over Pickens . The Lady Buccaneers are 4-0 in Region 7-AAA Division B, and they have 12 wins over teams from Class AAAAA and Class AAAA. The win over Pickens gave them sole possession of first place in the sub-region.

Showing signs: The Dalton girls’ overall record (11-5) isn’t as pretty as it was last year, when they were unbeaten all the way to the state championship before losing to Washington County, but the Lady Catamounts’ mark is a tad deceiving. Just one of the five losses is to a AAA team (Cartersville) and two others are to Class AAAA Northwest Whitfield. In 7-AAA Division A, Dalton entered Tuesday’s play 3-0 and in first place after a win last Friday over Heritage-Catoosa.

Utter dominance: The last two AAA state champions ran roughshod over struggling opponents Tuesday. Defending champion Washington County beat Burke …

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AAAAA girls basketball: Norcross 48, North Gwinnett 37

The Norcross girls basketball team had trouble scoring in the second half of its Region 7-AAAAA showdown with North Gwinnett on Tuesday, so it was fortunate for the Blue Devils that they didn’t need much offense down the stretch.

Thanks to a big halftime lead and a suffocating defensive effort, the Blue Devils held on for a 48-37 victory at home to take control of first place in the region.

Third-ranked Norcross (14-3, 8-0) closed the second quarter with a 16-2 run for a 36-19 halftime lead, then scored just 12 points the rest of the way. The Blue Devils managed to keep the lead at 11 points or more until the final three minutes, when No. 4 North Gwinnett (13-2, 6-1) cut the deficit to 44-37 on a short jumper by Baylee Rexing. But Tori Carter made two layups in the final 30 seconds to push the final margin back to 11 points. North Gwinnett scored 15 points in the first quarter but just 22 more over the final three.

“We were trying to run our offense,” Norcross coach …

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Coffee hires Fitzgerald’s Pruitt as head football coach

Region 1-AAAAAA keeps getting richer in football coaches. Fitzgerald’s Robby Pruitt, who has won 293 games and seven state championships in a 28-year career, is coming to Coffee High, the Tifton Gazette is reporting.

Pruitt was 120-21-1 in 11 seasons at Fitzgerald, a Region 1-AA school that has averaged 11 victories since 2004. His greatest success came in Florida, where Pruitt won state championships at University Christian (1987, 1989, 1991, 1992) and Union County (1994, 1995, 1996). See Pruitt’s record on Fitzgerald’s football Web site.

Pruitt became a front-runner for the Coffee job almost immediately when it opened in December. Coffee County superintendent Dr. Morris Leis helped hired Pruitt to Fitzgerald in 2000 when Morris was Fitzgerald’s athletics director. According to the Douglas Enterprise, Pruitt was listed as a reference when Leis later applied to become offee County superintendent, and the two have remained close friends.

The hiring of Pruitt gives south …

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College signees lead Parkview to victory

By Stephen Black

Score Atlanta

Archer, Parkview and Peachtree Ridge competed in a three-team meet at Parkview on Friday and the hosts won the overall meet with 527 points. The Peachtree Ridge girls won their meet with 240 points, besting second-place Parkview, which had 221. Archer tallied 167 points. The Lions won the girls meet on the strength of wins by Carrington Bevier (200 free), Savannah Ruedt (200 IM), Christina Wang (100 back), the 200 free relay team and the 400 free relay team. … The host Panthers won the boys meet with 306 points, while Peachtree Ridge had 225 and Archer finished with 103. Devyn Hughes (50 free, 100 butterfly), Ricky Lehner (100 breast, 500 free), Drew Wescoat (100 free), Adrian DeSilva (200 free), Geoffrey Carter (200 IM), Rory Martin (100 back), Sean Piner (diving), the 200 free relay team and the 400 free relay team all won for Parkview. The Panthers’ swimming team boasts 25 state qualifiers as well as three college signees in Lehner …

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Pope and Holy Innocents’ win wrestling championships; Collins Hill’s streak ends

Collins Hill High School had its streak of eight consecutive state championships in wrestling snapped at Saturday night’s Team Duals in Macon.

The dominating run by the Gwinnett County powerhouse in the state’s largest classification was ended by the narrowest of margins.

Camden County was declared the Class AAAAA state champions after edging out Collins Hill in a rare tiebreaker.  The two teams were knotted 27-27 after the completion of the matches, and the tiebreaker was matches won by pins, with Camden holding a 2-1 advantage.

It marked the first time that Collins Hill had lost a dual match to a Georgia team since the 2008 season. Collins Hill had won the last four state titles in both the Team Duals and Traditional state tournament.

“We’re disappointed, especially when you’re used to winning, and especially when it was a state championship match and so close,” Collins Hill coach Josh Stephen said. “It was like pretty much the whole state wanted …

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HS basketball rankings: Milton boys, Douglas County, Lovett girls are new No. 1’s

Milton is the new No. 1 boys team in Class AAAAA after an impressive tournament victory in Erie, Pa., on Saturday.

Milton defeated four-time New York Class A champion Jamesville-Dewitt 93-52 in the final of the Burger King Classic as Evan Nolte scored 23 points, 12 on 3-pointers.

Milton (13-4) took the place of Shiloh (13-2), which lost to Berkmar 46-45 on Friday. Milton has lost four games, but three by forfeit over the ineligibility of point guard Charles Mann. Since Mann returned to the lineup, Milton has not lost.

There are two other No. 1 teams, both in the girls rankings.

Douglas County (15-1), which reached the state semifinals last season, took advantage of losses by previous No. 1 Chamblee (to Redan) and No. 2 Alcovy (to Newton) to move up from its No. 3 spot last week in AAAA.

In AA, Lovett (14-3) moves up one place into the top spot. Buford, the previous No. 1 team, dropped to No. 3 after losing to Alpharetta 60-42 on Saturday. Buford will have a chance perhaps to …

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AAA basketball blog: Columbia holds court at home

State’s best home-court advantage? The Columbia boys’ home winning streak is currently at 72 games. The Eagles are 75-0 vs region foes since 2005, including a stint in Class AAAA, compiling an overall record of 198-18 in that time.

Speaking of streaks, the Washington County girls pushed their winning streak to 45 games Friday night with a win over Glenn Hills, getting 28 points from Allisha Gray. The Lady Hawks will face their toughest regular-season test Jan. 20 with a road game at Cross Creek,which improved to 16-2 with a route of Burke County Friday night behind 18 points from Ashleigh Outler and 14 from Breanna Bryant.

Ready for a showdown: On the 5-AAA side opposite Columbia, the Grady and Washington boys meet Tuesday night for sole possession of first place in the sub-region. Grady beat St. Pius Friday night to improve to 12-3, while Washington downed North Atlanta to improve to 10-5 overall. Both teams are 4-1 in 5-AAA Division A.

Gimme gimmicks: A sharp-shooter on …

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AA basketball blog: Buford boys get Davis, girls still missing Carter

The Buford boys welcomed one of its long-awaited stars on Friday, but the Buford girls are still wondering when their superstar will finally take the court.

The boys got to use 6-foot-7 junior A.J. Davis, a junior who transferred to the school from Greater Atlanta Christian prior to the season. With his eligibility restored by the Georgia High School Association on Friday morning, Davis made his Buford debut against his old school. Despite a few “A.J. Who?” signs on display among the GAC fans at the Long Forum on Friday, Davis received a fairly amiable reception.

Davis helped GAC win the Class AA title last year when he averaged 12.5 points and 6.8 rebounds. The son of former NBA player Antonio Davis transferred to Buford, where his twin sister Kaela plays. Kaela Davis went to GAC in middle school, attended Norcross as a freshman and transferred to Buford last year and helped the Wolves win a state championship. A.J. Davis had three points and seven rebounds in his return …

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AAAA basketball blog: Miller Grove wins opener, loses semifinal in Bass Pro Tournament

Miller Grove, the top-ranked boys team in Georgia’s Class AAAA, broke a five-game losing streak against out-of-state teams with a 73-47 victory over St. Rita of Chicago on Thursday in the Bass Pro Tournament of Champions in Springfield, Mo., but the Wolverines came up short in the semifinals on Friday, losing 64-61 to Lincoln of San Diego.

Tony Parker had 20 points and 10 rebounds against Lincoln, which got 27 points from junior Tyree Robinson and 12 points from his twin brother, Tyrell. In the victory over St. Rita, the Wolverines were led by Georgia signee Brandon Morris, who had 17 points and six rebounds. Parker had nine points and eight rebounds in the opener.

Miller Grove will take on Christ the King of Middle Village, N.Y. in Saturday’s third-place game. Lincoln will play Westbury Christian of Houston in the championship game. Westbury Christian is ranked No. 33 nationally in the latest ESPN poll, one spot ahead of Miller Grove.

On Monday, the Wolverines will face …

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