Five thoughts from he first round of the AAA state tournament:
Hanging on by talons: The Eagle’s Landing boys led by 15 points midway through the third quarter then held on for a 57-53 win over Thomson Saturday night, surviving two turnovers in the final 20 seconds and holding Thomson without a shot on a last-minute possession where the visiting Bulldogs had a chance to tie or take the lead. Afterward, they weren’t quibbling about style points. After falling in the 4-AAA championship game, they were glad to have their state championship pursuit still alive.
“The region championship wasn’t our main goal,” said center Desmond Ringer. “We want to win state.”
After a state semifinal appearance last year, they weren’t going to sneak up on anyone.
“I told them before the game that we weren’t defending last year’s run,” said Eagle’s Landing coach Clay Crump. “There are some expecations on this team. We’re looking to make a new run.”
Don’t doze on Drew: The Titans thoroughly embarrassed Washington County, 73-47, the largest margin of any first-round boys game in AAA. They stay at home against Albany’s Westover in the second round, and while the Patriots have the history, Drew has plenty of weapons. I’d still rate Columbia as the favorite, but Drew is worth watching.
Oh, the upsets: Two No. 1 seeds were sent packing on the boys side. Henry County entered the state tournament as a fourth seed but bounced 3-AAA champ Josey in the frist round. Further north, LaFayette, the No. 4 seed from 7-AAA, ousted 8-AAA champ Walnut Grove. On the girls side, fourth seed Dougherty topped 2-AAA No. 1 seed Mary Persons, but Dougherty coach Charlene Jackson didn’t like the upset terminology.
“We didn’t feel like an underdog and this was not an upset,” Jackson was quoted in the Albany Herald. “We felt confident coming into the this game and we got the job done.”
Most compelling second-round matchups: Girls, 26-2 Westover and star DyTiesha Dunson at 28-0 Washington County and Allisha Gray. Boys, 24-5 North Hall and Imani Cross at 26-3 Carrollton and Josh Barge.
AAA coaches: Send your updated information to firstname.lastname@example.org.