Five to watch in round 3 of the AAA state tournament
Columbia boys (28-1) vs. Carrollton (27-3): Columbia has had just one close game since the new year, and the Eagles appear to be on autopilot. In Carrollton though, Columbia faces an athletic and experienced club. Columbia has an extensive height advantage with Jarmal Reid, Chris Horton and Jhaustin Thomas, all of whom are 6-6 or taller, while Carrollton’s hopes probably lie in its outside shooters. If they find the hot hand, this one could be a lot of fun. If the game turns into a battle of second-chance points, Columbia will be very difficult to beat.
Eagle’s Landing boys (27-3) vs. Crisp County (20-9): Eagle’s Landing has turned two big mid-game leads into tightrope acts in the first two rounds of the state tournament, and they face a No. 1 seed for the second straight game in Crisp, which has also survived a pair of tight games. The records might seem to indicate a disparity, but both teams played tight games against Columbia in the Columbia Invitational.
Drew boys (26-4) vs. Henry County (18-12): This will be the third meeting between the two 4-AAA clubs. Henry won 74-73 on Jan. 7 behind a big night from Dre Soulder. Drew won 74-58 on Jan. 27 while shutting him down. Soulder would seem to be the key to which team advances to the state semifinals.
Washington County girls (29-0) vs. Albany-Monroe (20-8): The question here is the same as it has been now for 61 straight games: Can Washington County’s Allisha Gray be stopped? She scored 29 points in the second-round win over Westover. Monroe seems accustomed to tight games, having 11 games this season decided by five points or less.
Allatoona girls (26-4) vs. North Hall (23-7): It’s Allatoona star Elise Spann against Lady Trojan twins Mary Kate and McKenna Rushton. Since two straight losses on Jan. 31 and Feb. 3, Allatoona has won six straight, all by nine points or more. North Hall has won seven stright behind the Rushtons, each of whom has topped 1,000 career points.