Archive for February, 2012

AA basketball blog: No real first-round surprises

The favorites survived in the opening round of the Class AA girls tournament. The higher seeded team won 12 of the 15 games played on Friday night.

While no No. 4 seed was able to beat a No. 1 seed, a trio of No. 3 seeds were able to knock off No. 2s: Albany beat Jeff Davis 50-49, Greater Atlanta Christian beat Jordan 66-40,  and Southwest Macon beat Screven County 64-58.

The only ranked team to lose on opening night was No. 10 Decatur, which lost on the road at No. 9 Heard County.

The girls tournament resumes on Tuesday.

Don’t count out Calhoun

The Yellow Jackets were trailing by three and down to their last possession before finding a way to tie their game with Rabun County and win it 63-51 in overtime.

Callie Pruett nailed a 3-pointer from the corner with under five seconds to tie the game. Not only did it force an overtime, it caused the Calhoun faithful to go crazy in the stands and deflated the Rabun girls, who had defended the play as well as possible and appeared …

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Marietta girls rout Roswell 69-30 in first-round AAAAA game

Marietta made an early exit last season from the Class AAAAA girls basketball playoffs. Call it an aberration.

The eighth-ranked Blue Devils (24-4) took control of this year’s first-round game at Marietta on Tuesday by outscoring Roswell 17-2 over the final five minutes of the first quarter, then blew it open with a 16-1 run to start the second half and cruised to a 69-30 victory.

Marietta advanced to a second-round matchup next week at two-time defending Class AAAAA champion Norcross. Roswell finished 12-16.

Senior guards Jasmine McSwain, Trana Hopkins and Courtney Sprague smothered Roswell with their full-court pressing defense. McSwain led Marietta with 19 points, followed by Hopkins with 17.

“McSwain’s a tremendous athlete, and for some reason a lot of teams seem to forget about her, which is a good thing,” Marietta coach Ken Sprague said. “Courtney’s been around for a while, so they know what she can do, and they try to stop her. Trana’s out there handling …

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Chamblee girls defeat Douglas County 54-47 for first state playoff win since 1975

Chamblee’s girls hadn’t won a state playoff game in basketball in 37 years, and four remarkable three-year starters were down to their last dance Friday night, facing a six-point deficit with seconds left in the third quarter against the second-ranked team in Class AAAA.

Paden Smith banked in a desperate 3-pointer at the buzzer, part of an 8-0 surge that boosted fifth-ranked Chamblee to a 54-47 home victory over Douglas County in the jewel game of the AAAA first round.

‘’This game meant the world to us,’’ said Chamblee coach Paul Ireland. “I coached these girls since they were seventh-graders. I coached them in middle school. … When that last-second shot went in, that’s the turn we needed. I told them we’ve got to take it from here.’’

Lucy Mason, DeKalb County’s leading scorer at 22.3 points per game, opened the fourth with a steal and three-point play for the tie. Paden’s second 3 with 2:40 left made it 48-42 at the end of a 20-6 run.

How these …

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Wilcox County’s boys forfeit first-round game vs. Randolph-Clay over undisclosed incident

Wilcox County’s boys basketball team forfeited its first-round state playoff game tonight against Randolph-Clay for an undisclosed incident involving its players on Thursday.

It is the first pre-game forfeit in a state tournament since 1941, according to the Georgia Basketball Project.

“All I’ll say is that we had nine players involved Thursday afternoon in an off-campus situation when their actions led to their suspensions for disciplinary reasons,” head coach George Kennedy told the Cordele Dispatch. “With just three players left, we had no choice but to forfeit tonight’s game.”

The school let the Georgia High School Association know through an e-mail.

‘’Due to an unfortunate situation last night involving the majority of the boys basketball game, we will be forced to forfeit the boys basketball game tonight,” Wilcox County principal Chad Davis wrote.

Schools officials had no further comment.

The Georgia High School Association said it would not act further …

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Class A Basketball Blog: 5 boys teams to watch in the state playoffs

By S. Thomas Coleman
For the AJC

Here are five boys teams to watch in the Class A playoffs.

North Cobb Christian. The question is simple, and one that the undefeated Eagles have face all season: Are they really this good? In their 28 wins this season, the margin of victory for the Region 6 champs, ranked No. 1 in Class A, was 32 points and only two teams came within ten points of them – Mt. Paran Christian (59-51) and McCallie of Chattanooga (61-56). Still, there are some who think NCC’s championship credentials are suspect, pointing to the 86-59 loss the Eagles suffered at the hands of Whitefield Academy in last season’s Elite Eight. But they remain resolute that they are worthy of being considered the favorite to win it all this season. “We hear that but it doesn’t bother us because we know we can compete with anybody,” senior forward Dauson Womack said back in January. Due to a scheduling quirk, Womack and fellow senior leader point guard Corey Harris, will …

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AAA basketball: Five boys teams to watch

Here are five boys teams to watch in the Class AAA basketball tournament, which begins on Saturday:

Columbia: By almost any account, the Eagles (26-1) are the class of the class. Point guard Tahj Shamsid-Deen is worth more than 30 points a game, scoring 12.7 and dishing out 9.6 assists. Three other players, Jarmal Reid, Jhaustin Thomas and Nate Mason, average double-figure scoring, and Thomas and Chris Horton are excellent rebounders. Columbia has won 35 straight games against teams from Georgia.

Carrollton: The Trojans (25-3) shoot well from the perimeter and have three legitimate threats in Josh Barge (19.6 ppg), Telvin Brown and Riley Criswell. Carrollton avenged its two losses to Georgia schools in the 6-AAA tournament, including a 61-58 win over Troup in the region title game. They’ve held 23 of 28 opponents under 60 points.

Washington County: The Golden Hawks reeled off 22 wins to start the season but have stumbled over their past four games, losing three. So they go …

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AAAA basketball blog: Five boys teams to watch

These aren’t necessarily the favorites to win the state title, but here are five teams that are worth watching in the Class AAAA boys basketball tournament, which begins this weekend.

*Alcovy: The second-ranked Tigers are perhaps the hottest team in Class AAAA, entering the state tournament on a 16-game winning streak that includes a 73-60 victory over Fayette County in the Region 3-AAAA championship game. Alcovy’s three losses this season have come against Class AA No. 9 Morgan County and AAAAA schools North Cobb and Savannah. The Tigers have a decent draw, with no other team in its quarter of the bracket ranked higher than No. 8.

*Bainbridge: The Bearcats had won 17 consecutive games until a controversial 60-58 loss to Northside-Warner Robins in the Region 1-AAAA championship game. Northside won on a shot as time expired, but Bainbridge coach Rickey McCullough told the Bainbridge Post-Searchlight, “He got the shot away after [the buzzer sounded] so it should not have …

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AAAAA basketball blog: Five teams to watch

The five most intriguing boys teams in the AAAAA field –

Milton – The odds-on favorite, Milton is seeking its fourth straight state finals appearance and second championship in three years. The roster is full of major Division I recruits led by 6-8 wing Evan Nolte (Virginia signee), point guard Charles Mann (Georgia), forward Shaquille Johnson (Auburn) and center Tevin Glass (offered by Georgia Southern and Jacksonville). Jalyn Patterson, who scored 24 points in the Region 6 final against Alpharetta, is a nationally known sophomore. Milton’s record is 23-4, but three of losses were victories overturned by forfeit, and the other, to Tift County, came when Mann was out of the lineup. Milton is ranked as high as No. 3 in national polls.

North Cobb – The most surprising team in Class AAAAA has been North Cobb (24-4), ranked No. 2 after winning 16 of its past 17games. Though always respected as coach who got the most from limited talent, Terry Gorsuch has his first 20-game …

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AA basketball blog: Five boys teams to watch

The Greater Atlanta Christian boys don’t have that “wow” factor when they begin their pregame warmups. There are no physical specimens on the roster that cause onlookers to take notice. So why is it that the Spartans enter the Class AA tournament as the favorite to win their third straight state championship?

No. 1-ranked GAC (22-6) simply takes it strengths and plays to them. The Spartans move the ball effectively, make the extra pass, take the smart shot and make their free throws. Oh, and there’s defense, which enables this team to hit the next gear and play to the next level, especially when times get tough.

GAC has some outstanding players, starting with point guard Collin Swinton, who has the knack of finding the open man. Delano Spencer, Robert Armstrong and Cole Hobbs know their roles and play to them. And no coach does a better job getting his team prepared than GAC’s Eddie Martin.

The Spartans open the playoffs against Callaway (12-14), with the winner …

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AAA basketball blog: Five girls teams to watch

Here are five girls teams to watch in the Class AAA basketball tournament, which begins on Friday:

Washington County: Simply put, the Lady Hawks are the team to beat. Led by Allisha Gray and Shonterria Kitchens, have won 59 straight games, and they’ve won by at least 10 points in the last 29. The defending state champions whipped Westside-Augusta in the 3-AAA championship game.

St. Pius: Emma Ucinski and Anna O’Donnell lead an experienced Lady Lions club that features 11 seniors. St. Pius (24-4) has held 16 teams to 30 points or less, and they had won 11 straight before falling to Columbia in the 5-AAA final.

Columbia: The Lady Eagles (19-5), who won the state title in 2010 and lost in the state semifinals last year, don’t put up flashy numbers – they’re led in scoring by Zuri Frost and Miah Spencer, both at 12 points per game – but they play great defense. Frost averages nearly five steals per game, and Columbia held St. Pius wo 28 points in the 5-AAA final.


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Class A Basketball Blog: Five girls teams to watch in the playoffs

By S. Thomas Coleman
For the AJC

Here are five girls teams to watch in the Class A playoffs.

St. Francis. Knights head coach Aisha Gaddis preached all season that Wesleyan was the gold standard, the program her team needed to beat to be considered elite. After several tries, including two this season, St. Francis finally broke through over the weekend in the Region 5 tournament title game, 52-45. The Knights (23-5), No. 4 in the latest state rankings, have a starting five that may be the state’s most talented. It includes forward Keyona Hayes, who has signed with Miami, and junior guard Nigia Greene, as skilled and athletic as any guard – in any classification – in the state. Point guard Candice Williams sets the tempo. The only way St. Francis and Wesleyan could face each other again this season would be in the state title game in Macon, March 10.

Wesleyan. The Wolves, seeking their fifth consecutive state title, have won the ultimate prize without winning the region …

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AAAAA basketball blog: Five girls teams to watch

Here are five girls teams to watch in the Class AAAAA basketball tournament, which begins on Friday:

Alpharetta – No opponent has scored more than 51 against fourth-ranked Alpharetta (23-3), a up-and-coming program that has made its first three state tournaments the past three years under former Georgia State player Angela Anderson-Hurt. Seniors Alexis Alexander (UNC-Charlotte), 6-foot-5 post player Delaney Hollenbeck (Marist College) and Jasmine Newsome (Montevallo) have signed, and junior guard Kylee Smith (19 points per game) has committed to Vanderbilt.

McEachern – A national title contender, McEachern (28-0) has six players who have signed or committed to Division I schools. They are seniors Pachiyaanna Roberts (Syracuse), Kayla Montgomery (Clemson), Dominique Wilson (Arkansas) and Destinie Gibbs (Ole Miss), junior Mia Cooper (South Carolina) and Te’a Cooper (North Carolina). The team has several wins over national ranked teams and is rated No. 2 by ESPN Rise and …

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AAAA basketball blog: Five girls teams to watch

Here are five girls teams to watch in the Class AAAA basketball tournament, which begins on Friday:

*Chamblee or Douglas County: The only first-round game involving two top 10 teams has No. 2 Douglas County at No. 5 Chamblee. The winner will be favored to reach the semifinals at Gwinnett Arena, although No. 6 Creekview lurks as a potential stumbling block. Douglas County was ranked No. 1 until a 70-50 loss to Kell in the 5-AAAA semifinals. Chamblee was ranked No. 1 last season entering its region tournament but was upset in the quarterfinals and failed to make the state tournament.

*Fayette County: The defending state champion Tigers could have fallen off this season after losing a talented senior class that included 2011 AAAA player of the year Brianna Banks, but they will enter the state tournament with the No. 1 ranking and a 16-game winning streak. Fayette County beat eighth-ranked Alcovy 50-39 last week in the Region 3-AAAA championship game, and the Tigers haven’t lost …

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Troup fires football coach Flowers

Troup has fired football coach Charlie Flowers apparently over an improper transfer of at least one football player into the Troup district, according a report by WTVM-TV in Columbus.

Parents gathered outside school district headquarters seeking answers Tuesday. Some challenged a rumor that Flowers was fired for assisting in the move of a student-athlete from Alabama to Troup County, the TV station reported.

The Georgia High School Association says it is not investigating Troup for any alleged wrongdoing.

The Troup school system has declined comment except to confirm Flowers’ dismissal. Flowers has denied comment.

Flowers returned to Troup, his almater, in 2010. The team has had 7-4 and 9-3. Flowers’ 21-season record as a head coach is 161-82 record. He was a state title at Shaw in 2000.

Troup’s top player is Reuben Foster, a linebacker who has committed to Alabama.

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AA basketball blog: Five girls teams to watch

Model is ranked No. 1 in the state and the girls have won 24 straight games. But are they the Blue Devils the favorite going in the Class AA tournament, which begins Friday?

Model (27-1) went through the regular season with an unblemished subregion record and hasn’t lost a game since falling to Rome-area rival Darlington on Nov. 25. The Devils avenged that loss in the final of Rome News-Tribune Holiday Festival.

Model could be hurt by the lack of close games. The girls beat Pepperell by four points and survived to beat Calhoun 35-33 in the Region 7-AA championship game. They play solid defense (37 points per game) and score plenty of points (59 points per game). Carla Clemmons and Timia Reynolds is a talented one-two punch that any team would love to have.

Model opens at home against a 21-8 Union County team and would play the Jordan-Greater Atlanta Christian winner in the second round.

Here are four other teams to watch in the Class AA tournament:

Buford: The three-time …

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