Archive for March, 2012

Class A Girls Championship: Wesleyan 68, SACA 44

By S. Thomas Coleman
For the AJC

The loss in the Region 5 tournament final a distant memory, Wesleyan got back to doing what Wesleyan does when state championships are on the line.

Winning.

The Wolves’ relentless waves of pressure and talent eventually overwhelmed a talented but shorthanded Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy team, as Wesleyan claimed its fifth consecutive state championship in a 68-44 rout.

It was the school’s ninth championship since 2002 and fourth consecutive in Class A. Wesleyan won Class AA titles in four out of five years from 2004-2008, the lone letdown coming in 2007 when the Wolves fell to Greater Atlanta Christian in the finals.

The game started out close, as most games do when Wesleyan plays a team that can match up with the talent of its starting unit. Both teams guarded and pressured tightly and there were no field goals for half of the first quarter before Wesleyan junior Katie Frerking broke the ice with a 3 at the 4:40 mark. With the game …

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Class A Basketball Blog: Turner County coach speaks out on tough semi-final loss

By S. Thomas Coleman
For the AJC

Even though he is a basketball fan through and through, you’ll have to forgive Turner County head coach Tyrone Kellogg if he doesn’t watch much of any of this weekend’s state finals. He’s a bit jaded right about now.

That’s because in the span of three weeks, Kellogg feels his team, his kids, as he refers to them, ended up on the short end of two controversial calls by officials that cost the Rebels shots at competing for two championships – the Region 2 title and the state crown.

“Every game has situations and maybe two or three calls that may stick out where you see things one way and the official sees it another,” said Kellogg, whose team fell to Lanier County 66-57 in the Region 2 semi finals Feb. 17, and 46-44 to Athens Christian in the state semi finals on Wednesday. “Our kids are still not over how things turned out.”

In the Lanier game, with the game in the balance late in the fourth quarter, a Lanier County player …

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AAAAA boys: Milton 79, Savannah 67

Shaquille Johnson scored 23 points, nine in the fourth quarter after his team let a 12-point lead escape, and led Milton to a 79-67 victory over Savannah on Friday in the Class AAAAA boys final at the Gwinnett Arena.

Milton (29-4) won its second state title in three seasons, but not without a fight from underdog Savannah (30-3), bidding to become the first south Georgia team to win the highest class since 1998.

Savannah went on a 9-0 run over the third and fourth quarters and led 49-47. Savannah’s last lead was 53-51 with 6 minutes left. But Johnson then made a dunk, his sixth of seven in the game, plus a free throw, and Milton never trailed from there.

Johnson had six rebounds and three blocks. Milton’s Tevin Glass had 17 points and 10 rebounds. Jalyn Patterson and Evan Nolte scored 16.

The state championship was Milton coach David Boyd’s sixth state title as a head coach. He also won at Berkmar, Tucker and Campbell.

Jamal Norman, a sophomore, led Savannah with 18 …

Continue reading AAAAA boys: Milton 79, Savannah 67 »

AAA boys: Columbia 64, Eagle’s Landing 50

Macon – Jarmal Reid scored 21 points and Jhaustin Thomas 13 for Columbia, which won and secured a chance at its third straight state championship.

Columbia (30-1) will face Drew in the finals Saturday.

Columbia trailed 7-4 midway through the first period, which they closed with a 9-0 run. A 6-0 stretch in the middle of the second to take a 21-12 lead.

Columbia led 26-17 at intermission and maintained a cushion of between eight and 10 points.  Eagle’s Landing, playing without star guard Eric Wortham, closed the third period with an 8-2 run, pulling within three at 39-36.

Columbia’s Kiair Crouch and Reid opened the fourth quarter with back-to-back baskets to push the lead to 43-36. Already struggling to deal with Columbia’s size inside, Eagle’s Landing post players Jordan Session and Desmond Ringer each picked up his fourth foul within a minute of each other. Ringer’s came with 5:28 left, and from there Columbia worked the ball inside and repeatedly drew fouls, scoring 14 of …

Continue reading AAA boys: Columbia 64, Eagle’s Landing 50 »

AAAAA girls championship: McEachern 69, Hillgrove 36

McEachern’s early scoring runs can be devastating. Hillgrove knows that as well as anyone.

The top-ranked Indians outscored their Powder Springs rivals 20-4 in the game’s first seven minutes and went on to beat the Hawks 69-36 in the Class AAAAA girls basketball championship game at Gwinnett Arena on Friday.

The title is the first in girls basketball for McEachern and the first by any Cobb County school since Pope in 1999. It also was the most lopsided championship game ever in the state’s highest classification.

McEachern completed a 33-0 season with its fourth victory of the season against fellow Region 4-AAAAA member Hillgrove (26-5). Three of the wins were by 26 points or more.

McEachern led by as many as 21 points in first half but had seen the margin dwindle to 12 entering the fourth quarter. That’s when the Indians went on another run to put the game away, outscoring Hillgrove 11-1 over the next three minutes to make it 54-32.

Te’a Cooper started the quarter …

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AAA girls: Columbia 62, Westside-Augusta 37

Macon – Columbia opened its Class AAA semifinal against Westside-Augusta with a 15-1 run won going away, winning 62-37 to set up a rematch with Washington County in Saturday’s championship.

Miah Spencer scored 13 points to lead four Columbia players in double figures.

Columbia pressed from the outset and Westside struggled to get the ball across midcourt, committing numerous turnovers to fuel the big game-opening run.

“Our defense allows us to overcome some other things we don’t do as well,” said Columbia coach Chantay Frost. “We just always try to play strong defense.”

The Lady Eagles led 35-21 at the half and pushed the lead to 41-21 by scoring the first three baskets of the second half

Yaktivia Hickson and Zuri Frost had 12 each and Victoria Gonzales 10 for Columbia (23-5), which lost to Washington County in last year’s semifinals. The championship game will pit the last two AAA champions against one another.

Westside (27-5), whose only loss in its previous 22 …

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Miller Grove, Columbia among 14 schools to win boys, girls basketball titles in same season

Miller Grove’s girls basketball team, fresh off of its first state title in basketball, gave Miller Grove’s boys players a gantlet of high fives as they entered the floor Friday for the boys Class AAAA final.

The boys did their part, beating Southwest DeKalb 63-57, giving Miller Grove a sweep of the boys and girls titles.

”It gave us a little mojo,” Miller Grove boys coach Sharman White said. “We were like brothers and sisters. They got their ring. We didn’t want to leave without one.”

Miller Grove became the 13th school to sweep state basketball championships in the same season. On Saturday, another DeKalb school, Columbia, joined the list by sweeping AAA. It’s happened seven times since 2006.

”We should have a parade,” White said. “You’re talking about two quality programs. We’re proud we’ve been able to put our mark in a short time.”

Miller Grove opened in 2005.

Schools that have won both basketball state titles in the same year:

1952 – Stilson (C)
1958 – Murphy (AAA), Jeff …

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AAA boys: Drew 75, Washington 61

Macon – Charles Drew High School is just three years old, but the Titans’ boys basketball program is fully mature.

Getting a big run in every quarter, the Titans (28-4) dispatched Washington in the Class AAA semifinals Friday, winning 75-61 while holding the Bulldogs to one field goal over the final five minutes.

“We were able to do the things we’ve been preparing for all year,” said Drew coach Jarrod Davis, whose club was one of two from Region 4-AAA in the semifinals and three that made the quarterfinals. “Our region prepared us for games like this.”

Derrick Frye scored 17 points to lead four Drew players in double figures.

The Titans opened the game with a 9-2 run and led 15-6 before Washington answered with a big run of its own, forcing a 23-23 tie by the end of the first period. Drew led 34-30 at halftime and scored the first 10 points in the third quarter to build a 14-point lead, their biggest of the game.

The Bulldogs answered with an 11-0 run that started …

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AAAA boys final: Miller Grove 63, SWD 57

Three titles weren’t enough for Miller Grove and Tony Parker, not when the 6-foot-9 center had a senior year to close out one of the best careers of a high school basketball player in Georgia history.

Parker scored 22 points and had 12 rebounds and four blocked shots Friday in a 63-57 victory over Southwest DeKalb in the Class AAAA boys final at the Gwinnett Arena.

Miller Grove became the first school since Westover of Albany in 1993 to win a fourth straight boys state championship in any class. Parker, a McDonald’s All-American, was a starter on all four.

‘’This was the most special,’’ Parker said. “This was my last high school game with six guys [seniors] that I love. We’ve graduated every class with a ring, and it was important to these seniors that they graduate with a ring. It was huge.’’

For the first time in a championship game, Miller Grove trailed in the fourth quarter.

Southwest DeKalb took a 49-48 lead on Jordan Price’s free throw with 3:46 …

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AAAA girls championship: Miller Grove 46, Southwest DeKalb 39

A school known for its boys basketball state championships now has a trophy for the girls team.

Miller Grove built a 17-point first-half lead and survived a frantic fourth quarter to beat county rival Southwest DeKalb 46-39 in the Class AAAA final at Gwinnett Arena on Friday.

Miller Grove’s boys team completed a sweep of Southwest DeKalb later Friday, giving the school five championships in its eight years of existence. The Wolverines have won four consecutive boys titles.

“It’s awesome to follow in their footsteps,” Miller Grove girls coach Renee Breedlove said. “I think this is a tradition that we’re going to build on because we’ve got everybody coming back except one. And our middle school team’s 35-0, they’re going to keep feeding us those players, and we’re going to keep pushing.”

Breedlove had complained about her team’s defensive play in its semifinal victory against Alcovy, despite allowing just 34 points. This one was more to her liking and was …

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AAA girls: Washington County 68, North Hall 52

Macon – The Washington County girls’ winning streak is at 63, and once again Allisha Gray led the way.

A day after being named the Georgia Gatorade Player of the Year, Gray celebrated by scoring 40 points as the Lady Hawks (31-0) beat North Hall 68-52 in the Class AAA semifinals Friday, earning a chance at their second straight state championship.

Gunning for back-to-bck undefeated seasons, the Lady Hawks had difficulty with their perimeter shooting game and  though they led throughout, the possibility of an upset remained in play  into the fourth quarter.

“If we’d have lost this game, there would have been a lot of trash-talking,” said Gray. “They’d be saying we hadn’t played anybody.”

Gray, who scored 18 points in the fourth quarter, put up the big performance despite struggling from 3-point range.

“When you’re not shooting well, you have to go to other parts of the game,” said Gray, who averages 37 percent shooting from 3-point range. “For us that’s defense.”

Continue reading AAA girls: Washington County 68, North Hall 52 »

Class A Basketball Blog: A dozen players to watch in the finals

By S. Thomas Coleman
For the AJC

Here are a dozen players to watch in Saturday’s Class A finals:

Lorenzo Carter, Whitefield Academy. One of the top sophomores in the state, the 6-foot-6 forward runs the floor and finishes with the best of them, and is a force on defense as well.

Jordan Frazier, Wesleyan. The senior point guard runs the show for the Wolves. The Wofford signee had 15 steals in Wesleyan’s quarterfinal romp over Top-Ten Darlington.

Katie Frerking, Wesleyan. The 6-foot-1 junior is as versatile a player as there is in the state, and plays well off of one of Georgia’s top all around performers, senior teammate Holli Wilkins.

Kenneth Gaines, Whitefield Academy. As dynamic and talented a player as there is in Georgia in any classification. Gaines, a senior who averages nearly 30 points per game, signed with Georgia over Georgia Tech, Clemson and a host of others.

Amy Griffin, Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy. The 6-foot-2 sophomore filled the void inside …

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AAAAA boys: Milton 73, Harrison 52

Sophomore guard Jalyn Patterson scored 20 points and had five steals Thursday as top-ranked Milton (28-4) defeated Harrison 73-52 in the Class AAAAA boys semifinals at the Gwinnett Arena and became the third boys program history to reach four straight Georiga finals in the highest class, first since Norcross (2005-08).

Milton opened the second half with an 8-0 run to lead 45-31 and had a 12-0 run later in the quarter for 60-41. Shaquille Johnson was 4-for-4 with two dunks and a 3 in the quarter and finished with 17 points, four dunks and seven rebounds.

Milton’s Evan Nolte, a starter on all four of Milton’s state final teams, scored 17 points and had four blocked shots and three steals.

Harrison’s Marshall Guilimette scored 21 points – 17 in the first half on 7-of-8 shooting. He had seven rebounds.

Harrison, making its first boys semifinal appearance, finished 23-8.

Milton will play Savannah in Friday’s 8:45 p.m. championship game.

Unofficial stats -

MILTON
Shaquille …

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AA boys: Manchester 71, Vidalia 62

Saiquan Terry scored 24 points and Manchester built a 13-point lead early in the third quarter then hung on to beat Vidalia in a Class AA boys semifinal.

The Blue Devils (23-2) led 42-29 in the third and withstood a Vidalia rally by hitting free throws late.

Devin Atkins scored 22 points for Vidalia (27-4).

Continue reading AA boys: Manchester 71, Vidalia 62 »

AAAAA girls semifinals: Hillgrove 56, North Gwinnett 51

Ninth-ranked Hillgrove rallied from a nine-point deficit late in the third quarter and earned its first trip to the state championship game with a 56-51 victory against North Gwinnett in the Class AAAAA girls basketball semifinals at Gwinnett Arena on Thursday.

The victory sets up an all-Powder Springs final at 7 p.m. Friday in Gwinnett. The Hawks will meet top-ranked McEachern, their Region 4-AAAAA rival located just three miles away in west Cobb County.

“It means so much for those seniors,” said Hillgrove coach Sheryl Fowler, who left McEachern to start the program at Hillgrove six years ago. “It’s a great group with those eight kids, and for me that’s what I’m most proud of, for them to have this experience.”

Hillgrove (26-4) outscored North Gwinnett 31-17 in the game’s final 10 minutes to rally from a 34-25 deficit.

North Gwinnett (26-4) had a considerable height advantage, but Hillgrove found success by taking the ball right at the Bulldogs, particularly …

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