AAAA Boys Basketball: South Atlanta 78, Alexander 68

By S. Thomas Coleman
For the AJC

Even though this was Alexander’s first trip to the state playoffs in a half-dozen years, and its deepest penetration in the tournament in recent memory, the Cougars still had the attention and respect of longtime South Atlanta head coach Michael Reddick, prior to Wednesday’s second-round playoff game.

And after Alexander turned a four-point deficit late in the second quarter into a 38-34 halftime lead, Reddick knew his concern was well-founded. But neither he nor his team panicked. The result was a 78-68 win for the Hornets, who advance to the Class AAAA semi finals on Saturday against Eagles Landing (26-5).

“We adjusted our defense at the end of the second quarter and it backfired on us,” Reddick said. “At halftime we told them that we just needed to calm down and stay focused and things would fall back into place for us. But that Alexander team is a scrappy bunch.”

Indeed, the Cougars stayed close all night. South Atlanta regrouped at intermission and led by 10 late in the third quarter. But Alexander converted a four-point play and to trail by just six, 57-51, heading into the final period. Then the Cougars went on a 9-3 run to tie the game at 60 with five minutes left in regulation. But the Hornets went on a 10-0 spurt to put the game away.

“Our kids are pretty resilient. By now, after the summer league games and fall leagues they’ve played almost 80 games together, like an NBA team,” Reddick said. “They are at a point where they don’t panic.”

Reddick said his team’s tough schedule steeled it for this current post-season run, and specifically a game like Wednesday night.

“We played one of the toughest schedules in Class AAAA, if not the state,” Reddick said. “We played Marist, Grady and Columbia twice, and all of those teams have been ranked all season. That has helped us be mentally tough.”

Junior guard Costa Anderson, who led all scorers with 21 points, agreed.

“We’ve been here before, many times,” Anderson said. “Our coaches have prepared us and we’ve been in close games, so this was nothing new.”

Senior forward Kertiss Baisden said the long, tough schedule has helped the Hornets as well.

“You can’t get tired,” said Baisden, who had 12 points to go with 10 rebounds. “We have too much to play for. We want a ring. That’s why we have a poster of the ring in the gym to keep us motivated and remind us of why we’re here: To win a championship.”

Alexander (68) – Karim Mawuenyega 18, Mikell Lands 17, Hassani Gravitt 12, Jaquon Grier 7, Lemarcus Frazier 6, Eric Arnold 4, Gerran Brooks 4.

South Atlanta (78) – Costa Anderson 21, Naquavious King 20, Kertiss Baisden 12, Jonathan Range 10, Derrick Byrd 8, TrevionWebb 3, Terrance Lindsey 2, Quendarrian Miller 2.

14 comments Add your comment

Manny fresh

February 28th, 2013
7:48 am

Well done hornets now let’s go take it to eagles landing they done did so much scouting they might as well pay for the championship. Sending other schools over to scout get kick outta the games for recording. Just man up and play ball dang is it that serious. They at like its the nba or somthing

Decatur 4 Life

February 28th, 2013
9:36 am

Manny fresh

Good win last night but don’t get bent outta shape about someone scouting you guys, it’s all a part of the game no matter what sport. The only difference is in the state playoffs only one representative from each participating team can record the games, anybody additional has to get consent from the GHSA. How many times do you think Coach Crump has been to Columbia HS in the last 3 years, I can tell you plenty at least 5 times a year including this season. Anybody can get film on anybody thats just the business of it bottom line. That’s mean you’re doing something right when everybody wants to see you, good luck to yall I wanna see you guys beat em.

bmax

February 28th, 2013
11:10 am

@ manny fresh, nothing is wrong with scouting your opponent. you complain a lot..if ur so confident in South Atl…then hush and let the chips fall where they may

Eagles Fans

February 28th, 2013
11:17 am

congrats @manny fresh hey just get one more win and we can get it on one more time for everything, and don’t trip about them trying to watch you its part of the game like my homie said they always out at columbia and it hasnt helped them in past years against us,

G-dub

February 28th, 2013
11:43 am

Can’t believe someone is complaining about their team being scouted. I have scouted church league and rec teams. Scouting is as much of the game as anything. It is called PREPARATION!!!!!!!!!

THE FAN

February 28th, 2013
1:05 pm

It ok Manny fresh they can scout all they, but they still have to stop whatever we are doing!!!!!! I would hope Coach Riddick would at least have scouted them once. Either way we should be ok come Saturday.

Spider29

February 28th, 2013
3:07 pm

Congratulations to Coach Jason Slate and his Alexander team for a great season. I hate they ended up a little short of the state title but they played well all season.

Hubert Green

February 28th, 2013
4:55 pm

Has South Atlanta ever won a state title?

S. Thomas Coleman

February 28th, 2013
5:03 pm

@Hubert Green: Yes, in 2009. Should have had that in the article. Thanks for reading and posting.

S. Thomas Coleman

G-dub

February 28th, 2013
5:05 pm

Hubert Green…They won when Derrick Favors was there i think it was 2009

Big D

February 28th, 2013
10:00 pm

Scouting doesn’t mean anything just what happens on the court. Them boys out of Henry county on a mission to be the best in the State. The game never lies so stop all the talking. Tie up the shoes and game time at FT. Valley.

ShilohsFinest

March 1st, 2013
1:01 am

Eagles Landing/South Atlanta winner will beat Columbia/Statesboro in the final. Both Eagles Landing and South ATLANTA have complete and balanced teams where Columbia only has Tahj that is ready for this kind of competition. Good teams will not let him beat them by his self. Good luck to all 4 semi finalist, may the best team win it all.

Manny fresh

March 1st, 2013
10:27 am

I wasn’t saying scouting like that yea scouting is cool everybody scout but it is illegal to record another team playing another team when it’s not your team. They suppose to exchange tapes or somthing don’t they??

IDK

March 2nd, 2013
10:50 am

s@ Shilohsfinest; you can be quiet since you are sitting at home. You even recruited one of Columbia players to try captureing something Columbia have been during for years. So what if Tahj is doing more than his share. Eagle’s Landing and South Atl knows that they will have their hands full when Columbia make it back to the ship.