Class AA boys: GAC 69, Bleckley County 52

Macon – The Greater Atlanta Christian boys had been in a few battles like this. They had already endured one of the most ambitious schedules in the state. So when Bleckley County erased a big lead, made a run and tied the game late in the third quarter, the Spartans never blinked. The result was a 69-52 win in the Class AA championship game.

Bleckley tied the game 40-40, much to the delight of the partisan, purple-clad fans from nearby Cochran that flooded the Macon Coliseum. GAC just kept grinding, kept scoring and kept denying and wound up outscoring the Royals 29-12 the rest of the way.

“We weren’t going to be denied,” said GAC guard Collin Swinton, one of only two seniors on the roster. “We had worked too hard and been through too much.”

It is the third championship in four seasons for No. 1-ranked GAC, which has been motivated since its untimely exit in the second round a year ago. The Spartans (29-3) have now won six championships. No. 9 Bleckley County (28-4) was making its first trip to the championship game.

GAC’s depth was simply too much for Bleckley. The Spartans had five players score in double figures: Troy Morrison with 17, Cam Boyd with 13, Isaiah Wilkins with 12, Justin Lewis with 11 and Swinton with 10. Wilkins had 12 rebounds and four assists and Morrison added eight assists.

“This is a very unselfish team,” said GAC coach Eddie Martin. “They really play for each other.”

Bleckley County was led by Rydealous Taylor with 20 points and seven rebounds and Demario Beck with 14 points and nine rebounds. Taylor made five of his team’s eight 3-pointers.

The first quarter belonged to GAC from the opening tip. Boyd stroked a 3-pointer to start the scoring and Wilkins scored six of the next eight points as the Spartans started with an 11-2 lead. Bleckley missed seven of its first eight shots and was denied any rhythm by the GAC defense, until the Royals made a couple of short jumpers late to cut GAC’s lead to 14-8 after one period.

GAC grew its lead to 21-11 before Bleckley found its stride. The Royals went on a 11-1 run and tied it on Beck’s 3-pointer with 59 seconds left in the half. GAC took a 24-22 lead into the break when Swinton hit a pair of free throws.

Bleckley came out firing in the third quarter, making five of its first seven shots. The Royals surged ahd 30-26 on a pair of 3-pointers by Taylor. The senior went on to make four treys in the period. But it wasn’t enough to keep GAC at bay. Led by Lewis, who scored three baskets in the final three minutes, the Spartans took a 44-40 lead into the fourth period.

GAC kept its momentum going by outscoring Bleckley 12-2 to open the fourth quarter. By the time the Spartans opened a double-digit lead at 52-42 with 5:43, they were content to be more patient on offense. It resulted in a basket by Swinton following a series of nice passes and a pair of free throws from Morrison after he was hacked under the basket.

Bleckley County (52): D’Andre Pitts 2, Rydealous Taylor 20, Demario Beck 14, Savon Walters 4, Jaderrick Farrow 9, Trinity Gilbert 1, Shunkendrick Brown 2.

GAC (69): Justin Lewis 11, Troy Morrison 17, Collin Swinton 10, Cam Boyd 13, Isaiah Wilkins 12, Garrett Covington 2, Tyler Hamilton 2, Charles Botchway 2

Halftime: GAC 24-22

28 comments Add your comment

Pope UGA XXIII

March 8th, 2013
10:26 pm

Proud to be a GAC parent of 2 graduates. Guess what will happen next year ?

Tom

March 8th, 2013
11:50 pm

Another example of the playing field not being level. All public schools should protest until private schools are put into a separate catagory. The private schools are winning the majority of all state championships. This is not fair.

Hubert Green

March 9th, 2013
12:29 am

Wait until you see GAC next year!

Pope UGA XXIII

March 9th, 2013
12:59 am

@ Tom. GAC lost two top players > one transferred to Buford last
year, and this year’s top scorer I believe sat due to grades.
If you really believe that top public school programs don’t have the
welcome mat out for transfers, let me know what the Easter bunny
brought you.
“This isn’t fair” comes from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue a lot so
tell us how fair you think that is. Crybaby

Hoopscoop

March 9th, 2013
7:07 am

Maybe they should have 384 divisions so every team wins the state title. State championships are diluted enough. You must be the parents that started the participation trophy campaign. Should every private school be forced to be the same size too?

hoops fan

March 9th, 2013
7:16 am

Private schools should have to at least play in one class bigger, bring back the multiplyer rule…Majority of private schools rule in the lower classes simply because the rural counties simply cant go and pick up the “stud players” that lives in other counties …… Not a hater, enjoy watching some of these teams like GAC play ball, all i say is make them play up

devildad19

March 9th, 2013
7:22 am

is the playing feild level in any sport this is why you have winners and losers with ghsa dont ask dont tell policy on trasnfers every program in ga. has the exact same oppurtunity to win it just depends on your coaching and how attractive you make your program to the elite players
(scholarships , national tournaments , uniforms, travel, and coaching) stop crying and get your boster club and school board to open there wallets and see what happens for your program.

devildad19

March 9th, 2013
7:27 am

@hoops fan good point but it would be fair to the smaller private schools who dont recruit but i do belive ga should have a champions divison which certains teams are drafted into based on there dominance in a sport nomater the classifacation just the best of the best playing for a championchip

north ga granny

March 9th, 2013
7:43 am

Small rural pubic can not recruit because the distance for anybody to travel would be to great.

biglefty

March 9th, 2013
7:49 am

@Pope Small rural schools have a fifth of the number of kids to pull from that GAC and other private schools pull from. The multiplier rule worked but the GHSA in their infinite wisdom pulled it. GAC and others need to put on their big boy pants and go play teams that pull from the same talent pool as them. I find it funny schools founded on Christian principles have no problem living in the gray area of the rulebook. Don’t worry, GAC is not alone as this is the case all across the country with these private Christian schools that recruit to dominate sports. By the way, I’m a Christian so I am not a religion basher!!!

Hubert Green

March 9th, 2013
9:22 am

GAC returns every player but two next year; and only lose one starter. Cameron Boyd is just a sophomore.

Dirk

March 9th, 2013
11:04 am

1) GAC does not give scholarships. This is a fact – not an assumption. Some private schools do, GAC doesn’t.
2) GAC does not recruit. There facilities are incredible, they’re located .5 miles from I-85, they’re 20 minutes from downtown Atlanta, they’re in one of, if not the best county in the state, there academics are on another level, and they are relatively inexpensive when compared to other Atlanta area private schools.
3) This is not some “rich white kids” private school like many think. The halls in school are filled with every race, ethnicity, color, etc… that you can think of.
4) This team isn’t filled with D1 transfers. They had zero transfers this year and only 1 player on the team hasn’t been their since 9th grade.
5) They have a coach that’s not too far off from winning 700 games. He puts them in big national tournaments, plays a tough non-region schedule, knows college coaches from all levels, and gets them mentally and physically ready to play at the next level. He doesn’t just “roll the ball out” like some do. Coaching matters.
6) Their students grow up in a Christian environment. This is more important than any of the other things I’ve said. Yes, they have kids that do bad things and adults as well. It’s called being a sinner. Only 1 person ever walked this earth that wasn’t a sinner and that’s the very person that these kids learn about and are taught to strive to be more like every day.
7)Nobody ever complains about the bad private school teams…only the good ones that win. Magnet schools and city schools have unfair advantages and without the high tuition.
8) Life’s not fair and never will be.

Congrats to GAC on their championship and congrats to Bleckley County for an outstanding season.

Tom

March 9th, 2013
11:44 am

@PopeUGAXXIII; Transfering into a public school must be justified with a bonafide resident address in that particular school zone. A kid can not live in one school zone and attend school and play sports in another different school zone. That rule does not apply to private schools. That is the point I was making about the playing field is not level which gives private schools the advantage. Check out the GHSA policy on transfers so you will know what you are talking about.

Dirk

March 9th, 2013
12:14 pm

If you transfer into a private school you still have to move. You can’t just leave a school and enroll at a private school and be eligible. Your options of where you can live are bigger but the expense of moving is still there.

Small town raised

March 9th, 2013
2:53 pm

I grew up near Cochran and keep up with Georgia High School from afar. Smaller towns have to win the genetic lottery to go very far in the state playoffs. It was Bleckley County’s first time ever in the Championship. This is a county that has been around since 1915. Schools like GAC and Buford and other schools (however you might want to justify it) have a yearly unfair advantage by virtue of the Atlanta Metro Population is over 5 million people which is more than the rest of the entire state combined. It’s math and access. Yes, a kid has to live in a certain jurisdiction (right?) but seriously, what kid is going to leave Norcross for Cochran. Come on. I ask the fans of the big city schools to try and put yourself in the shoes of the kids and families of these small town/county schools who make it all the way to the championship maybe once a generation, or in the case of Bleckley County, once a century. And they play against these farm system schools who are national teams really. As opposed to having this totally uplifting, unifying experience, they can’t help but feel it was never about true and fair competition. This glorious once in a lifetime (or two) experience will always be accompanied with a bitter pill. Enjoy your nearly yearly glory but it surely isn’t God’s.

biglefty

March 9th, 2013
3:18 pm

@Dirk You want to tell me with a straight face Caleb King didn’t get recruited or helped with tuition at GAC or that his brother was deserving of being hired as a coach at GAC?

Hubert Green

March 9th, 2013
3:29 pm

Come on folks; Milton obviously was the only school to have undue influence on players; that’s why the players who transferred were found to have made a bonafide move. And they were certainly given scholarships since it’s a public school. What did Milton have to offer? I will say a possible solution in just basketball is to have a super league based on your success and transfers, starting with 9th graders.

W

March 9th, 2013
6:11 pm

Outside of GAC winning AA, and then A already being split anyway, which pretty much guarantees a Private school wins anyway (AND A PUBLIC SCHOOL DOES TOO), not ONE other private school made it past the Elite 8 in any classification (on the boys side). I do not remember a private school football team playing in the State final in AA-AAAA (exclude 5A and 6A because no private schools are that big) either. A is already split, and it doesn’t seem like Private schools in AA-AAAA are winning ALL the state titles so far this year. Wrestling went to Publics across the board. GAC is the only Private school winner in bball looking at AA-AAAA. Football had no Private winners at all outside the sure thing in A. Softball was pretty much sweep by Public schools in AA-AAAA. I think the multiplier should come back, and we should go back to 5 classes.

Public schools need to SUE GHSA

March 9th, 2013
7:11 pm

I for one am TIRED of our public schools playing these private schools, they have the cards stacked against us, if there is a LAW SUIT filed include me in on the petition. These private schools KNOW they can dominate our public schools it’s time for this to STOP. I am going to personally call GHSA next week, then if what I hear isn’t what I want to hear, I am going to start the petition in Augusta, GA about this LOPSIDED mess. GAC, Wesleyan all those schools need to be playing each other. TIME OUT of this CRAP.

Kevin

March 10th, 2013
1:47 pm

It doesn’t really matter what GAC does or does not do. They better be counting their blessings that Jordan had a bad game against Bleckley so they didnt have to play them.

Pope UGA XXIII

March 10th, 2013
4:32 pm

Good points made by Dirk and Tom also has a correct statement on
having to relocate either for public or private schools. From a scheduling
standpoint, GAC played 9 games against Georgia teams AAAA or higher
along with 2 holiday tourney games aginst strong Alabama teams. This
team is always ready come tournament time and plays under control at all
times. I’m not saying they would have beaten either Johnson or Savannah
in the AAA championship, but it would have been interesting.
As far as Caleb King goes, give it a rest – that’s nearly 5 years old, and
most folks don’t seem to recall that he also moved from Columbia over to
Parkview in the 8th or 9th grade.

biglefty

March 11th, 2013
8:50 am

@Pope, Caleb was five years ago but you claimed in your post GAC NEVER recruits??? How did Caleb end up at GAC? Did he pay his own tuition and how did his brother get a coaching job there without a degree?????

Walker, Texas Ranger

March 11th, 2013
9:32 am

Funny to hear the private school b.s. Nobody recruits more than city schools like Buford, Gainesville, Calhoun, etc. If private schools have to play up, then every school that has a kid transfer would have to play up. You see transfers more at the above mentioned schools, plus the 6A Powers like Wheeler, Norcross and Milton (RIP David Boyd) Boyd recruited at every school he was at (Tucker, Berkmar & Milton) Funny how all those schools never won again after he left but they were not private schools either. In almost every case, the private school kids are there prior to 9th grade and end up losing their studs to the Public Schools. Now go pick up your free phone whiners.

Dirk

March 11th, 2013
2:22 pm

Caleb King??? What year is this? Was he a basketball player? Whens the last time GAC won a football championship? (I honestly don’t know – maybe they never have??? I have no idea) What I do know is that King had to leave Parkview because he wasn’t going to be able to pass all of the GA high school graduation tests. GAC isn’t required to give those. I don’t know about his brother either but you don’t have to be a teacher to be a coach. It’s called being a community coach and you take classes and get certified to do that. But I still don’t know what that has to do with anything now. And once again, nobody is complaining about the schools who lost. Just the winners, of course.

biglefty

March 11th, 2013
2:52 pm

@ Walker, gotta love the snob factor you elite private school pricks have sometimes! Not every one in the rural parts of the state is unemployed and living off the government! Actually a good many of us don’t believe in government wiping their tail! I agree with you about the city schools and they do recruit just like the privates but at least most of them play in 5A or 6A except for the wimps in Buford and a few others.

@ Dirk, I know what a community coach is and I know about Caleb and the grades but the original poster claimed GAC never gave schollys and recruited. I am pretty sure Caleb throws a wrench in that claim!!! I don’t like any recruiting in high school sports and think it is very sad that people take pride in the win at all cost plan some private and public high schools use.to have the best team!!!

athensbball

March 11th, 2013
3:16 pm

i dont mind anything GAC’s basketball program does. I think that kids choose to go there instead of being recurited. we hear the same crap at athens christian all the time too. parents and kids will find winning programs. period. you want kids to transfer to your school year after year? then win more!! the only issue i have with GAC is the fact they are still in AA. Everytime i go by their school they are adding classrooms and buildings but yet they always seem to stay a few kids under the maximum enrollment for AA. I agree that private schools should play up a class. I hope Athens Christian goes up to AA.

athensbball

March 11th, 2013
3:21 pm

And as far as recruiting goes in atlanta…AAU and AAU coaches are more responsible for that than anyone. high school coaches arent even half of the problem. these kids watch Lebron wus out and go team up with other players and they wanna be like them so maybe one day they will have big rims and a fancy car.

Private school play up a class.

March 11th, 2013
9:15 pm

@public school you have my vote.. Take Gordon Lee Class A Girls Public Champs what a story. Do you think they would have had a chance against ST.Francis or SACA ? NOOOOO. I feel sorry for Thomasville girls a 49 points loss to Wesleyan.Wesleyan has a great coach but she couldn”t win like that at a public school in AA or A. EARLY CO. Girls the last public school to win a championship in AA in 2003. All i”m saying private school play up…AAA or higher