Archive for the ‘2ABlog’ Category

AA blog: GAC off to fast, impressive start following Arby’s Classic win

As any program coming off a state championship would, the Greater Atlanta Christian Spartans entered the 2013-14 season with high expectations. To date, they’ve fulfilled them as best as possible. They’re 15 games into the season and without a loss, and by far their most impressive wins came in Bristol, Tenn. over the Christmas holidays, where they went 4-0 in the 31st Annual Arby’s Classic.

The prestigious tournament featured 18 teams from five states and three countries, including the Bahamas and Germany – where the Classic’s defending state champion, Urspring hails from. GAC defeated the Bahamas team, Tabernacle Baptist, in the opening round 58-48, then Hamilton (Tenn.), 68-59. The Spartans’ stiffest challenge came in the semifinals against Oak Ridge (Tenn.) as they squeaked out a 46-42 victory before closing the tournament with a 63-56 win over Milton in the all-metro-Atlanta final.

“We really enjoyed the atmosphere,” Spartans coach Eddie Martin said. “It was unbelievable. …

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AA Blog: holiday hoops tournament recaps

Here are some notable performances from Class AA hoops teams who participated in tournaments over the Christmas holidays:

Boys

  • The Greater Atlanta Christian Spartans turned heads by winning the prestigious Arby’s Classic in Briston, Tenn., a tournament that featured 18 teams from five states and three countries. The Spartans went 4-0 in the tourney with wins over Tabernacle Baptist (Bahamas), Hamilton (Tenn.), Oak Ridge (Tenn.) and, in the all-Georgia championship game, defeated Milton of AAAAAA, 63-56. With the win, the defending state champion Spartans improved to 14-0.
  • The Dublin Fighting Irish won all three of their games in The Dublin High School Christmas Tournament they hosted, defeating two Miami schools – Central and Edison – and B.E.S.T. Academy of AAA. The wins moved the Fighting Irish to a 10-3 record.
  • The Calhoun Yellow Jackets moved to 10-0 and won the Medi-Thrift Pharmacy Christmas Classic at LaFayette, defeating host LaFayette 55-45 in the championship after …

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AA blog: Checking in on the girls’ side

A few girls hoops notes from around Class AA:

  • In Region 7, the Peperrell Lady Dragons may be emerging as the team to beat. They’re 10-0 including 4-0 in the region, with one of those region wins coming against Calhoun, another favorite to win the region. The Lady Dragons beat Calhoun 62-55 on Dec. 14, marking a vast improvement from last season when the Yellow Jackets went 2-0 against them, outscoring them a combined 108-88. The Lady Jackets are outscoring their opponents by an average 60-38 so far this season.
  • The Walnut Grove Christmas Tournament could feature an all-Class AA final between the Jefferson Lady Dragons of Region 8 and the Greater Atlanta Christian Lady Spartans of Region 6. Both teams are in the semifinals, where on Dec. 28 the Lady Dragons will play (8-4) will play Hilton Head (S.C.) and the Lady Spartans (7-3) take on George Walton Academy. The championship is slated for Dec. 30.
  • The Kendrick Lady Cherokees have improved to 8-0 after a 75-35 win over …

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AA blog: Checking in on the boys’ side

Happy Holidays to all! I know you’re busy opening gifts and spending time with family, so I’ll keep it short and sweet as we wait for basketball season to fully take off. A few notes in regards to Class AA:

  • The Dublin Fighting Irish out of Region 3 are off to a fast start at 7-3 as they host the Dublin High School Christmas Tournament, where teams from Florida, Georgia and Alabama converge starting Dec. 26 and ending Dec. 28. Participating teams include Dublin, East Laurens, Best Academy, Miami Edison (Fla.), Miami Central (Fla.), and Brewbaker Technology Magnet School (Ala.). The Fighting Irish take on Miami Central on Dec. 26, Best on Dec. 27 and Miami Edison on Dec. 28.
  • The Screven County Gamecocks – also out of Region 3 – nearly beat Class AAA’s Dodge County on Saturday in the East Georgia Christmas Tournament, but fell 54-53. Had they won, it would have ended a long losing streak that has instead been extended to 32 games. They’re 0-10 so far after finishing 0-22 last …

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AA blog: With Azar, Wesleyan’s sucess is not automatic – it’s systematic

Jan Azar could walk away from coaching today and she’d still be the most successful girls high school basketball coach in state history. As head coach at Wesleyan – her first and only head coaching gig – she’s led the Lady Wolves to 10 state titles in the last 12 seasons and they’re currently six-time defending champions, which ties a state record. Azar has more than 400 wins and was inducted into the Gwinnett County Sports Hall of Fame in 2012. Those accomplishments rarely come for any coach, and she’s already achieved them as she hits the prime of her career.

Fortunately for Wesleyan, Azar isn’t walking away any time soon.

But how does a coach sustain such a level of success? How does she keep her kids focused and from feeling like a state title automatically comes with playing for Wesleyan? Why has player turnover had no affect on the Lady Wolves’ historic title run?

“(Winning titles) is a good place to be and a hard place to be,” Azar said. “(Every year) they want to …

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AA blog: Girls hoops 2012-13 season recap

With basketball season about to kick into full gear, let’s recap last season in Class AA region-by-region on the girls side. Last week, the boys’ season was recapped.

Region 1

Teams: Berrien, Brooks County, Cook, Early County, Fitzgerald, Pelham, Thomasville

2012-13 region champion: Thomasville

2012-13 playoff teams: Thomasville, Pelham, Early County, Cook County

How the region fared in the playoffs: Thomasville advanced to the semifinals, where it lost to state-champion Wesleyan; Pelham advanced to the quarterfinals, losing to state runner-up Laney.

Region 2

Teams: Atkinson County, Bacon County, Benedictine, Bryan County, Jeff Davis, Long County, McIntosh Academy County, Metter, St. Vincent’s Academy, Toombs County, Vidalia

2012-13 region champion: McIntosh Academy County

2012-13 playoff teams: McIntosh Academy County, Jeff Davis, Vidalia, Toombs County

How the region fared in the playoffs: McIntosh reached the second round; no other team advanced.

Region 3

Teams: …

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AA blog: Boys hoops 2012-13 season recap

Football season is winding down and we are just days away from a champion being crowned in Class AA. However, basketball season is gearing up, so as we transition, Tuesday blogs will be dedicated to basketball for the remainder of the football state playoffs.

With basketball season about to kick into full gear, let’s recap last season in Class AA region-by-region on the boys side. Girls will be previewed next week.

Region 1

Teams: Berrien, Brooks County, Cook, Early County, Fitzgerald, Pelham, Thomasville

2012-13 region champion: Pelham

2012-13 playoff teams: Pelham, Early County, Thomasville, Cook County

How the region fared in the playoffs: Pelham was one of two No. 1 seeds to be eliminated in the first round of last year’s playoffs, falling 56-53 to Macon County. No team from Region 1 advanced past the second round.

Region 2

Teams: Atkinson County, Bacon County, Benedictine, Bryan County, Jeff Davis, Long County, McIntosh Academy County, Metter, St. Vincent’s Academy, …

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AA blog: What we learned Friday

Here’s what we learned Friday in Class AA:

Who will be crowned the 2013 Class AA champion?

  • Lovett
  • Lamar County

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  • The Lamar County Trojans have reached the state finals for the first time in school history, beating the Benedictine Cadets 10-7. The Trojans (14-0) trailed 7-0, but completed their rally of the Cadets (13-1) with a 24-yard field goal as time expired. Trojans coach Franklin Stephens is on the verge of repeating history. If Lamar County wins the state title, Stephens will again have brought a program its first-ever state title in just his second season coaching them. He coached the Tucker Tigers to a AAAA title in 2008 and the Tigers won another in ‘11 for a 15-0 season. For the Cadets, it was the first time they had been challenged this season. Heading into their game against the Trojans, no team had come closer than 21 points, and the Cadets had outscored their competition 613-81.
  • The Lovett Lions will meet the Trojans in …

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AA blog: What to look for Friday

Here’s what to look for Friday in Class AA:

What will be the finals matchup?

  • Lamar County-Lovett
  • Lamar County-Brooks County
  • Lovett-Benedictine
  • Brooks County-Benedictine

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  • A pair of 13-0 teams from the left side of the state playoffs bracket will meet in the semifinals when the No. 1-ranked Lamar County Trojans host the No. 6-ranked Benedictine Cadets. Both the Trojans and Cadets are No. 1 seeds and the Trojans won the coin flip that determined home-field advantage. With the game in Barnesville, the Cadets will make a three-hour, 200-mile commute from Savannah to play the first semifinal game in school history. Last week, the Cadets defeated Calhoun 35-14 in what was actually their closest game of the season. The Trojans are in the state semifinals for the second time in school history – and second year in a row – but have never reached the finals. They defeated defending …

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AA blog: Basketball season underway

Football season is winding down and we are two weeks away from a champion being crowned in Class AA. However, basketball season is gearing up, so as we transition, Tuesday blogs will be dedicated to basketball for the remainder of the football state playoffs.

  • While teams have been allowed to play regular season basketball games since Nov. 9, there are still plenty of teams yet to play a game – likely because a lot of those schools have key players on the football team. However, there are several teams that have already played multiple games, including Thanksgiving holiday tournaments. The GHSA allows teams to play 25 regular season games.
  • On the boys’ side, the defending state champion Greater Atlanta Christian Spartans are already 4-0 and have yet to be challenged. Most recently, they defeated Collins Hill 70-53 in the Jared Cook Tip-Off Classic at North Gwinnett. The Spartans have outscored their competition 316-216 for a 25-point margin of victory average. They are sure to …

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AA blog: What we learned Friday

Here’s what we learned Friday in Class AA:

Who are you more impressed with? Benedictine or Lamar County?

  • Lamar County
  • Benedictine
  • See you in the finals

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  • And then there were four. The Lamar County Trojans, Benedictine Cadets, Lovett Lions and Brooks County Trojans have reached the semifinals.
  • Lamar County – the state’s top-ranked team – pulled away from defending state-champion Jefferson 35-24. The Trojans (13-0) are in the semifinals for the second year in a row. They’ll face the also-undefeated Cadets. The Trojans are coached by Franklin Stephens, who looks to repeat history by delivering the first state title to a program in his second season of coaching them. In his second year at Tucker, he led the Tigers to a Class AAAA title in 2008. He coached them to a second title in 2011, then departed for Lamar County the following season.
  • The Cadets (13-0) are also in the semifinals for the first time in school history. …

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AA blog: What to look for Friday

Here’s what to look for Friday in Class AA:

Who will win the Calhoun-Benedictine game?

  • Benedictine
  • Calhoun

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  • Through 12 games, the No. 6-ranked Benedictine Cadets have yet to be challenged. That is sure to change this week when they host the No. 5-ranked Calhoun Yellow Jackets, who have reached the state finals the last five seasons. The Cadets already have luck on their side, having won the coin toss that must be made when two No. 1 seeds meet, so they get to avoid the four-hour, 41-minute and 320-mile bus ride that Calhoun will have to make. The closest game Benedictine has played this season was a 39-6 win over Bryan County. Benedictine has outscored its competition 578-67 and have pitched five shutouts, including three straight to close out the regular season. The Cadets beat their two playoff opponents – Macon County and Fitzgerald – a combined 114-19. Benedictine hasn’t been undefeated this late in the season since 1982.
  • The …

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AA blog: Here’s what we learned Friday

Here’s what we learned Friday in Class AA:

  • The No. 5-ranked Calhoun Yellow Jackets’ hopes of reaching the state finals for a sixth consecutive season are still in tact after they hosted and edged the No. 3-ranked Greater Atlanta Christian Spartans, 31-30. The Spartans missed what would have been a game-winning 26-yard field goal as time expired. The Yellow Jackets (11-1) will now play the No. 6-ranked Benedictine Cadets (12-0), one of two remaining teams with an undefeated record. The Cadets have yet to be challenged thus far in the playoffs, outscoring their opponents 113-19 in the first two rounds, including a 52-7 second-round win over Fitzgerald.
  • Two No. 1 seeds were eliminated Friday. The previously undefeated and No. 4-ranked Washington-Wilkes Tigers were absolutely stunned by the  unranked Bowdon Red Devils, a No. 2 seed from Region 5. It was only last season that the Tigers defeated the Red Devils, 66-28, in the first round. The Red Devils (11-1) ended the Tigers’ …

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AA blog: Here’s what to look for Friday

Here’s what to look for Friday in Class AA:

Who will win the GAC-Calhoun game?

  • GAC
  • Calhoun

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  • It’s only the second round, but already there’s a major showdown. The No. 5-ranked Calhoun Yellow Jackets will host the No. 3 Greater Atlanta Christian Spartans, with the winner likely advancing all the way to the semifinals to face No. 1-ranked Lamar County. According to GHSFHA.org, the Yellow Jackets and Spartans have only played twice, with both contests coming in the second round of the state playoffs. The Yellow Jackets hosted both games, with the Spartans winning 41-38 in 2002 and 26-7 in 2007. Calhoun is a 1-seed, GAC a 2-seed.
  • All eight No. 1 seeds are still alive, but will all make it out of the second round? Aside from GAC-Calhoun, another matchup to watch will be the No. 9-ranked Vidalia Indians at the Laney Wildcats. Vidalia – a 2-seed – made easy work of its first round opponent, Taylor County, winning 52-7. Laney, on the other …

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AA blog: Boys basketball – teams to watch

When looking for teams to watch this basketball season in Class AA, an obvious choice is the Greater Atlanta Christian Spartans. They are the defending national champions hailing from Region 6, having defeated Bleckley County last year, 69-52, in the finals. The win capped a 29-3 season for the Spartans. In a broader context, it was their third state title in four seasons.

Will GAC repeat as state champs?

  • Yes
  • No

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Having only lost two seniors from last season’s roster and with almost all significant contributors returning (Troy Morrison, Cam Boyd, Isaiah Wilkins and Justin Lewis, to name a few), the Spartans are a natural choice to win it all again this year. Working in their favor is incredible depth that helped them wear teams down during last year’s title run.

They’ve already played two games this season and have won both. They defeated A’s King Ridge Christian, 83-67, and made easy work of Eagles Landing – last season’s AAAA state …

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