Basketball is a game of runs, you must make them and withstand them.
Harrison used an 11-0 run in the first quarter behind 10 points from junior Audrey Jordan to lead Tucker 15-5 after a quarter of play. Tucker could never get going in the first half suffering from poor shooting and turnovers. Sydnee Wiggins’ three-pointer capped a 7-0 run giving the Lady Hoyas their biggest lead of the game 22-8 with 4:23 left in the second quarter. Tucker would fight back and close the half with a 6-0 spurt and trailed 22-14 at halftime.
In the third quarter behind seniors Bria Bass, Jermese Davis and Morgan Collins, Tucker pulled to within one point twice during a 13-3 run and trailed 29-28 with 2:30 remaining. Per the theme of this contest the Lady Hoyas withstood that run and finished the third quarter on a 6-0 run to lead 35-28.
In the final frame Harrison (24-5) held Tucker (22-7) to only seven points and never allowed the Lady Tigers closer than six points to prevail in the scrappy contest 43-35.
Audrey Jordan led Harrison with 15 points, Sydnee Wiggins tallied 11 while Raicheal Tringali chipped in 10.
“Audrey is a trooper, she’s a future college player. She can play outside she can play inside She is almost always good for a double-double but tonight she figured out that she was able to get around her defender early and kept taking the ball to the basket and getting good looks,” Harrison head coach Steve Lanahan said about the junior’s quick start.
Wiggins missed 12 games this season due to a left foot injury. In her first game back in the region tournament she suffered a right foot injury and is playing at less than full strength.
“It’s tough because we have to play (Wiggins) but we also have to rest her. She isn’t getting a lot of reps in practice, for the last week she has just been watching, walking around and shooting on the side,” Lanahan said. “When healthy she is good for about 20 points but we have her on the floor because of her basketball IQ. We don’t need her to score because we have other people that can do that but she is smart, can handle the ball, find the open man and knows how to pick off passes even at fifty percent.”
Bria Bass led Tucker with 13 points while Jermese Davis put in 10. Morgan Collins chipped in seven in the loss.
The state tournament opened Saturday night on the McEachern campus with the girls and boys winning in decisive fashion. Both teams were playing at-large teams from the 7A classification.
Lyndsey Whilby scored 14 while Que Morrison netted 10, Jewell Smalls finished with 12 and Allison Burke put in 11 as McEachern (22-6) defeated South Gwinnett (17-8) 68-35. The Lady Indians had command of the basketball game from the beginning and led 45-17 at intermission. McEachern will host North Forsyth Thursday in the 7A Sweet 16. North Forsyth (21-7) defeated Parkview 45-26 in the first round.
On the boys side McEachern (27-0) defeated Mill Creek (13-13) 89-55 in the first round of the state tournament. Isaac Okoro finished with 28 points while Sharife Cooper tallied 18 and defensive ace Babtunde Akingbola chipped in 11. The Indians will host Lambert Thursday in the 7A Sweet 16. Lambert (24-4) outlasted Meadowcreek 72-70 in the first round.
Hours after laying to rest former Cedar Shoals standout basketball and football player Quentin Moses- who also starred locally at the University of Georgia and in the NFL with the Oakland Raiders and Miami Dolphins, the Jaguars advanced to the class 5A Sweet 16 with a wire-to-wire victory over Maynard Jackson.
“Today was a very an emotional day, I didn’t know it was going to hit me like it hit me.” Cedar Shoals head coach L’Dreco Thomas said afterwards. “I made my guys aware of the importance and the way Quentin played and the kind of person he was. I told them we were going to represent Quentin in the way he wanted us to play. The last conversation I had with Quentin he said ‘you gonna keep bowing out in the final four or are you going to go ahead and win that thang’ and that was in January. He was trying to tell me I had the tools and to go ahead and get it done.”
Cedar Shoals entered the floor for pregame warmups donning shooting shirts paying tribute to Moses with his basketball No. 44 on the back .
Stavion Stevenson got the ball rolling early for the the Jaguars with nine first quarter points. Stevenson finished with 15 of his game-high 24 points in the first half. Phlandrous Fleming was the only other Jaguar in double figures with 11. Snipe Hall finished with nine while A.J. Jones and Damarrea Lowe each chipped in eight points. The Jaguars led by as many as 20 points and never trailed in the 64-47 state tournament opener.
“I thought Stavion played an outstanding game. All the shots he took were right within the course of what we do and he was hot. The biggest thing he did tonight was play defense on (JaQuavis Hayes). He understood the scouting report, frustrated (Hayes), denied (Hayes) and did everything he could could tonight, he was amazing defensively,” Thomas said.
Stevenson held Hayes well below his average of over 22 points-per-game. Hayes finished with 11 points, seven in the fourth quarter when the game was out of reach for Maynard Jackson.
Maynard Jackson (19-9) was led by Marquavis Carter’s 20 points. Keshun Byrd tallied 13 to go with Hayes’ 11.
Cedar Shoals (24-4) will travel to Stateboro (19-9) Thursday night in Sweet 16 action. Statesboro is the Region 2-5A champions and defeated Jones County 63-50 in the first round.
The McEachern Indians are 26-0, the only undefeated 7A team in Georgia entering state tournament play this weekend. McEachern burst onto the national scene and got the attention of many within the state of Georgia with four wins in four days at the Tournament of Champions at Wheeler (GA) high school in late December.
The Indians defeated known powers Thomas Jefferson, NY (defending NY 2A champs), Scotlandville, LA (led by top prospect Javonte Smart) and Oak Ridge (FL) before handling state business over host Wheeler (GA) in the finals. The following Monday they were a top ten nationally in the rankings. McEachern has held firm in the top ten national rankings and a top two spot in most state polls since.
McEachern’s rise surprised some and not others depending on who you ask and who covers basketball.
The Indians’ youth had been a major thing that has gone against them within the state of Georgia. Nationally their play is what shot them up the rankings. State people didn’t understand but for years this site has shown you state borders must be broken.
McEachern goes 8 to 12 deep and maybe beyond. The Indians are versatile, interchangeable and can win ballgames at multiple paces while finishing their defense with rebounding.
Outside of a scrimmage loss to Newton, McEachern has withstood all. The Georgia 7A brackets are out and if both advance to the semifinals they would meet at a neutral site.
McEachern boys have never won a basketball championship in Georgia, never finished a season undefeated and are looking at a historic result no matter when their season ends. In the locker room on the other side of campus the McEachern girls are gunning for their fourth in five seasons and fifth overall.
“Well they have four, we don’t have any,” McEachern boys head coach Mike Thompson said.
“The boys, they remind me a lot of my 33-0 state champ team in 2012. They go above and beyond what is expected. They put in countless hours in the gym and that’s why they are where they are today,” McEachern girls head coach Phyllis Arthur responded when asked about the recent boys success.
Sophomore Isaac Okoro and freshman Sharife Cooper are the leaders for the Indians, but the supporting cast provides the solid backbone.
Valuable contributors whether starting or off bench are Tre Peoples, Brandon Suggs, Babatunde Akingbola, Devin Gordon and Tyler Willoughby are just a few that solidify McEachern’s depth.
“First and foremost they don’t mind giving up the basketball. This team has an air of unselfishness that makes us better. Our bench doesn’t care about coming off the bench. (Isaac) Okoro and (Sharife) Coop (Cooper) with the way they play are a big part of that and Stretch (Babtunde Akingbola) leads us defensively, he give us the ability to take chances,” Thompson said.
McEachern’s path begins with a home tilt against at-large berth Mill Creek, a 13-12 team who got hot late in the year but lost in the region tournament quarterfinals. The Hawks are gunning for an upset however pulling it off would be a tall feat. Mill Creek does not play at the level of McEachern, upsetting McEachern would only hurt the state of Georgia nationally.
McEachern is young and that youth has hidden yet public basketball experience. In 2017 basketball experience is overlooked.
“We started a guy in the region tournament who had not started all year and only played limited minutes all season, he continued to compete in practice, got the nod and will play in state,” Thompson added.
McEachern did not leave the state this season but posted a 3-0 record against out-of-state opponents.
“The state (Georgia) is well equipped with talented teams. There are at least ten teams that can win it in our class (7A). We wanted to schedule non-Georgia teams and tried to schedule them but it did not work out this year. I knew going into the Tournament of Champions at Wheeler we’d get tested and we did, that Scotlandville team gave us all we could handle,” Thompson stated. “I think we’ve put ourselves in position going into state to remain in the conversation.”
McEachern may not finish higher than where they are nationally (6th in Max Preps) unless a lot happens and that’s ok. The four-time champ ladies were undefeated and finished second nationally a few years back but that crew set off what currently is happening at McEachern. The boys are seeking to compete on the Powder Springs campus.
State tournament games against Wheeler, Newton/Westlake and either Norcross or Pebblebrook or longshots Collins Hill/Campbell/Hillgrove in the watered down Georgia playoffs few get to experience this kind of fun.
Fun is exactly what coach Mike Thompson is experiencing in his 10th season heading the boys hoop program at McEachern. That does not bode well for the rest of 7A Georgia. This “young bunch” accepts nothing less than winning.
The Cedar Shoals Jaguars (23-4) will open the 2017 state playoffs at home against another set of Jaguars from Maynard Jackson-Atlanta (19-8) Saturday afternoon at 5pm. Cedar Shoals is seeking its first ever state championship in boys basketball and first basketball championship since 1992 when the Lady Jaguars won it all.
Region 8-5A player of the year Phlandrous Fleming (Charleston Southern) is the driving force behind the second-ranked Jaguars. Fleming is averaging just over 23 points and 10 rebounds this season. Seniors Quenjarvis ‘Snipe’ Hall, Stavion Stevenson (Savannah State for football), A.J. Jones and Damerrea Lowe will play key supporting roles for a team that has reached the semifinals each of the two previous seasons. Tyquon Mitchell and Darien Appling provide solid minutes off the bench.
Cedar Shoals head coach L’Dreco Thomas has guided the Jaguars to the state tournament for the fifth time in his seven seasons and has won three region titles (2012, 2015, 2016) during that span.
“When you go to the state tournament everybody’s record is clean, everybody is 0-0. It doesn’t matter what your seed is at some point you will have to beat the next opponent no matter who they are and what seed they are,” Thomas said.
Three of Cedar Shoals’ losses came to region foe Buford (top-ranked team in 5A; Region 8-5A champs) with their only other loss coming at Duluth (Region 6-7A three-seed) in overtime in early December.
“Cedar is a very very good team, they are well coached, they play hard together and I told our team before the game that Cedar has the talent to win it all this year,” Buford head coach Eddie Martin said after defeating Cedar Shoals in the region championship game last week. Martin has won seven state championships at Norcross and Greater Atlanta Christian combined and is seeking to win his a state championship at his third school.
“I told the team that we had to put Buford behind us- all three games, that we had to be like horses and wear blinders and look ahead and that’s what we are going to do. We are going to focus on the next opponent and the next opponent only, Maynard Jackson is our next opponent,” Cedar Shoals head coach L’Dreco Thomas said.
The Jaguars did not play an out-of-state team this season due to scheduling difficulties however Thomas feels the regular season schedule they played has prepared them for the state tournament.
“When you go to the state tournament everybody’s record is clean, everybody is 0-0. It doesn’t matter what your seed is at some point you will have to beat the next opponent no matter who they are and what seed they are.”
“I think we played a lot of tournament caliber teams all season and at the end of the day we played some top notch teams and I think that has prepared us for the stretch run and state tournament,” Thomas stated.
Cedar enters the tournament with noteable wins over Etowah (Region 4-7A champs), Stephenson (Region 6-6A champs), Heritage-Conyers (Region 6-6A runner up) and a pair of victories over Morgan County (Region 8-3A champ). In an expanded but weakened playoff field this season due to expansion of classifications in Georgia, that’s a solid resume without playing an out-of-state team.
Jackson-Atlanta is led by senior JaQuavius Hayes, juniors Marquvis Carter and Keshun Byrd. Hayes leads the Jaguars in scoring at just above 21 points while Carter and Byrd each are averaging double figure points this season.
Jackson-Atlanta finished third in Region 6-5A after defeating Lithia Springs for the second time this season in the region 6-5A tournament. The Jaguars have played in close games all season losing by one point to Riverwood (Region 6-5A runner-up) and Henry County (Region 4-4A champs) while defeating Carver-Atlanta (Region 6-5A champs) and Stockbridge by two points.
The winner will face the winner of Jones County/Statesboro in the second round next week.
Cedar Shoals will hold a moment of silence after the national anthem to honor the life of Quentin Moses. Moses passed away earlier this week in a house fire along with two other people in Walton County (GA). Moses lettered in basketball at Cedar Shoals but is most known for his football accomplishments at Cedar Shoals, The University of Georgia and in the NFL with the Oakland Raiders and Miami Dolphins. Moses was currently serving as a defensive line coach at Reinhardt College upon his passing.
Total Sports Coverage will provide live audio broadcast coverage beginning at 4:45 pm leading up the scheduled 5pm tip. Joel Hillsman, a Cedar Shoals graduate, has worked in the sports broadcasting for over eight years covering the NBA, NCAA, MLB, minor league football, national high school basketball and football, Georgia championships in football, baseball, soccer and lacrosse for multiple outlets will be the play-by-play announcer for this broadcast.
The Cedar Shoals Jaguars defeated Loganville 89-37 Friday on senior night to finish the regular season 21-3 overall and 10-2 in Georgia region 8-5A. It’s the fourth time in seven seasons under head coach L’Dreco Thomas Cedar Shoals has posted a 20-plus win season.
Cedar Shoals used a 33-1 third quarter to blow open the game. Phanldrous Fleming notched a game-high 18 points. A.J. Jones tallied 16 while Stavion Stevenson and Akeem Glenn (football QB) put 13 points apiece in the book.
Cedar Shoals will be the two-seed entering the region 8-5A tournament and will host the semifinals and finals next Friday and Saturday in Athens. The Jaguars will open against seven-seed Johnson-Gainesville Tuesday at Cedar Shoals.
Thomas has racked up 138 wins, two region championships and two Final Four appearances in his seven seasons.
Cedar Shoals has lost in the semifinals the last two seasons by a combined three points to Brunswick (won state title) and Allatoona (lost to Miller Grove in state finals)
Phlandrous Fleming (Charleston Southern) led the Jaguars in scoring during the regular season with 20.9ppg while grabbing 8.1 points a game. Snipe Hall (13.7ppg) and Stavion Stevenson (11.2ppg, 6.8rpg) , Jaivanni McDavid , Damaerra Lowe and A.J. Jones have provided depth throughout the season. Tyquon Mitchell and Darien Appling have played their roles well when their numbers have been called while Glenn is an experienced senior that will called upon more in the postseason.
The task is in front of the Jaguars, championship or rebuild. That may mean beating Buford a couple of times but at least once in the next month.
Cedar Shoals senior Phlandrous Fleming (Charleston Southern) is one of 19 seniors nominated for the senior dunk contest at the 2017 Underclassmen All-American Game.
Fleming is in a field which includes the likes of McDonald’s All-Americans Collin Sexton and MJ Walker, highlight reel dunkers, Isaiah Miller, Jordan Usher and Chris Ramsey.
The All-American Game will be held March 26th at Wheeler high school’s Wildcat Arena featuring two games, one called the Select game and the other the National game. The all-Senior dunk contest will take place between the Select and National games and will only feature seniors from the Atlanta metro area. All Metro Hoops Southeast Analyst Jarrod Lindsey (@AllMetroHoopsJ) is the driving force behind the dunk contest.
The games will feature some of the top underclassmen in the country from Christian Brown, D.J. Jefferies and Charles Bassey.
Cedar Shoals is currently 20-3 this season and are currently ranked No.2 in Class 5A in both major Georgia rankings. Fleming- who surpassed 1,000 points earlier this season- leads the Jaguars in scoring at just over 22 points a game and is second in rebounding at just over ten boards a game.
Below is the poll where you can vote. Voting ends Tuesday February 7th. The top six players with the most votes will be invited.
Dr. Phil is back on the bench and as the calendar turns to February the Eagles are beginning to hit their stride. The Eagles have shook off a 6-4 start to the season to lock down the two-seed in Region 5-5A with a 79-51 win over Chamblee Tuesday night and finished the month of January with an 8-1 record.
Chamblee used energy and emotion to jump out to a 10-point lead in the first quarter 14-4 after a Jalen Knowlton basket. The Bulldogs led 16-7 after a quarter of play showing confidence while seeking redemption from a 55-point loss earlier this season at Columbia.
Columbia (16-6; 8-3) began the second quarter with a 8-0 run to pull within one and continued to chip away from there. Chamblee (12-10; 4-8) continued to maintain the lead throughout the quarter however were held scoreless the last 2:34 quarter. Kenton Eskridge nailed a three-pointer as the horn sounded to give Columbia it’s first lead of the game 30-29 at halftime.
Both teams exchanged the lead over the first four minutes of the third quarter as. Jalen Cobb hit a three-pointer to put Columbia up 38-36 with 3:29 remaining in the third and the Eagles never trailed again.
Columbia held a 47-44 lead as the fourth quarter and Kevon Eskridge opened the flood gates with a three-pointer to begin a 9-0 Eagles run. It was all Columbia from there as Kevon Eskridge went on to hit five more treys in the final frame as the Eagles put up 32 points in the quarter, rolling to the victory. Columbia hit 13 three’s in the game.
“Sometime you have to get use to the opponents gym, we’ve never played here (this is the second season of Chamblee’s new gym),” Columbia head coach Dr. Phil McCrary said. “It took us a while to get going, we sustained the punch they threw at us, kept our composure and believed in the game plan.”
Kevon Eskridge finished with 26 points (8 three-pointers), Jalen Cobb put in 16, T.J. Boykin tallied 12 while Kenton Eskridge put in 11 for Columbia.
Columbia’s only loss this calendar year was to region leader Miller Grove, who swept the Eagles in two regular season meetings. Dating back to the Tournament of Champions at Wheeler high school in late December the Eagles have won 9 of their last 11 games.
Odell Ferrell finished with a team-high 15 points, Glen Robinson put in 14 while Jalen Knowlton chipped in 10 for the Bulldogs.
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