Category Archives: High School Sports

UPDATED: Milton Schedules Home-and-Home With National Opponent

UPDATED 7/29/2020

The Milton Eagles and their home-and-home series with St. John’s College (D.C.) has been cancelled due to COVID-19. Milton has scheduled Johns Creek (GA) in place of the St. Johns College (D.C.) game.  The GHSA pushed back the start of the regular season by two weeks in Georgia during a vote last week by the board of trustees. The regular season will now begin September 4th.

PREVIOUS 12/17/2019

The Milton Eagles went 8-4 during the 2019 football season losing to eventual state champ Marietta in the second round of the Georgia state playoffs. The season included a 17-14 loss to JSerra Catholic (CA) as Milton became the first team from Georgia to play a high school game against a team from California in California.

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Milton (GA) won the 2018 Georgia 7A State Championship

Milton is back at it scheduling another national opponent as the Eagles have agreed to a home-and-home series against St. John’s College (D.C.) during the 2020 and 2021 seasons. Milton will play at St. John’s College on September 12th, 2020 and St. John’s College will come to Milton in 2021.

St. John’s College went 7-5 this past season, losing in the WCAC Championship to Good Counsel 16-14. St. John’s College last won the WCAC Championship in 2017 defeating Gonzaga and finished 9-2. St. John’s College last played a team from Georgia during the 2018 season when they defeated Marietta 21-14.

The 2020 and 2021 seasons will mark the third and fourth consecutive seasons that Milton has scheduled a top flight out-of-state opponent. In 2018 Milton defeated Cardinal Gibbons (FL) on their way to winning the 7A state championship over Colquitt County.

Wheeler Enters Rankings, Grayson Falls And Westlake Girls Rise

The Wheeler Wildcats (24-7) moved into the latest Max Preps Top 25 high school basketball rankings this week for the first time this season. On the heels of a 60-59 victory over then-No. 2 Grayson in the Georgia 7A state finals, the Wildcats come in at No. 24. Grayson (30-2), who had been ranked most of the season in the top ten, fell out of the Top 25 and into the Next Five coming in at No. 26.

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Wheeler, a blue blood program in Georgia with seven state titles, may have pulled an upset but they were not a weak team. The Wildcats had quality in-state victories over Grayson (1-1), Pebblebrook (2-1; 7A Sweet 16 loss to Grayson), East Coweta (7A Sweet 16), St. Francis (1A-Private State Champion), Milton (1-1; 7A Final Four), Shiloh (7A Sweet 16), Dutchtown (5A State Champion), Heritage (GISA 3A State Champion), Lanier (6A Finalist), Newton (7A Elite 8) and Kell (5A semifinalist)-all of which advanced to at least the second round. Wheeler only played three OOS games this season, a very low number by Wheeler standards, going 1-2 at the Kreul Classic with a victory over West Nassau (FL) (14-2) and losses to Deerfield Beach (FL) (15-8; 1st Rd exit in 7A state tournament) and Forest Hill (FL) (28-3; 7A Final Four). Wheeler’s OOS schedule proved to be weak overall.

Wheeler and Grayson split their two meetings this season with Grayson winning by five at Wheeler and Wheeler winning by one on a neutral floor. Grayson lost their two games by a combined five points, their only other loss was at region opponent Newton, who reached the 7A quarterfinals, 84-80 in overtime. Grayson defeated Newton 86-39 and 82-58 in their next two meetings this season to win the season series handily 2-1.

Grayson, who went into the fall trying to fill their schedule, had quality in-state wins over Berkmar (7A Elite 8), Milton (7A Final Four) , Pebblebrook (2x; 7A Sweet 16), Wheeler (1-1; 7A State Champion), Sandy Creek (4A Elite 8), Mountain Brook (AL) (7A Finalist), Memphis East (TN), McEachern (2x; 7A Final Four), Lithonia (5A Elite 8), Newton (2-1; 7A Elite 8), Archer (2x; 7A 1st Rd), Shiloh (3x; 7A Sweet 16) and Norcross (7A Elite 8). Grayson went 5-0 in OOS play defeating Crestwood Prep (Canada), Ramsay (AL; 5A Final Four), Wayne (OH; D1 District Semifinal exit), Memphis East (TN) and Mountain Brook (AL; 7A Finalist). Overall Grayson had some holes to fill in their schedule and though they went undefeated in OOS games, the OOS was not as strong as it could have been.

Wheeler and Grayson both showed that Georgia basketball as a whole is brutal night in and night out but that scheduling must improve across the board both in-state and with out-of-state quality competition. Neither is likely to be invited to GEICO Nationals. Grayson had the inside track until the one-point loss in the finals and still has a strong case based on their overall body of work but was it strong enough? If you saw Grayson play this year multiple times that should give you your answer, Yes.

Westlake

On the girls side Westlake (30-2) moves up four spots from No.18 to No.14 in the latest girls Max Preps Top 25 high school basketball rankings. Westlake defeated Collins Hill (31-1) in the 7A state finals to become the first team since McEachern (2014-2017) to win three straight state titles in the highest classification in Georgia. Westlake went 24-0 against Georgia teams and 6-2 against OOS teams. The losses were to No.11 Paul VI (VA) and Centennial (NV). Westlake is in line to play in the GEICO Nationals, which have been moved from New York, New York to Dorman, South Carolina because of the coronavirus outbreak. Westlake last played in the GEICO Nationals in 2018.

 

 

 

FINAL Hillsman Heavy Top 10 GA 3/10/2020

The Georgia High School Basketball season is complete and this is the FINAL Hillsman Heavy Top 10 GA of the 2019-2020 season. All teams in the final Hillsman Heavy Top 10 are from the GHSA.  Teams from the GISA, GICAA and GAPPS were considered all season however no teams from these associations cracked into the Hillsman Heavy Top 10 or made the “Others To Watch” list this season.

The Hillsman Heavy Top 10 GA is released on Tuesdays (early Wednesday morning in this case eastern time) and is in its third season and is also available via the Georgia Hoop Circle. On Twitter use #HillsmanHeavyTop10GA for all conversation and “The Triangle Offense”.

As a reminder the Hillsman Heavy Top 10 GA is ranked as follows; OVERALL performance, Team Chemistry, Coaching, Schedule (OOS is HEAVILY considered) and Schedule for talent. When we load and unload the bus and plane with these 10 teams these are the teams that we can take anywhere as they are the best 10 in Georgia.

Last Week (3/2/2020) #HillsmanHeavyTop10GA was as follows: Out-South Cobb, Tri-Cities 10-Therrell 9-Dutchtown 8-Cedar Shoals 7-Norcross 6-McEachern 5-Milton 4-St. Francis 3-Wheeler 2-Woodward Academy 1-Grayson

Here is the FINAL Hillsman Heavy Top 10 GA for the week as of 3/10/2020. Team information has been added to the final teams.

Out- Therrell (25-8);loss to Swainsboro in 2A Finals; 2A Finalist, Cedar Shoals (28-4); loss to Dutchtown in 5A Finals; 5A Finalist

Others To Watch (12):  Pace Academy (28-4; Sharman White); defeated Jefferson in 3A Finals; 3A State Champions; 2-2 vs OOS), Cedar Shoals 28-4; L’Dreco Thomas); 5A Finalist; 2-0 vs OOS),  Swainsboro (30-2; Brice Hobbs); defeated Therrell in 2A Finals; 2A State Champions), Tri-Cities Omari Forts; 6A Semifinalst, South Cobb (28-3; Greg Moultrie); 6A Semifinalist, NO OOS games, Lithonia (26-4; Wallace Corker); 5A Quarterfinalist, 2-0 vs OOS, Greenforest (20-10 in record, 24-6 on the floor; Rory Griffin; loss to St. Francis in 1A Private Finals), North Gwinnett (18-12; Matt Garner; 7A Quarterfinalist, No OOS games), Kell (26-6; Jermaine Sellers; 5A Semifinalist; No OOS games, Tucker; (26-4 James Hartry); 5A Quarterfinalist; 1-1 vs OOS Therrell (25-8; Eddie Johnson; 1-2 vs OOS), Americus-Sumter (29-1; Johnny Genwright); 4A Quarterfinalist, 1-0 vs OOS

10- Lanier (26-6; Brendan Mayweather); loss to Chattahoochee in 6A Finals; 3-1 vs OOS Quality Wins: East Coweta, Lambert, South Salem (OR), Stephenson, Langston Hughes, South Cobb Quality Losses; Wheeler, Wilsonville (OR), Chattahoochee, Denmark Bad Loss(es); Peachtree Ridge, North Gwinnett Notable Players:  Sion James, Andrew McConnell

9- Chattahoochee (25-7; Chris Short); defeated Lanier in 6A Finals; 6A State Champions; No OOS games; Quality Wins: Berkmar, Heritage (GISA), Tri-Cities, Alexander, Heritage-Conyers, Cambridge (3x), Pebblebrook (1-1), Quality Loss(es): Pebblebrook (1-1), South Cobb, Kell, Shiloh Bad Loss(es); Centennial (2-1), North Atlanta Notable Players:  AJ White, Cam Sheffield, David McDaniel

8- Dutchtown (28-4; Jordan Griffin); defeated Cedar Shoals in 5A Finals; 5A State Champions; 3-1 vs ODD Quality Wins: Cedar Shoals, Tucker, Eagle’s Landing (1-2), Newton, Westlake, Kell, Columbia, Riverwood, Mainland (FL), Trinity Christian Quality Loss(es): Eagle’s Landing (1-2), Wheeler, Chaminade-Madonna (FL) Bad Loss(es): None Notable Players:  Cam Bryant, Jamaine Mann, Kameron Hobbs

7- Norcross (26-4; Jesse McMillan); loss at Grayson in 7A State Tournament Elite Eight; 5-2 vs OOS; Quality Wins: Berkmar (2x), Greenforest, Sandy Creek, Tucker, Jefferson (OR), West Linn (OR), Lambert, Rock Creek Christian Academy (MD) Quality Loss(es); Mater Dei (CA), Berkmar (2-1), Roselle Catholic Bad Loss(es); Grayson Notable Players:  JT Thor, Quincy Ademokoya, Josh Taylor, Kevon Eskridge

6- McEachern (23-8; Mike Thompson); loss to Grayson in 7A Semifinals; 4-5 vs OOS; 2 losses to Montvere Academy; Georgia losses to Grayson (2x) and Shiloh; Quality Wins: Mayfair (CA), Roman Catholic (PA), Scotlandville (LA), Windsor Forest, Berkmar, Pebblebrook, Berkmar Quality Losses; Montverde Academy (FL-2x), Grayson (2x), Shiloh, The Patrick School (NJ), Montclair Immaculate Conception (NJ), Gonzaga (Washington D.C.) Bad Loss(es): None Notable Players:  McDonalds All-American Sharife Cooper, Cam McDowell, Randy Brady, Dylan Cardwell (ruled ineligible by GHSA)

5Milton (26-5: Allen Whitehart); loss to Wheeler in 7A Semifinals: 3-3 vs OOS Quality Wins: Kell, Madison East (WI), Pebblebrook, Lambert, Northside Christian Academy (NC), Wheeler (1-1), Newton  Quality Losses; Grayson, Henry Clay (KY), South Shore (NY), Bad Loss(es); None Notable Players:  Bruce Thornton, Kanaan Carlyle, Evan Hurst

4- St. Francis (29-3; Drew Catlett); defeated Greenforest in 1A-Private Finals; 1A-Private State Champions; 2-2 vs OOS; Lone loss to Georgia team was to Wheeler; Quality Wins: Greenforest, Langston Hughes, Archer, Holy Innocents, Izard County (AR), Coronado (NV) Quality Losses: Dorman (SC), Long Island Lutheran (NY) Bad Losses: None Notable Players: Dwon Odom, Chase Ellis, Jusaun Holt

3- Woodward Academy (30-2; Anthony Thomas); defeated Cross Creek in 4A Finals; 2 losses by combined 5 points. 4-0 vs OOS; Quality Wins: Sandy Creek, Pace Academy, Lambert, Northside-Fort Smith (AR), Millennium (AZ), De Smet Jesuit (MO), Oxford (AL), Denmark, Cross Creek, Eastside Quality Losses: Jemison (AL); Bad Loss(es): Druid Hills Notable Players: McDonald’s All-American Walker Kessler, Michael Whitmore, Will Richards, Emory Lanier

2- Grayson (30-2; Geoffrey Pierce); loss to Wheeler in 7A Finals; 7A Finalist; 5-0 vs OOS; 2 losses by combined 5 points; Quality Wins: Berkmar, Milton, Pebblebrook (2x), Wheeler (1-1), Sandy Creek, Mountain Brook (AL), Memphis East (TN), McEachern (2x), Lithonia, Newton (2-1), Archer (2x), Shiloh (3x), Crestwood Prep (Canada), Norcross; Quality Losses: Wheeler (1-1); Bad Loss(es): None Notable Players: Caleb Murphy, Deivon Smith, Toneari Lane, Ian Schieffelin

1Wheeler (24-7; Larry Thompson): defeated Grayson in 7A Finals; 7A State Champions; 1-2 vs OOS; 4 losses to Georgia teams that at least made it to the 2nd Rd (Pebblebrook only team that did not make it beyond 2nd Rd-loss to Grayson); Quality Wins: Grayson (1-1), Milton (1-1), Pebblebrook (2-1), East Coweta, St. Francis, Shiloh, Dutchtown, Heritage (GISA), Lanier, Newton, Kell, Westlake (3x); Quality Losses: South Cobb, Grayson (1-1), Milton(1-1), Pebblebrook (2-1) Forest Hill (FL); Bad Loss(es): Campbell Notable Players: Sam Hines, Ja’Hiem Hudson, Isaiah Collier

The Triangle Offense:

The Triangle Offense was introduced the week of 1/7/2020 and contains three points to consider about this week’s Hillsman Heavy Top 10 GA. There is no Final Triangle Offense. #HillsmanHeavyTop10GA on Twitter for all conversation

 

GHSA Georgia State Finals Update

The Georgia 2020 GHSA State Basketball Championships were held March 4th through 7th in Macon, GA. Below are notes from the games.

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1A-Private: St. Francis (29-3) won its second straight state championship and fourth in the last seven years with a 76-55 wire-to-wire win over Greenforest (20-10). St. Francis opened the game with a 12-0 run and never looked back. Jordan Brown converted a layup with 5:46 remaining in the game to give St. Francis and 25-point lead, its largest of the game.

Dwon Odom led five St. Francis players in double figures finishing with a game-high 27 points to go with 7 rebounds and 4 assists on 77% shooting from the field in his final game as a Knight. As a team St. Francis shot 65% from the field. Chase Ellis, playing his second straight game through an ankle injury, finished with 14 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assist and added a block and a steal. Seth Hubbard added 12 points and 6 rebounds, Jusaun Holt tallied 11 points and 7 rebounds while Jordan Brown had 10 points off the bench.

Lamar Oden Jr. led Greenforest with 21 points and 6 rebounds before fouling out. Chase Cromier finished with 11 points and Christian Fussell added 10 points to go with 8 rebounds.

St. Francis’ only loss to a Georgia team was to Wheeler 67-64 in November at Holiday Hoopsgiving.

1A Public: Despite going 0-16 from beyond the arc and 9-26 from the free throw line, Hancock Central won its second state title in school history with a 61-58 overtime victory over Treutlen (30-1). Ka’Sabian Mitchell tied the game at 52 by splitting a pair of free throws with with nine seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, Hancock Central was unable to get a shot off forcing overtime.

In the extra session Jamal Taylor gave Hancock Central the lead 59-58 with eleven seconds remaining on a hoop. After a Treutlen turnover, forced by Taylor, Jamarcus Morris’ layup sealed it for the final score.

Taylor led Hancock Central with 13 points, 8 rebounds and 4 steals. Leroy Wilson and Marquavious Lawrence each had 12 points.

Christopher Floyd led Treutlen with 22 points to go with 5 rebounds before fouling out in the fourth quarter. Cartavious Terry posted a 13-point 13-rebound double-double while Mitchell finished with 11 points and six rebounds. The two teams combined for 42 turnovers, 28 by Treutlen.

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2A: Swainsboro (30-2) won its first state championship since 1996 and the seniors on the team were able to make up for a championship game loss as freshmen in 2017. The Tigers defeated defending state champion Therrell (25-8) 69-65 on Thursday. Artis Kingsberry, a key freshman on that 2017 runner-up team, completed an three-point play with 3:26 remaining in the fourth quarter to give Swainsboro a 60-59 lead and moments later Cedrick Seabrough added a basket to give the Tigers a 62-59 lead and they never trailed again. Over the final two-and-a-half minutes  Swainsboro was 7-10 from the free throw line to seal the victory and hold off Therrell.

Frederick Seabrough lead Swainsboro in scoring with 18 points and added 8 rebounds. Immanuell Hackett posted a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds while Cedrick Seabrough and Kingsberry each finished with 10 points.

Ra’Sean Frederick led Therrell with a game-high 23 points to go with 9 rebounds. Calvin Miller added 16 points, Cameron Fortson added 9 points to go with 6 rebounds and point guard Roman Son tallied 8 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists and 5 steals in defeat.

3A: Pace Academy (28-4) overcame a slow first half start- which featured them only scoring three points in the first quarter. The Knights trailed by as many as 11 points in the second quarter but surged after halftime in the third quarter to win its third state championship in school history with a 48-35 victory over Jefferson (22-8). Trailing 20-13 at the half, Pace took their first and only lead of the game on a George Adams (9 points) four-point play with :47 left in the third quarter 29-28 and never trailed again. The Knights  outscored Jefferson 35-15 in the second half and led by as many as 13 points in the fourth quarter.

Cole Middleton had a game-high 15 points to go with 4 rebounds while Matthew Cleveland finished with 10 points and 3 rebounds. Madison Durr scored all nine of his points in the second half and added 8 rebounds and 2 assists for Pace. It was the 8th state championship for Pace Academy head coach Sharman White in his career and his first at Pace Academy in his second year as head coach. White has won state championships in three different Georgia classifications in his career. With Pace Academy dropping down to class 2A next season he has the chance to win a title in his fourth different classification.

Owen Parker finished as the only Jefferson Dragon in double figures with 11 points and 6 rebounds. Malaki Straks added 8 points and 7 rebounds for Jefferson.

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4A: Woodward Academy (30-2) went wire-to-wire in their 75-56 win over Cross Creek (25-7) to win its first boys basketball state title in school history. The War Eagles used a 9-2 run to begin the third quarter which opened up what was a six-point game at the half and outscored Cross Creek 22-16 in the quarter for a 49-37 lead after three. In the fourth quarter Woodward Academy continued to expand their lead and led by as many as 21 points.

As has been the case all season for Woodward Academy, it was a full team effort led by McDonald’s All-American Walker Kessler finishing with 17 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists and 5 blocks. Will Richard tallied 15 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists. Michael Whitmore stuffed the box score with 13 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists and 7 steals while Jacorrei Turner surpassed 1,000 career points finishing with 12 and Emory Lanier had 11 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists for Woodward Academy. The War Eagles dished out 15 assists on 28 made field goals and shot 58% from the field while holding Cross Creek to 35% from the field and 5-25 from downtown.

Kobe Stewart led Cross Creek with a game-high 18 points with 6 rebounds and 2 assists. Josh Dorsey was the only other double-figure scorer for Cross Creek finishing with 10 points and 3 assists. Corey Trotter and Markell Ware each had 8 points for the Razorbacks.

5A: Jordan Griffin in his first season as head coach on any level wins his first state title and the first state title in Dutchtown history with a 57-44 win over Cedar Shoals. Dutchtown’s defense was the story, slowing Cedar Shoals’ offense to a crawl and holding the Jaguars to 36% from the field and 3-15 from beyond the arc. Dutchtown went with a zone defense midway through the second quarter and held Cedar Shoals without a point over the final 3:18 of the half for a 29-21 lead at the break.  In the third quarter Dutchtown held Cedar Shoals to only 6 points and expanded their lead into double digits on a Jamaine Mann hoop with 3:00 left for a 33-23 advantage. Cedar Shoals made a late push in the fourth quarter after three free throws from Kashik Brown and steal by Brown who feed it to Jaiden Williams for a layup cut it to eight, 47-39 but would get no closer.

Jamaine Mann posted a double-double with a game high in points and rebounds with a 20-12 effort. Cam Bryant finished with 18 points and 4 rebounds while Kameron Bryant had a quiet 6 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists for Dutchtown. Dutchtown shot 43% from the field and 93% from the free throw line, there only struggle was from beyond the arc where they went 2-13 on the night.

Quincy Canty was the only double-figure scorer with 17 points and 4 rebounds for Cedar Shoals. Tyler Johnson (2-12 FG) and Jaiden Williams each finished with 6 points.

6A: Chattahoochee won its first state title in school history with a 69-65 overtime victory over Lanier, who was also seeking their first basketball state title in school history.

Chattahoochee led 34-31 at the half and shot 53% from the field. In the second half Lanier took a 38-36 lead on a Goran Uzunov three-pointer with 4:45 left in the third quarter. Uzunov cam eup big again hitting another three-pointer to beat 3Q horn for a 47-40 Lanier lead after the third. Chattahoochee opened the fourth quarter with a 7-0 run capped by an AJ White three-pointer to even the game at 47 with 6:21 left. Franklin Bailey put Chattahoochee back in front 54-53 with 4:02 remaining and moments later Cameron Sheffield made it 56-53 with 2:32 left on a jumper. The final 2:32 there were three points scored on three Sion James free throws, the final one coming with :33 to even it 56-56. Chattahhocchee missed a potential game winner with 2.9 remaining in regulation to force overtime. In the extra session Cameron Sheffield scored eight points of Chattahoochee’s 13 points including the second of two free throws with 1.7 remaining for the final score 69-66.

Cameron Sheffield had a game-high 31 points to go with 8 rebounds and 2 assists while AJ White tallied 22 points, 1 assist and 1 steal for Chattahoochee. Franklin Bailey finished with 10 points and David McDaniel added 6 points and 14 rebounds. Chattahoochee shot 46% from the field, overcame 17 turnovers and outscored Lanier 16-12 in second chance point.

Sion James had a team-high 27 points and 11 rebounds for Lanier. Andrew McConnell added 13 points and 3 steals while Iajah Phillips tallied 12 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists. It was the fourth consecutive state tournament overtime game for Lanier, who had won the previous three against Stephenson, Langston Hughes and South Cobb. Lanier shot 39% from the field, outscored Chattahoochee 32-20 in the paint  and scored 17 points off 17 Chattahoochee turnovers.

7A: The Wheeler Wildcats (24-7) upset the Grayson Rams (30-2) 60-59 to win their seventh state title in school history and first since 2015. Wheeler had led most of the day until Grayson closed the third quarter on an 8-0 run and took their first lead on a Caleb Murphy layup for a 46-44 advantage heading into the fourth quarter. Grayson continued their run in the fourth quarter expanding their lead to eight on a Toneari Lane three-pointer for a 54-46 lead with 5:35 remaining. Wheeler countered with a 13-2 run of its own and took the lead on a pair of Nash Kelly free throws 57-56 an extended it to 59-56 after a pair of Sam Hines free throws with :26 remaining.

Toneari Lane tied it at 59-59 with a right-wing three-pointer with :14 seconds remaining. Wheeler did not call time out and Kelly advanced up the court, missed in the lane but Hines got the rebound and was fouled with 1.1 seconds remaining by Lane. Hines made the first free throw for the 60-59 lead. After a Grayson timeout Hines tried to miss the second free throw on purpose however it did not hit the rim giving Grayson the ball due to the violation. Grayson again called timeout to set up a play having to inbound from the opposite baseline. Caleb Murphy’s three-quarter court heave was no good as time expired.

Wheeler was led by Sam Hines’ 28 points, 9 rebounds and 2 steals while Max Harris was the only other Wildcats in double figures with 10 points to go with 4 rebounds. Prince Davies added 8 points, 5 rebounds and a steal while Ja’Heim Hudson finished with 8 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists. Wheeler sot 48% from the field and outscored Grayson in the paint 32-26 and in second chance points 15-7. The victory also marked the third state championship for head coach Larry Thompson and his first at Wheeler in his third season.

Toneari Lane led game with a 18 points and 4 rebounds. Caleb Murphy had 13 points, 2 rebounds and 3 assists while Deivon Smith added 11 points, 3 rebounds, 7 assists and 2 steals. Grayson finished 10-19 from the free throw line and were 5-11 from the line in the fourth quarter. From the field Grayson shot 43% including 7-19 from distance, had 12 assists on 21 made field goals and score 15 points off of 13 Wheeler turnovers.

 

Grayson Holds At No.2, Westlake Moves Up; Quick Notes Finals Game

The latest Max Preps High School Basketball rankings have been released and the same two Georgia teams are still there. On the boys side the Grayson Rams (30-1) remain at No.1 behind only Montverde Academy. Grayson will meet Wheeler (23-7) on Saturday night in Macon, GA in the class 7A finals.

Grayson won the previous meeting this season against Wheeler 73-68 back in December. The Rams went 5-0 against non-Georgia teams this season and are riding a 22-game winning streak entering the finals. Grayson has notable wins against teams that reached the semifinals including Alabama 7A runner up Mountain Brook (AL), two wins over McEachern and Milton. Wheeler went 1-2 in games again non-Georgia opponents and have victories over notable semifinal teams or better in 1A-Private champion St. Francis, 5A finalist Dutchtown, 5A semifinalist Kell, 7A semifinalist Milton (split two meetings this season), 6A finalist Lanier and 6A semifinalist South Cobb this season.

On the girls side, Westlake (29-2) moved up three spots to No. 18 from No.21. The Lady Lions will face Collins Hill (31-0) in the 7A Finals Saturday night in Macon, GA. Westlake is undefeated this season against Georgia teams as is 7-2 against non-Georgia teams. Collins Hill is 4-0 against non-Georgia teams and has not won a game by less than 15 points all season. Westlake has eliminated Collins Hill each of the last two postseasons including in the 7A state championship game last season.

Grayson and Westlake with state championship game victories will officially accept invitations to and play in the Geico Nationals April 3rd-5th in New York, NY.

Georgia GHSA Girls Basketball Championship Updates

The Georgia girls state basketball championships are underway from March 4th until Saturday March, 7th. Here are updates on the games that have gone final.

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1A-Private; Holy Innocents (26-5) won it’s second straight state title with a  66-53 win over St. Francis. St. Francis led 16-15 after the first quarter but Holy Innocents opened the second quarter with a 12-0 run and led 27-16, they never trailed again. A Jillian Hollingshed bucket with just over four minutes remaining in the first half gave Holy Innocents its biggest lead of 16. St. Francis, who was held to 35% from the field, pulled to within four, 48-44, on a Savannah Samuel jumper with 6:23 remaining in the game but  never got closer than that.

Jada Farrell led all scorers with 21 points, while Rachel Suttle finished with 19 points 9 rebounds and 3 steals for Holy Innocents. Jillian Hollingshed played all 32 minutes finishing with an 11-point 14-rebound double-double for the Lady Golden Bears.  Mia Moore (11 points, 5 rebounds 3 assists 3 steals) and Savannah Samuel (11 points, 4 rebounds) led the way for St. Francis (28-4)

1A Public: Wheeler County (31-1) won its first state title in school history with a 55-50 come-from-behind victory over Central-Talbotton (27-2).  Wheeler County trailed by 11 eariler in the third quarter but closed the quarter on a 10-3 run to pull within 1 at 36-35. Keonya Mincey opened the fourth quarter with a three-pointer to put Wheeler County up 38-36. Wheeler County would never give up the lead however Central-Talbotton tied the game three times in the four, the final time at 44-44 with 4:42 to play on a Shakemia Marshall bucket. After a 7-0 Wheeler County run over the next 3-plus minutes, Bernyia Sparks brought Central-Talbotton to within one, 51-50 with :48 remaining but Wheeler County salted the game away from the foul line the rest of the game.

Keonya Mincey led Wheeler County with 23 points while Samerria Bryant finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds as the duo scored 14 of Wheeler County’s 20 points in the fourth quarter. Wheeler County was 15-26 from the line and 4-9 from distsance.

Bernyla Sparks led Central-Talbotton with a game-high 24 points and 13 rebounds and Shakemia Marshall tallied 10 points and 12 rebounds. Central-Talbotton bettered Wheeler County in rebounding (plus-3), points in the paint (plus-8), points off turnovers (plus-3), second chance points (plus-6) and fastbreak points (plus-4) but were only 7-13 from the foul line and shot 35% from the field including 1-17 from distance.

2A: Douglass-Atlanta (26-5) won its second straight state title with a 56-46 victory over Southwest-Macon Magnet (25-4). Kayla Sesberry hit a jumper with 7:41 left in the second quarter to give Douglass-Atlanta a 14-13 lead and they never trailed again. Douglass-Atlanta continued to build their lead the remainder of the game getting their biggest lead of 13 on an Ashuntee Weems bucket with :31 left in the third quarter. Southwest-Macon Magnet would make a fourth quarter push and got within two on a pair of Jakera Hill with 3:12 left in the game, but would only score two points the remainder of the game.

Sesberry finished with a game-high 25 points with 7 rebounds, 2 assists and 4 steals for Douglass-Atlanta. Ikenya King recorded a double-double with 10 points and a game-high 16 rebounds while Weems finished with 10 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists and 5 steals. Douglass-Atlanta, despite shooting 1-12 from distance and 35% from the field, scored 13 points off 24 Southwest-Macon Magnet turnovers and finished plus-21 on the glass.

Jakhyla Johnson and Stantagious Alford each had 14 points for Southwest-Macon Magnet. Johnson also had 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 6 steals while Alford had 8 rebounds and 4 steals.

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3A: Greater Atlanta Christian (20-12) won its first state title since 2007 under first-year head coach Jessica Guarneri with a 54-44 victory over Beach (22-10). Beach was seeking to win its second title in four years. The game feature 13 ties and the final one came with 6:45 left in the game, 34-34. Beach would lead by three, 37-34 after Kaila Rougier split a pair of free throws and hoop by Madison Evans but from there is was all Greater Atlanta Christian. Kaleigh Addie capped an 8-0 run by the Lady Spartans with a bucket with 4:05 left in the fourth quarter for a 42-35 lead and closed the game with a 6-0 run (all from the free throw line) for the win.

Addie finished with a game-high 28 points to go with 5 rebounds and 3 steals. Ava Irvin was the only other Lady Spartan in double figures with 13 points. Greater Atlanta Christian shot 40% from the field and outscored beach 20-16 in the paint.

Rougier had a team-high 20 points along with 8 rebounds for Beach. Evans finished with 11 points, 5 rebounds and 2 steals. Beach was 1-15 from distance, shot 27% from the field and was plus-7 on the glass.

 

4A: Americus-Sumter (29-2) defeated Troup County (27-2) 66-52 to win its second title in five years. Trinity Jones led all scorers with a game-high 21 points for Americus-Sumter while Jelissa Reese added 19 points and Tiffani Goodman tallied 6 points and 10 rebounds. Americus-Sumter went 22-29 from the foul line and out-rebounded Troup County plus-18 in the win.

Ambeer Gilbert led Troup County with 15 points while Aniya Palmer had a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Troup County forced 21 turnovers but were even in points off of turnovers at 11-11 against Americus-Sumter.

5A: Buford (31-1) snapped Kell’s 32-game winning streak enroute to winning it 4th straight state title with a 66-63 victory over Kell (32-1). Kell’s Crystal Henderson nailed a jumper with 5:11 left in the second quarter to cap a 16-0 run and give Kell their largest lead of eight, 26-18. Buford closed the second quarter with a 11-3 run for a 29-29 halftime tie after a Katelyn Klein jumper. Just moments into the third quarter Ashyia Wallis scored to put Buford up 31-29 and they would never trail again but had to hold off a valiant effort from Kell. Kell, trailing 63-57 with :54 left got three free throws from Crystal Henderson, then after a pair of Wallis free throws, Henderson hit a three to make it 65-63 with :12 left. Tate Walyers split her free throws and Henderson’s last second three-point attempt was no good at the horn.

Tate Walters led Buford with 18 points while Ashyia Willlis added 13. Blair Wallis finished with 12 points while Katelyn Klein tallied 9 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists and 7 steals. Buford finished with 11 assists on 22 made field goals and forced 24 Kell turnovers and scored 34 points off those turnovers, 16 of those steals.

Henderson, a freshman, finished with a game-high 26 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals for Kell. Amaya Moss finished with 14 points and 5 rebounds while Makyah Favors scored 10 points. Kell shot 47.5% and were 18-24 from the foul line and 7-15 from distance.

6A: Forest Park wins its second state title and first since 1970 with a wire-to-wire 46-30 win over Glynn Academy. Forest Park shot out of the gate in the first quarter to a 13-2 advantage through a quarter and never looked back. The Lady Panthers used its pressure defense to hold Glynn Academy without a made field goal in the first quarter. It was much of the same in the second quarter for Glynn Academy despite Zoesha Smith showing signs of life scoring nine points in the quarter. Smith was the the only player with a made field goal in the first half for Glynn Academy. Forest Park extended the lead to 13 on a three-pointer from Jayda Brown with 3:17 left in the half. Glynn Academy would finish the half on a 6-1 run on a hoop from Smith, a pair of free throws from Shamya Flanders, and a pair of free throws from Smith for the 21-13 halftime score.

In the second half Forest Park continued to apply the defensive pressure and pulled away from Glynn Academy. Joi Reid’s layup pushed the lead to 15, 39-24 with 6:25 left in the game. Jones split a pair of free throws moments later to extend to the largest lead of the game at 16 40-24 before the final margin.

Joi Reid finished with 11 points, 4 rebounds and 2 steals while Sania Feagin stuffed the boxscore with 10 points, 5 rebounds, 3 steals and 3 blocks for Forest Park. Janaya Jones added 9 points, 4 rebounds and 4 stelas while Jasmine Jacob had 8 points. Forest Park shot 50% from the field and scored 14 points off of 17 turnovers.

Zoesha Smith had a game-high in points and rebounds with 15 and 14 for Glynn Academy. Glynn Academy shot 22% from the field with Smith going 6-18 and the rest of the teams going 4-27. The Lady Terrors won the rebounding advantage 37-25.

7A: Westlake vs Collins Hill (Sat 7:30pm)

SPECIAL EDITION Georgia GHSA Finals Hillsman Heavy Top 10 GA 3/2/2020

This is a Special Edition of the Hillsman Heavy Top 10 GA. In Georgia the GHSA Finals are set and will be played in Macon, GA Wednesday, March 5th through Saturday March 8th at the Macon Centerplex.  Throughout the Georgia state tournament the Hillsman Heavy Top 10 GA has had special editions after each round with an updated Hillsman Heavy Top 10 GA. Futures, such as draws/paths/potential meetings, were not considered as tough as it is to not look ahead the Hillsman Heavy Top 10 GA used a game-by-game method. The final Hillsman Heavy Top 10 GA will be released after the conclusion of the Georgia basketball season. Teams from the GISA, GICAA and GAPPS were considered however no teams from these associations cracked into the Hillsman Heavy Top 10 or made the “Others To Watch” list all season.

The Hillsman Heavy Top 10 GA is released on Tuesdays and is in its third season and is also available via the Georgia Hoop Circle. It is also posted on Twitter via the #HillsmanHeavyTop10GA hashtag.

As a reminder the Hillsman Heavy Top 10 GA is ranked as follows; OVERALL performance, Team Chemistry, Coaching, Schedule (OOS is HEAVILY considered) and Schedule for talent. When we load and unload the bus and plane with these 10 teams these are the teams that we can take anywhere as they are the best 10 in Georgia.

Last Week (2/27/2020-SPECIAL EDITION) #HillsmanHeavyTop10GA was as follows: Out-Lithonia, Tucker 10-South Cobb 9-Cedar Shoals 8-Tri-Cities 7-Norcross 6-McEachern 5-Wheeler 4-St. Francis 3-Milton 2-Woodward Academy 1-Grayson

Here is the Hillsman Heavy Top 10 GA for this week as of 3/2/2020. Three teams lost and two teams fell out. Also we continue to track who from the “Others To Watch” group loss and was removed as their season is complete.

Out- South Cobb (28-3); loss to Lanier in 6A Semifinals at Buford City Arena (Season Complete); Tri-Cities (26-6); loss to Chattahoochee in 6A Semifinals at Buford City Arena; Season Complete

Others To Watch (alphabetical order)(5):  Chattahoochee (24-7; defeated Tri-Cites; vs Lanier in 6A Finals), Greenforest (20-9; defeated Trinity Christian; vs St. Francis in 1A Private Finals), Lanier (26-5; defeated South Cobb; vs Chattahoochee in 6A Finals), Pace Academy (27-4; defeated Johnson-Savannah; vs Jefferson in 3A Finals), Swainsboro (29-2; defeated Glenn Hills; Vs Therrell in 2A Finals),  REMOVED (Season Complete): Kell (24-5; loss to Dutchtown; Season Complete)

10Therrell (25-7); defeated Chattooga in 2A Semifinals at Georgia College & State University; Vs Swainsboro in 2A Finals at Macon Centreplex (Thurs 4pm)

9- Dutchtown (27-4); defeated Kell in 5A Semifinals at Fort Valley State University; Vs Cedar Shoals in 5A Finals at Macon Centreplex (Fri 8pm)

8– Cedar Shoals (28-3); defeated Southwest Dekalb in 5A Semifinals at Fort Valley State University; Vs Dutchtown in 5A Finals at Macon Centreplex (Fri 8pm)

7- Norcross (26-4); loss at Grayson in 7A State Tournament Elite Eight; Season Complete

6- McEachern (23-8); loss to Grayson in 7A Semifinals at Buford City Arena; Season Complete

5Milton (26-5); loss to Wheeler in 7A Semifinals at Buford City Arena; Season Complete

4- St. Francis (28-3); defeated Mt. Pisgah in 1A-Private Semifinals; vs Greenforest in 1A-Private Finals at Macon Centerplex (Wed 4pm)

3Wheeler (23-7):defeated Milton in 7A Semifinals at Buford City Arena; Vs Grayson in 7A Finals at Macon Centreplex (Sat 8pm)

2- Woodward Academy (29-2); defeated Denmark in 4A Semifinals at Fort Valley State University; Vs Cross Creek in 4A Finals at Macon Centreplex (Fri 1pm)

1- Grayson (30-1); defeated McEachern in 7A Semifinals at Buford City Arena; Vs Wheeler in 7A Finals at Macon Centreplex (Sat 8pm)

HillsmanTSCTriangle (2)

The Triangle Offense:

The Triangle Offense was introduced the week of 1/7/2020 and contains three points to consider about this weeks Hillsman Heavy Top 10 GA. This week the 3 things involving Hillsman Heavy Teams that could shake up spots when the final Hillsman Heavy Top 10 GA is released next week. There are not many spots open and some teams can shake things up more than others by winning in the finals.

Grayson vs Wheeler; This one is self explanatory, Grayson wins and they will go wire-to-wire in the Hillsman Heavy Top 10 at the No. 1 spot and a trip to GEICO Nationals in New York up next in April. Wheeler wins and it opens up a lot of things for who can grab the No.1 spot and how it affects the rest of the final Hillsman Heavy Top 10

(5A Finals) Cedar Shoals and Dutchtown vs (6A Finals) Chattahoochee and Lanier; Quite frankly 5A ball has been the second best classification in Georgia behind 7A. The 5A winner will be in the final Hillsman Heavy no question. The 5A loser- depending on how the 5A championship game plays out and how close it is will have to wait and see. 6A has been an enigma all season and both Chattahoochee and Lanier are now in the “Others To Watch” group for the first time this season. The 6A winner will have the upper hand at potentially landing in the final Hillsman Heavy depending on how all things shake out.

Therrell/Swainsboro/Pace Academy/Greenforest; Therrell returns to the rankings ahead of the 2A championship game in which they will take on Swainsboro. Swainsboro has not cracked the Hillsman Heavy this season however have been in the “Others To Watch” as the state tournament has continued. A Therrell win and they will be in the final Hillsman Heavy. Swainsboro wins and they’ll have to see how the chips fall as Pace Academy is sitting on the door step with a win themselves. Greenforest, who was in the Hillsman Heavy earlier this season can really shake things up with a win in the 1A-Private game and could leave another state winner out.

Buckle Up for a wild final week of Georgia High School Basketball

 

No. 2 Grayson Will Meet Wheeler In Georgia 7A Finals

The Grayson Rams won their 22nd straight game with an 82-76 victory over McEachern (22-8) in the semifinals to advance to their first-ever state finals in program history.

grayson

Grayson used a 30-point third quarter which featured an 11-0 run powered by Caleb Murphy to break open a close game in which Grayson trailed 29-27 at the half. Grayson had five players in double figures led by Devion Smith with 22. Caleb Murphy scored 9 of his 18 in the third quarter to go with 16 points from Toneari Lane. Josh Smith and Ian Schieffelin each scored 11.

Isreal Palmer led McEachern with 22 while Sharife Cooper score 21 in the final game of his sensational high school career. Cam McDowell tallied 17 and Randy Brady had 12 for McEachern.

The Rams will face Wheeler (23-7) in the 7A championship game Saturday March 7th in Macon, GA. Wheeler defeated Milton 59-47 in the other semifinal getting 19 points from Sam Hines and 11 points from Max Harris. Bruce Thornton had a game-high 28 for Milton. Wheeler has won six state championships in its programs history.

 

 

No. 21 Westlake Advances To 7A Finals; Face Collins Hill Again

The Westlake Lady Lions (29-2) advanced to their third straight 7A Finals with their 15th straight win in a 62-33 victory over Cherokee (28-3) in the semifinals.  The No. 21 ranked team nationally used a pair of double-digit runs over the end of the second and beginning of the third quarters that put the game out of reach.

Westlake

The Lady Lions closed the second quarter with an 11-4 run and led 31-17 at the half, then opened the third quarter with an 11-0 run and led 49-24 after three quarters. Ta’Niya Latson had a game-high 19 points, Raven Johnson tallied 14 points, six rebounds and four assists while Carlyse Hooks added 13 points for Westlake.

Cherokee, whose previously only loss to a Georgia team was to North Forsyth, was led by nine points from Kate Johnson and eight points from Ashlyn Andrus. The Lady Warriors only other loss this season came to St. Joseph’s Central (WV).

Westlake will play Collins Hill (31-0) in the 7A Finals next Saturday March 8th in Macon, Ga. Collins Hill defeated Campbell 54-37 in the 7A semifinals and has not won a game by less than 15 points this season.

Westlake, undefeated against Georgia teams this season, has eliminated Collins Hill the past two postseasons leading up to their second straight meeting in the 7A Finals. Westlake is the two-time defending state champ and seek to become the first team since McEachern to win three straight state titles in the highest classification.

 

 

SPECIAL EDITION Semifinals State Tournament Hillsman Heavy Top 10 GA 2/27/2020

This is a Special Edition of the Hillsman Heavy Top 10 GA. In Georgia the semifinals/Final Four are set in all eight (8) classifications. The Semifinals/Final Four in each classification will be held Friday February 28th through Saturday February 29th. Futures, such as draws/paths/potential meetings, are not considered as tough as it is to not look ahead the Hillsman Heavy Top 10 GA uses a game-by-game method. It’s Win or Go Home time now, “one game at a time”.

The Hillsman Heavy Top 10 GA is released on Tuesdays and is in its third season and is also available via the Georgia Hoop Circle. It is also posted on Twitter via the #HillsmanHeavyTop10GA hashtag.

As a reminder the Hillsman Heavy Top 10 GA is ranked as follows; OVERALL performance, Team Chemistry, Coaching, Schedule (OOS is HEAVILY considered) and Schedule for talent. When we load and unload the bus and plane with these 10 teams these are the teams that we can take anywhere as they are the best 10 in Georgia.

Last Week (2/21/2020-SPECIAL EDITION) #HillsmanHeavyTop10GA was as follows: Out- Shiloh, Eagle’s Landing 10-Cedar Shoals 9-Tucker 8-Lithonia 7-McEachern 6-Wheeler 5-Milton 4-St. Francis 3-Norcross -Woodward Academy 1-Grayson

Here is the Hillsman Heavy Top 10 GA for this week as of 2/27/2020. Three teams lost and two teams fell out. Also we continue to track who from the “Others To Watch” group loss and was removed as their season is complete.

Out- Lithonia (25-4); loss at Cedar Shoals in 5A State Tournament Elite Eight; Season Complete; Tucker (26-4); loss to Tri Cities in 6A State Tournament Elite Eight; Season Complete;

Others To Watch (alphabetical order)(6): Dutchtown (26-4; defeated Columbia), Greenforest (19-9; defeated Pinecrest Academy), Kell (24-4; defeated Buford), Pace Academy (26-4; defeated Monroe Area), Swainsboro (28-2; defeated Rockmart), Therrell (23-7; defeated Washington County); REMOVED (Season Complete): Americus-Sumter (29-1; loss at St. Pius X), Berkmar (18-10; loss at Wheeler), Buford (22-7; loss vs Kell), Langston Hughes (21-9; loss at Lanier), North Gwinnett (18-12; loss vs McEachern), Sandy Creek (25-5; loss at Woodward Academy)

10South Cobb (28-2); defeated Evans in 6A State Tournament Elite Eight; vs Lanier in 6A Semifinals at Buford City Arena (Fri 4pm)

9- Cedar Shoals (27-3); defeated Lithonia in 5A State Tournament Elite Eight; vs Southwest Dekalb in 5A Semifinals at Fort Valley State University (Sat 8pm)

8 Tri-Cities (26-5); defeated Tucker in 6A State Tournament Elite Eight; vs Chattahoochee in 6A Semifinals at Buford City Arena (Fri 8pm)

7- Norcross (26-4); loss at Grayson in 7A State Tournament Elite Eight; Season Complete

6- McEachern (23-7); defeated North Gwinnett in 7A State Tournament Elite Eight; vs Grayson in 7A Semifinals at Buford City Arena (Sat 8pm)

5Wheeler (21-6):defeated Berkmar in 7A State Tournament Elite Eight; vs Milton in 7A Semifinals at Buford City Arena (Sat 4pm)

4- St. Francis (27-3); defeated Holy Innocents in 1A-Private State Tournament Elite Eight; vs Mt. Pisgah in 1A-Private Semifinals at Georgia College and State University (Fri 4pm)

3Milton (26-4); defeated Newton in 7A State Tournament Elite Eight; vs Wheeler in 7A Semifinals at Buford City Arena (Sat 4pm)

2- Woodward Academy (28-2); defeated Sandy Creek in 4A State Tournament Elite Eight; vs Denmark in 4A Semifinals at Fort Valley State University (Fri 4pm)

1- Grayson (29-1); defeated Norcross in 7A State Tournament Elite Eight; vs McEachern in 7A Semifinals at Buford City Arena (Sat 8pm)

HillsmanTSCTriangle (2)

The Triangle Offense:

The Triangle Offense was introduced the week of 1/7/2020 and contains three points to consider about this weeks Hillsman Heavy Top 10 GA. This week the 3 things involving Hillsman Heavy Teams that could shake up next weeks spots.

Grayson vs McEachern; Round 2 between these two teams that, despite McEachern being unranked, are very much on the national scene. Grayson won by 26 earlier in the season, snapping McEachern’s 39-game win streak on a neutral floor. McEachern, behind Sharife Cooper, are still the defending champions and have been in some tough fights this season and in the state tournament whereas Grayson? Grayson has just went about it’s business all season and continue to stay the course beating serious contenders to sleep. McEachern gets another shot again on a neutral floor with even more in the building to see it, is Grayson loading up another haymaker for more people to see it?

Wheeler vs Milton; Milton has taken their game to another level with Bruce Thornton bulling his way and his team into the semifinals. Milton’s only Georgia loss is to Grayson so to keep that intact they’ll have to go through Wheeler. Wheeler with all that tradition is back in the semifinals and it’s been because of coaching and defensive effort quite frankly. Both are young but both have basketball players and both have bench bosses that play chess. The Eagles are soaring yet it is high enough to clear the Wildcats that will be reaching high with their claws to bring Milton down to earth?

Tri-Cities and South Cobb return to the Hillsman Heavy Top 10. Tri-Cities has gone 4-0 without their point guard who is eligible to return for the semifinals. Peyton Daniels has been the engine that powers Tri-Cities however in his absence they have found ways to win during tournament time. Daniels return instantly puts Tri-Cities back in the conversation they were in early in the season and at the beginning of the Hillsman Heavy Top 10. Everything is on the line for Tri-Cities, can they get it all to fit at the end of the year? South Cobb seems to have learned from the regular season loss at Sequoyah and now face a Lanier team that has just survived and advanced to the semifinals. South Cobb has seen this type of team before, will they show they have learned?