The two-game series between region 6-6A rivals Dalton and Allatoona lived up to tthe hype. Days after winning in walk off fashion on a Jantzen Calvo RBI single in nine innings, Dalton found itself in another extra inning affair with Allatoona.
Tied at 1-1 in the bottom of the eight Kyle Jacobsen drew a lead off walk. Jacobsen stole second on the first pitch of David Smith’s at bat. Later in the at bat Smith grounded into what looked to be a routine out however Dalton shortstop Matthew Houghton’s errant throw allowed Jacobsen to score giving Allatoona (25-3; 12-2) the 2-1 victory in eight innings.
The Buccaneers are in the drivers seat to finish first in the region with only two games remaining against South Cobb. Dalton completes their regular season 20-7 overall and 12-4 in the region and are currently the three-seed going into the final weekend of regular season action behind River Ridge.
The contest was a pitching duel most of the contest as Allatoona’s Brian DeCarlo worked 7 1/3 inning with 96 pitches, 8K’s, 2BB, 2HBP allowing only 1 earned run. That earned run was a Harrison Norman homer in the sixth that knotted the score at 1-1.
Allatoona took a 1-0 lead in the fourth due to fielding and throwing issues from the Catamounts. Cole Shelton struck out Tyler Messick however Messick needed to be thrown out, in the process. Dalton catcher JP Thighe hit Messick in the back while throwing to first to allow courtesy runner Alex Tansley to score. Tansely was running for catcher David Smith who reached on an infield single earlier in the inning.
Shelton worked the entire game for Dalton throwing 96 pitches, 9K’s, 3BB and allowed both runs.
Allatoona feel three sports to No.22 in the Perfect Game HS Top 50 after the 7-6 defeat to Dalton and are still considered a championship contender in class 6A.
Georgia Class 6A baseball is very strong and region 6-6A could be the strongest region in the state. The Region was on display Friday night in Dalton, Ga as the host Catamounts hosted nationally ranked Allatoona (No. 19 in the Perfect Game HS Top 50) in a key region tilt.
Allatoona entered the contest with a two-game lead for first place in the region over Dalton.
It took both teams a little while to settle in as Allatoona scored two runs in the top of the first only to have Dalton answer with five runs on only two hits in the bottom of the inning for a 5-2 lead off of starting pitcher Kyle Jacobsen.
Allatoona would fight back in the third. After back-to-back singles from Blake Evans and Payton Eeles, Jacobsen used his bat to even the score 5-5 moments later with a three-run home run.
Dalton’s JP Tighe tripled and scored moments later on an RBI single by designated hitter Harrison Norman to take a 6-5 lead in the bottom of the third inning.
Jacobsen would again pull the Buccaneers even with his second homer of the game, this one a booming solo shot to left center in the fifth inning. From there the squads would tussle the remainder of the night.
The region implications were enhanced when it was announced in the middle of the seventh inning that River Ridge had defeated Harrison in the normal seven innings bringing on loud cheers from the Dalton fans that filled the bleachers for senior night.
Seven innings would not be enough on this night as neither team allowed a run after the fifth inning. Dalton finally knocked Jacobsen out of the game after 91 pitches in the seventh inning. Jacobsen did not strike out a batter, allowed three walks and six runs.
In the bottom of the ninth Dalton loaded the bases with Jantzen Calvo coming to bat. Calvo singled to right field scoring Cole Shelton for the walk off RBI single off of reliever Trey Horton for the 7-6 Dalton victory.
Maddux Houghton picked up the win working two innings of relief for starter Harrison Hughes. Hughes allowed six runs, 10 hits with two strikeouts and two walks over seven innings.
Dalton (20-6) improves to 11-3 in the region while Allatoona (24-3) falls to 11-3 in the region. The second game of the two-game series is Tuesday at Allatoona. Both teams split with Harrison earlier this season which means region tiebreakers will could come into play depending on the result of Tuesday’s game.
Georgia continues to occupy a number of spaces in the latest Perfect Game High School Top 50 national poll.
Parkview is the highest ranked Georgia teams coming in at No.5. The Panthers swept a four-game spring break swing in Florida with victories over Jesuit, Sarasota, Venice and IMG Academy. The Panthers outscored those teams by a combined 14-1. Parkview extended it’s winning streak to 16 consecutive games with a pair of victories over Norcross this week. The Panthers have tallied seven shutouts during the winning streak.
Winder-Barrow (23-2) continues to climb the rankings moving up to No.7. The Bulldoggs have followed up their 3-1 showing in the National High School Invitational with a three-game sweep of region foe Habersham Central to go with two victories this week against Apalachee.
North Gwinnett (24-2) is the third Georgia team in the top ten coming in at No.9. The Bulldogs have won four of their last six games. They have defeated Discovery and Peachtree Ridge this week.
No.19 Allatoona (23-2) ran its winning streak to nine after defeating Stockbridge, Grayson County (KY) and North Atlanta at the Perfect Game Spring Fling at Lake Point. The Buccanners outscored those three foes by a combined 26-1 score. The Buccaneers rule-ruled Osborne 15-0 this week and face Dalton in a home-and-home series with region 6-6A first place on the line beginning Friday in Dalton.
Blessed Trinity (No. 12), Pope (No.15), Walton (No. 37) are the other teams in the Perfect Game HS Top 50.
Georgia’s four-time defending champion McEachern continues to work on its schedule for the upcoming 2017-18 high school basketball season. The Lady Indians again will play a national schedule with games in Texas, New York, Alabama and Washington D.C.
“We want to play tough competition,” Lady Indian head coach Phyllis Arthur responded when asked about the heavy schedule.
McEachern (26-6; 6-5 OOS last season) has lined up games with Stephenson and Greater Atlanta Christian along with an event at Parkview. The Lady Indians defeated Greater Atlanta Christian 86-55 in one of only six regular season home games and lone non-region home game last season.
The first annual Craig Sager Memorial Classic will be held November 18, 20 and 21 at Dacula High School. The tournament is in honor of the late sports broadcaster Craig Sager, who passed away in December of 2016 after battling acute myeloid leukemia (AML).
Thursday morning the tournament field was announced by event co-founder and head Dacula boys basketball coach Dr. Russ Triaga.
Triaga along with Sager’s son Craig Sager II are the founders of the tournament.
Tournament seeding will be conducted by an independent panel of Coaches, Media and Player Evaluators. There are three non-active coaches on the panel with a combined 12 state championships who still reside in Georgia and follow Georgia high school basketball.
A total of 32 teams will participate, 16 each of boys and girls. Host Dacula along with Buford, Lakeside-Dekalb, Therrell and Walnut Grove will each have both boys and girls teams in the tournament field. 48 games will be played in total.
Below are the girls teams in the field.
Archer (GA 7A semifinalist), Walnut Grove, Grayson, Douglass-Atlanta, Dacula, North Gwinnett, Duluth, Columbia, Holy Innocents (GA 1A Private Runner Up), Valdosta, Hebron, Shiloh, Buford (GA 5A Champion), Lakeside-Dekalb, Therrell and West Forsyth
The boys field will feature non-Georgia teams from Alabama, Florida and New York. Below are the boys teams.
Dacula, Harrison, Harris County, John’s Creek, South Gwinnett, Johnson-Savannah, Osbourne, Northview, Owego Free Academy (NY), Walnut Grove, Hialeah (FL), Therrell, Lakeside-Dekalb, Buford (GA 5A Champion), Discovery and Carver-Montgomery (AL).
Dacula will utilize both gyms on their campus for the tournament with boys and girls games being played at the same time. Each day games will begin in both gyms at 10 am with the final games beginning each night at 8:30 pm. Triaga said talks were “in progress” for live broadcasting/streaming of the event.
Winder-Barrow (7), North Gwinnett (9) and Allatoona (12) also come in ranked in the latest Max Preps Xcellent 25.
Here is a brief look at each team and their upcoming schedules this week.
Pope (19-2) had its 14-game winning streak snapped last week falling to Cambridge 4-2. Pope will face county rivals Lassiter and Walton this week. Chase Smith and Ryan Webb have been solid for Pope in the pitching department this season. Offensively the Greyhounds have been solid averaging just over seven runs per game while yielding just under three runs per game.
Winder-Barrow (18-2) went 3-1 at the National High School Invitational last week in Cary, NC with victories over No.3 Huntington Beach (CA), No.16 American Heritage (FL) and Rocky Mountain (CO). The Bulldoggs lost in the semifinals to Dana Hills (CA). Winder-Barrow will wrap up the regular season with series against Habersham Central, Apalachee and Lanier before the state playoffs. Darrel Woodall (P), Daniel Buice (P), Will Hargraves (IF/P), Beau Hanna (C) and Pat DeMarco (CF) pace the senior-laden team.
Allatoona (19-2) has won six in a row and will face Stockbridge and North Atlanta this week in the Perfect Game Spring Fling at Lake Point. An all-important 2-game region series against Dalton still remains on the schedule. Kyle Jacobsen is the highlight player for the Buccaneers. Jacobsen enters the week batting .471 with 21 RBI 3 HR and is 5-1 with a 0.95 ERA and 23 strikeouts on the mound. David Smith (C; .417 24 RBI 2 HR), Payton Eeles (2B; .368 13 RBI), Blake Evans (SS; .417 6 RBI), Skylar McPhee (3B; .343 16 RBI) and Tyler Messick (1B/3B; .324 13 RBI) make Allatoona a championship contender in the heavy 6A classification. Head coach Keith Hanson recorded his 300th career victory earlier this season in a 10-1 victory over Creekview.
Class 7A is represented by North Gwinnett, Parkview and Walton.
North Gwinnett (20-1) opened the season winning its first 20 games before falling last week 6-2 to Mill Creek. The Bulldogs pitching is anchored by seniors Jake Brace and Cade Heil. Brace is 5-1 with a 1.43 ERA to go with 32 strikeouts. Heil is 4-0 with a 2.13 ERA and has fanned 53 batters this season. Sophomore Micah Borah leads the team in batting average at .463 and is second in RBIs with 20. Parker Coyne leads the team in RBIs with 22 and is batting .437 with a pair of dingers on the season.
Parkview (18-3) opened a four-game stretch over spring break in Florida with a 3-0 victory over Jesuit (No.12 in Baseball America HS Top 25) on Monday. The Panthers will face Sarasota (FL), Venice (FL) and IMG Academy (FL) this week while in Florida. Parkview will close the regular season with two-game series against Norcross, Meadowcreek and Brookwood after returning from Florida. Senior Joey DeMasi has powered the Panthers at the plate this season batting .361 with 32 RBI and 8 HR. Logan Cherney (.424) and Jonathan French (.325) are tied for second on the team in RBIs with 18 apiece. Caleb Mitchell and Braden Hays bring the heat from the mound. Mitchell is 5-1 with a 0.92 ERA and 35 strikeouts while Hays is 5-0 with a 2.15 ERA and 39 strikeouts.
Walton (18-4) was ranked as high as eighth this season in the Perfect Game Top 50 comes in at No. 30. The Raiders split two games with Etowah last week and will face Cambridge and county rival Pope in a rematch of last seasons state championship series this week. Walton will close out the regular season with a pair of three-game series against Lassiter and Woodstock. Senior pitcher Luke Bartnicki has tossed a no-hitter this season, has over 55 strikeouts and has hit 90-plus on the radar gun multiple times.
Charles Bassey (St. Anthony’s, TX) finished with 35 points and 16 rebounds as the East defeated the West 117-107 in the Underclassmen All-American National Game. The East, coached by former Florida Gator and NBA player Jason Williams, overcame a 15-point deficit behind Bassey’s 23 second-half points.
DJ Jeffries (Olive Branch, MS) finished with 14, Isaac Johnson (American Fork, UT) tallied 12, Matthew Hunt (John Marshall, MN) put in 11, Isaiah Todd (John Marshall, VA) scored 10 while Sharife Cooper (McEachern, GA) finished with 9 points guiding the comeback from his point guard position.
Bassey’s was named the East team MVP.
James Wiseman (Ensworth TN) led the West with 21 points and 13 rebounds and was named the West team MVP. “KyKy” Tandy (University Heights Academy, KY) netted 16, De’Vion Harmon (Guyer, TX) finished with 13 while Isaac Okoro (McEachern, GA) and Xavier Foster (Oskaloosa, IA) each finished with 12. Former Georgia Bulldog and NBA standout Jarvis Hayes coached the West team.
Isaiah Miller (Newton, GA), also known as “Jumping Jack Flash”, won the dunk contest defeating Damien Rosser (Henry County, GA), Alex O’Connell (Milton, GA) and Devan Cambridge (Pro Vision, TX). Dominique Wilkins was one of five judges for the dunk contest which took place between the National and Select games.
In the Select game the West outlasted the East 77-76. The West was led by Marcus Watson (Buford, GA) with 21 points. Watson was named West team MVP. Ebenezer Dowouna (Heritage Christian, GA) tallied 12 while Chase Hunter (Westlake, GA) completed the double-figure scorers for the West with ten.
Kira Lewis (Hazel Green, AL) led the East with 19 points and was name East MVP. Isaac Martin (Wheeler, GA) and Dontae Allen (Pendleton County, KY) each finished with 11 while Isaiah Adams (Paxon, FL) just missed double figures with nine.
Both games featured underclassmen from the classes of 2019 and 2020 meaning all players had completed either thier freshman or sophomore seasons in high school basketball.
Updated: McEachern(26-6) finished ranked No.1 in class 7A but unranked nationally in the Max Preps Xcellent 25 final rankings. Norcross (29-3) finished ranked No.2 in class 7A and No. 22 in the Max Preps Xcellent 25.
Phyllis Arthur was named 7A Coach of the Year and Que Morrison (Georgia) 7A Player of the Year by the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Lindsey Whilby (Texas Tech) was named second team All-State by the AJC.
The McEachern Lady Indians (26-6) extended its state record consecutive state tournament game winning streak to 20 while winning its fourth straight championship in the highest classification with a 75-68 victory over rival Norcross.
Norcross lead 22-15 entering the second quarter and maintained a lead for much of the second quarter. Que Morrison shifted the tenor of the game in the final 30 seconds by scoring the last five points of the half. Morrison connected a three-pointer and then scored on a fast break layup to pull McEachern to within one, 38-37 at halftime. Morrison scored 17 of her 22 first-half points in the second quarter. McEachern’s only lead of the first half was 1-0 in the opening minutes.
Lindsey Whilby connected on a three-pointer as part of a McEachern 8-2 run in the first two minutes of the second half to take a 45-40 lead and would never trailed again. McEachern continued to play at its patented uptempo pace however Norcross would manage to tie it 53-all late in the third quarter on a Taylor Mason bucket. McEachern led 58-55 at the end of three quarters.
The Lady Indians opened the fourth quarter with a small 6-0 spurt to take its biggest lead of the game 64-55 after a pair of Whilby free throws. Reserve Victoria Agyin scored the final 11 points of the game for McEachern as Norcross never got closer than three points the final five minutes of the contest.
“I told them early on if we keep it close to halftime we would win the game because we could outrun them,” McEachern head coach Phyllis Arthur said. “I told them to be patience on offense and that on defense they were beating us man-to-man so we went zone and packed it in the lane and start attacking to make them foul us.”
Morrison finished with a game-high 24 points to go with six rebounds and four assists while Whilby, Agyin and Jewel Smalls each finished with 13 for McEachern. Alexis Burke chipped in seven points and Jasmine Clements finished with four points and game-high 11 rebounds.
Vanessa Blagmon tallied 23 points, Taylor Mason netted 17 and Tionna Carter posted a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
In addition to the championship being McEachern’s fourth straight it was was also their fifth in the last six years.
“Oh my god it’s the best feeling I could ever have,” Arthur exclaimed afterwards. “When nobody else believed we could do it, we even had friends and family members that thought we couldn’t do it because we lost some valuable players, we had girls to step up like Vic (Victoria Agyin) and Alexis Burke, they stepped up and did their jobs, never lost faith and never waivered, they knew from the beginning we could do it.”
McEachern played the latter part of the regular season and all of the state tournament without starters Chanel Wilson, Symone Oliver and Daimaya McPherson who were all out due to season ending injuries suffered in mid-to-late January.
“It says a lot about our program, our younger girls that come in everyday and work hard. I’m just so proud of them, they did a great job and have been working hard all year long,” Arthur responded when asked about the depth of her team in overcoming the injuries. “All of them are stars in my book because they all did what they had to do to win.”
McEachern completed the season on a 15-game winning streak avenging their only in-state loss to Norcross (in season opener). The Lady Indians posted a 6-5 record against out-of-state opponents. Their out-of-state opponents finished with a combined winning percentage of 81%. McEachern defeated Georgia 5A runner-up Southwest DeKalb, 1A Private runner-up Holy Innocents and 3A semifinalist Greater Atlanta Christian in non-region play. The Lady Indians (Cobb County) defeated four Gwinnett County teams in the state tournament (South Gwinnett, Mill Creek, Archer and Norcross).
The McEachern Lady Indians will play in the finals for the fourth consecutive season after defeating Archer 78-58 Saturday at West Georgia University in Carrollton. In the process McEachern extended its record state tournament wins streak at the highest classification to 19.
McEachern (25-6) was led by senior Que Morrision who nearly posted a triple-double with 24 points, 10 assists, 7 rebounds and 5 steals. Lyndsey Whilby tallied 16 points while Jasmine Clements posted a double-double with 11 points and 17 rebounds. Jewell Smalls chipped in 11 points.
The Lady Indians trademark uptempo offense and pressure defense led to a 24-4 advantage in fastbreak points. McEachern also won the battle on the glass 54-32 scoring 25 second chance points in the process.
McEachern seized control of the game with a 28-4 run in the second quarter after Archer took a a nine-point lead 28-19. McEachern went on to win the quarter 30-13 and was never seriously threatened the remainder of the game.
Autumn Newby fell three assists shy of a triple-double with 18 points, 13 rebounds and 7 assists to lead Archer. Linsey Marchese tallied 13 points to go with 5 rebounds.
Archer was eliminated in the state tournament by McEachern for the fourth consecutive year.
McEachern, winners of fourteen in a row, will now turn its attention towards rival Norcross. Norcross (29-2) advanced to the 7A finals with a 37-30 victory over Collins Hill. Vanessa Blagmon tallied 13 points while Taylor Mason netted 11 for the Lady Blue Devils in the victory and will enter finals on an eleven game winning streak. Norcross is ranked tenth nationally in the Max Preps Xcellent 25 and No.1 in all state polls. McEachern is unranked nationally and No.2 in all state polls.
Norcross defeated McEachern 57-53 earlier this season in the Parkview Thanksgiving Tournament. Norcross has not loss to an opponent from Georgia, while the loss to Norcross is McEachern only loss to an opponent from Georgia this season.
McEachern holds a 5-3 series advantage, 2-1 in state championship games, against Norcross since the 2010-11 season. The two programs have combined to win the last seven state championships at the highest classification in Georgia since 2010.
The two powerhouse programs will make it eight state championships combined between the two after Saturday night’s battle at Georgia Tech’s McCamish Pavilion. Will Norcross tie the championship score at four or will McEachern win its fifth in the last six years and take a two-game advantage in the championship score.
No matter who wins both has set a fine example for girls and women’s basketball then, now and going forward.
Cedar Shoals has been knocking on the door of the championship game the last two seasons in the semifinals and it just would not open. Losses of one and two points in the semifinals prevented the Jaguars from playing for a state championship. Saturday at Columbus State University in Columbus, Ga the Jaguars kicked the door down and left no room for making a third straight semifinal loss.
Powerhouse and defending 5A champion Miller Grove has won seven titles in the last eight years were on the other sideline. The Wolverines are under the direction of first-year head coach Rasual Chester however the expectations at Miller Grove are the same, win championships.
George Wilson III put Miller Grove up 7-5 with a three-pointer with just over two minutes remaining in the first quarter, that would be the last time the Wolverines would lead. Cedar Shoals broke off one of their patented runs that never left the game in doubt.
Phlandrous Fleming nailed a three as the first quarter ended to put Cedar Shoals up 14-7. Fleming converted a three-point play to open the second quarter and A.J. Jones dropped in a three-pointer to cap a 15-0 run to give Cedar Shoals a 20-7 lead, the Jaguars never looked back.
“We have been playing a lot better defensively which forces teams to take bad shots and we have been great on the defensive boards which leads to transition buckets and it helps us find our rhythm,” Cedar Shoals head coach L’Dreco Thomas said about making massive runs all season.
Snipe Hall drilled a three to give Cedar Shoals a 42-16 lead in the third quarter that sent the Jaguars on their way to a 59-38 victory. The win is not so much a surprise as is the manner of it and margin of victory.
Fleming finished with a game-high 25 points, Stavion Stevenson scored 15, Hall tallied nine while Jones chipped in seven for Cedar Shoals.
“My staff came up with a great game plan and the players worked the plan to a T,” Thomas said. “(The players) were focused and confident.”
Cedar Shoals (27-4) held Miller Grove (21-9) to a season-low 38 points and held leading scoreer Naquante Hardy (20ppg avg) to a season-low five points. Before losing to Cedar Shoals, Miller Grove had only lost to McEachern (7A semifinalist), Wheeler (7A Sweet 16) and Columbia (5A Sweet 16) from the state of Georgia.
“We knew we had to limit (Hardy’s) scoring opportunities and know where he was at all times,” Thomas said. ” I think switching defenses throughout the game gave them problems. We never let them get in a rhythm and we didn’t give up transition buckets.”
Cedar Shoals earned its first-ever appearance in the state championship for the boys program in school history. The girls program won the 1992 state championship under head coach Charles Turner and last played for a state championship in 1999 (lost to Pope).
Cedar Shoals will play for the 5A championship four miles from its campus at the University of Georgia’s Stegeman Coliseum.
The second-ranked Jaguars will face top-ranked Buford in the finals. Buford (28-2) earned its spot in the finals by defeating Fayette County (23-8) 83-60 behind 25 points and 14 rebounds by sophomore Marcus Watson. Alex Jones finished with 23 points while David Viti added 16 for the Wolves. Buford is the Region 8-5A champion and has not lost this season to a team from Georgia. Buford and Cedar Shoals have been ranked 1-2 since mid-January by multiple polls in the state.
“It’s an honor just to play in the state finals. To play in it in our hometown makes it special,” Thomas said.
It will be the fourth meeting this season between the two teams with Buford winning all three previous meetings. All three were competitive games with the region championship game having the largest margin of victory of the three contests.
Total Sports Coverage carried all three previous Buford-Cedar Shoals contest this season. Each game is available via the following archive links below…
“Buford is a great basketball team. We can’t look at it as they beat us three times, because right now those loses don’t count,” Thomas said. “The winner of this one gets the biggest prize. We will focus on their strength and things that we feel we can be exploited and instill those in our guys and just go play. We can’t worry about the past.”
Two teams that know each other well, one win is all they need to be the Georgia 5A state champ.
One can only think an expected near capacity crowd at Stegeman Coliseum will be ready to bring the funk and the noise in the Wednesday nightcap.
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