Class AAA Quarterfinal preview

The quarterfinals of the Class AAA state basketball tournament are awash with games that will be tightly contested, which is no surprise considering the quality of teams remaining in the brackets on both sides of the classification. Most games, for lack of a better term, are too close to call.

On the boys side, few storylines draw more attention than Morgan County’s chance for a fifth title-game appearance, and for the Bulldogs, Central-Macon is the next test.

The Chargers (22-3) lost one game through a 12-1 region run – Central fell to Northeast (51-48) on Jan. 20. Since then, Central has compiled a 10-game winning streak, including a 65-61 victory against Northside-Warner Robins in overtime on Jan. 30. The momentum could pose a threat to Morgan, but the Bulldogs wound up on the good side of the GHSA’s universal coin-flip and will host the quarterfinal game.

On the same side of the bracket, Johnson-Savannah caught the sour side of the universal coin flip and will travel to Greater Atlanta Christian. If Johnson wins, it earns an all expenses paid trip to Armstrong Atlantic for the semifinals ... in Savannah.

The Spartans (25-3) will look for the home-court advantage to silence, or at least muffle, Johnson’s scoring threats. The Atom Smashers feature four players scoring in double-figures – Shamar Jones (19.7 points), Amanze Ngumezi (14.8 points), Eleik Bowles (11.0 points) and Emondre Bowles (10.6 points).

Another Savannah school, Jenkins, will play Cedar Grove, the No. 1 seed from Region 5. Jenkins took the No. 2 seed from Region 3 after falling to Johnson in the region title game. The Warriors are lucky to be standing after weathering a 52-49 thriller against Cook in the second round. Jenkins is led by the double-digit scoring trio of Tyrone Scott (14.7 points), Tre’ Mays (14.0 points) and Sai Fisher (10.9 points).

Cedar Grove is riding a 12-game winning streak, including a one-point victory against defending-champion Pace Academy in the Region 5 championship game.

The bottom right quadrant of the bracket features two potent offenses -- Westside-Macon (20-10) against Hart County (17-12). The Seminoles could be reeling from the loss of its star, Khavon Moore, who recently committed to Texas Tech. But since losing Moore in a victory against Central-Macon on Jan. 16, the Chargers have gone 11-2, losing only to Central, twice. Hart County took Morgan County to two overtimes in the Region 8 championship game before losing 71-68.

GIRLS 


On the girls side of the quarterfinals, we have a semifinal rematch, an opportunity for a flawless record to be shattered and a possibility of a championship game rematch.

The best opportunity for an upset comes in the bottom-left quadrant where Region 4 No. 1 Peach County is looking to spoil Franklin County’s flawless 29-0 record. The Lady Trojans last lost Jan. 19 against Veterans (55-47). Since then Peach has compiled a 10-game winning streak, including a slim 37-36 victory against Central-Macon in the Region 4 title game.

Since entering the tournament, Peach seems to have settled down and hit its stride. The Lady Trojans defeated Islands 61-35 and Pierce County 53-42 in the first two rounds. Franklin County’s path to the quarterfinals also has been as smooth with victories against Dawson County 56-35 and Cedar Grove 53-26. Peach will have to play a near-perfect game to take down the Lady Lions.

In the bottom right of the bracket, Haralson County, the top-seeded team from Region 6, will look to keep its 15-game winning-streak alive as it takes on Tattnall County. Haralson last lost Jan. 12 to North Murray (50-49) and have not been challenged since. The closest game was an eight-point victory against Spring Garden, Ala. (48-40) on Jan. 30. Tattnall County is riding a 9-game winning streak into the quarterfinals. The last loss came against Pierce County (54-41) on Jan. 16. The Lady Warriors got revenge on Pierce in the Region 2 title game Feb. 9 with a 53-45 victory.

In the top-right portion of the bracket, Lovett, the No. 1 seed from Region 5, will face last year’s runner-up Johnson-Savannah, the No. 2 seed from Region 3. The high-scoring Lovett team has compiled a 15-game winning streak since losing to Holy Innocents’ (69-28) on Jan. 3. Since entering the tournament, both Lovett and Johnson have won by nearly 20 points or more in each of the first two games.

Quarterfinal schedule

BOYS

R4#1 Central-Macon at R8#1 Morgan County

R3#2 Jenkins at R5#1 Cedar Grove

R3#1 Johnson-Savannah at R7#1 GACS

R4#2 Westside-Macon at R8#2 Hart County

Quarterfinal schedule

GIRLS

R3#1 Beach vs. R7#1 GACS

R4#1 Peach County vs. R8#1 Franklin County

R3#2 Johnson-Savannah vs. R5#1 Lovett

R2#1 Tattnall County vs. R6#1 Haralson County

Full Tournament Schedule

BOYS

Class AAA

First Round

Feb. 16-17

R5#2 Pace Academy 62, R6#3 Sonoraville 43

R7#1 Greater Atlanta Christian 76, R8#4 East Jackson 43

R1#2 Monroe 79, R2#3 Liberty County 69

R3#1 Johnson-Savannah 88, R4#4 Kendrick 68

R5#3 Towers 81, R6#2 Bremen 59

R8#1 Morgan County 61, R7#4 North Hall 29

R2#2 Long County 86, R1#3 Dougherty 85

R4#1 Central-Macon 67, R3#4 Beach 39

R7#2 Dawson County 66, R8#3 Monroe Area 53

R5#1 Cedar Grove 60, R6#4 Ringgold 40

R3#2 Jenkins 59, R4#3 Jackson 39

R1#1 Cook 67, R2#4 Pierce County 59

R8#2 Hart County 65, R7#3 East Hall 50

R5#4 Redan 45, R6#1 Calhoun 41

R4#2 Westside-Macon 65, R3 #3 Islands 57

R1#4 Crisp County 73, R2#1 Tattnall County 62

Second Round

Feb. 21-22

R7#1 GACS 57, R5#2 Pace Academy 54

R3#1 Johnson-Savannah 74, R1#2 Monroe 55

R8#1 Morgan County 64, R5#3 Towers 49

R4#1 Central-Macon 62, R2#2 Long County 49

R5#1 Cedar Grove 64, R7#2 Dawson County 52

R3#2 Jenkins 52, R1#1 Cook 49

R8#2 Hart County 62, R5#4 Redan 39

R4#2 Westside-Macon 75, R1#4 Crisp County 64

Quarterfinals

Feb. 27-28

R4#1 Central-Macon at R8#1 Morgan County

R3#2 Jenkins at R5#1 Cedar Grove

R3#1 Johnson-Savannah at R7#1 GACS

R4#2 Westside-Macon at R8#2 Hart County

GIRLS

Class AAA

First Round

Feb. 16-17

R6#3 Coahulla Creek 53, R5#2 Pace Academy 44

R7#1 Greater Atlanta Christian 70, R8#4 Monroe Area 39

R1#2 Cook 58, R2#3 Long County 52

R3#1 Beach 64, R4#4 Pike County 13

R5#3 Cedar Grove 40, R6#2 Sonoraville 39

R8#1 Franklin County 56, R7#4 Dawson County 35

R2#2 Pierce County 69, R1#3 Dougherty 48

R4#1 Peach County 61, R3#4 Islands 35

R7#2 East Hall 63, R8#3 Hart County 52

R5#1 Lovett 52, R6#4 Lakeview-FO 27

R3#2 Johnson-Savannah 60, R4#3 Rutland 33

R1#1 Monroe 67, R2#4 Liberty County 29

R8#2 Morgan County 64, R7#3 North Hall 52

R6#1 Haralson County 61, R5#4 Stone Mountain 34

R4#2 Central-Macon 59, R3#3 Jenkins 32

R2#1 Tattnall County 61, R1#4 Worth County 26

Second Round

Feb. 21-22

R7#1 GACS 68, R6#3 Coahulla Creek 28

R3#1 Beach 56, R1#2 Cook 27

R8#1 Franklin Co. 53, R5#3 Cedar Grove 26

R4#1 Peach County 53, R2#2 Pierce County 42

R5#1 Lovett 58, R7#2 East Hall 39

R3#2 Johnson-Savannah 64, R1#1 Monroe 57

R6#1 Haralson Co. 53, R8#2 Morgan Co. 40

R2#1 Tattnall Co. 54, R4#2 Central-Macon 45

Quarterfinals

Feb. 27-28

R3#1 Beach vs. R7#1 GACS

R4#1 Peach County vs. R8#1 Franklin County

R3#2 Johnson-Savannah vs. R5#1 Lovett

R2#1 Tattnall County vs. R6#1 Haralson County

About the Author

X