The girls’ final four is set – Collins Hill vs. Norcross and Archer vs. McEachern – for the University of West Georgia on Saturday.
That’s as the Class AAAAAAA blog predicted it, which says more about the calibre of those top teams than anything else.
Take three-time defending champion McEachern. The Indians crushed fifth-ranked Mill Creek 77-29. It was 42-13 at halftime, and the fourth quarter was played with a running clock. McEachern has won 18 straight state-playoff games. The longest previous streak in the highest classification was 16 by Lowndes (1977-80).
McEachern, ranked No. 2, advances to play sixth-ranked Archer and will be favored again.
Archer defeated Colquitt County 55-50. Archer star Autumn Newby scored 12 points in the first half (including Archer's first 10 points) but left in the second quarter with a leg injury and did not return, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post. Archer’s 13-point lead dwindled, but the Tigers held on. Asia McCoy finished with 15 points. Newby, a 6-2 forward, has signed with Vanderbilt.
In the top half of the draw, fourth-ranked Collins Hill defeated third-ranked Lambert 57-46 at Lambert, as reported by ajc.com’s Adam Krohn. Collins Hill opened a 21-point lead in the first half. The Eagles were led by 6-foot-3 sophomore forward Javyn Nicholson, who scored 14 points, Bria Harmon (13 points) and Katherine Fourie (10 points).
That could be called an upset, but most observers of the girls’ game would say Collins Hill was the more talented team.
Norcross, ranked No. 1, defeated unranked but perennially competitive Westlake 57-44. Westlake had beaten Norcross 39-37 in last year's round of 16. Norcross, ranked No. 10 in MaxPreps' national Xcellent 25, has made the semifinals five of the past seven seasons and won in 2010, 2011 and 2013.
Update: This morning, I asked Becky Taylor of the Georgia Basketball Project how McEachern's margin of victory ranked all-time in the quarterfinals (below). That would be tied for seventh.
What's interesting is that the score nearly matches one from 2006 in which Maya Moore's Collins Hill team won 81-28 - also against Mill Creek. McEachern won 77-29.
56: Wesleyan 92, Towns County 36 (2009, Class A)
54: Wesleyan 95, Darlington 41 (2012, Class A)
54: Lowndes 90, Wayne County 36 (1980, Class AAAA)
53: Collins Hill 81, Mill Creek 28 (2006, Class AAAAA)
48: Wesleyan 81, Social Circle 33 (2001, Class A)
48: Albany 77, Dalton 29 (1953, Class AA)
48: McEachern 77, Mill Creek 29 (2017, Class AAAAAAA)
R6 #2 Collins Hill 57, R5 #1 Lambert 46
R7 #1 Norcross 57, R2 #1 Westlake 44
R8 #1 Archer 55, R1 #1 Colquitt County 50
R3 #1 McEachern 77, R6 #1 Mill Creek 29
Semifinals (Saturday at West Georgia)
Collins Hill vs. Norcross, 2 p.m.
McEachern vs. Archer, 6 p.m.