Miller Grove's Maurice Harvey (Photo - Mark Brock)
The coin flips have been completed and all the sites for the third round of the Class AAAAA playoffs have been determined. The schedule is listed below.
Buford boys win at the buzzer
The No. 1-ranked Buford boys needed a shot at the buzzer to survive a second-round scare and advance to the Elite Eight.
No. 8 New Hampstead pushed the Wolves to the limit on Thursday night, but Buford prevailed 69-68 on a last second shot.
The Phoenix had taken the lead 68-67 with nine seconds left when O’ronte Anderson made a 3-pointer, giving him 33 for the night. But Buford did not call timeout and rushed the ball downcourt, where point guard Alex Jones drove the lane and made a short pull-up jumper in traffic to win the game.
Buford led 67-63 when Jones scored with 35.9 seconds left. The Phoenix fouled Buford’s Donell Nixon with 29.4 seconds and he missed the front end of a one-and-one.
New Hampstead grabbed the rebound and set up a play for Anderson, who came off a pick and fired a contested 3-pointer that swished the net. The Phoenix rushed back on defense, but could not prevent Jones from dropping home the winning shot.
“There’s a time frame right there where I’m going to use a timeout, but when put ball in Alex’s hands right there – I saw him do it so many times last year – to have confidence to know that if we got the ball in his hands and they didn’t trap him immediately, then he was going to get down the floor and make something happen,” Buford coach Eddie Martin said.
“If we call timeout, they get a chance to set up their defense and he might not get his hands on the ball again. It’s a gamble, but I’ve been doing this long enough to have an idea of what might happen.”
Buford (26-2) got 20 points from Marcus Watson, who had four 3-pointers, and 17 from David Viti. Jones finished with 13 points.
In other boys games:
No. 2 Cedar Shoals went on the road and eliminated Region 2 champion Statesbor 48-35. Philandrous Fleming scored 22 points and grabbed 19 rebounds for the Jaguars.
No. 3 Warner Robins (26-3) outscrapped Southwest DeKalb 65-45 to avenge last year's defeat to the Panthers. Nelson Phillips scored all 24 of his points in the second half for the Demons. Phillips sparked a 9-0 run to start the second half to lead the rout. Jacolbey Owens added 15 points. Mandarius Dickerson led SWD with four 3-pointers.
No. 4 Miller Grove used a 14-0 run in the third quarter and beat Starr's Mill 55-33. The Wolverines (20-8) got 16 points from Naquante Hardy and 11 for Maurice Harvey and reach the Elite Eight for the 10th consecutive season.
No. 9 Riverwood (23-5) got a 3-pointer from Chamchai Chantha with six seconds left and stunned No. 7 Eagle’s Landing (21-7). Chantha scored 16. Eagle’s Landing was led by Mohammed Abubakkar with 18, but he fouled out and was not on the floor at the end.
Carver (17-13) continued its hot postseason play, beating Dutchtown 66-57 for its sixth straight win. Carver was led by Kenny Atkins with 23 points. Deandre Watson scored 18 and Bryce Parks scored 17 for Dutchtown.
Lithonia continued its unexpected run with a 55-45 win over Riverdale. The Bulldogs (13-16) got 18 points from Zion Cain and 13 from Christian Parker. Lithonia moves on to the quarterfinals for the third straight season, despite losing most of last year's semifinal team.
Flowery Branch girls derail Statesboro
Flowery Branch was the only team to knock off a No. 1-seeded team in the second round. The No. 6-ranked Falcons (23-6) defeated Region 2 champion Statesboro 59-36 on Wednesday. Lexie Sengkhammee scored 18 points, including five 3-point baskets, and Taniyah Worth scored 13 for The Branch. Julianne Sutton scored 10 for Flowery Branch. Statesboro never found a way to handle Flowery Branch's pressure, which helped the Falcons run off to a 11-2 start. Statesboro (19-9) got 10 points from Lacy Robins.
In other girls games:
No. 2 Buford got little resistance from Ware County in a 76-44 win. The Wolves (26-2) were led by Audrey Weiner with 15 and Tory Ozment with 13. The Wolves lost the coin flip and will play their Elite Eight game on the road at Warner Robins.
No. 3 Warner Robins (27-1) overcame a slow second half and eliminated Columbia 61-43. Kezie Holmes led the Demons with 19 points and Courtney Walker added 11 points and 12 rebounds. Columbia's Deidra Harris scored 16 points.
No. 4 Southwest DeKalb (25-4) earned its 10th trip to the quarterfinals in the last 12 seasons with a 45-26 win over McIntosh. The Panthers were led by Ruona Uwusaiba with 17 points and five rebounds and Jada Walton added nine points, five rebounds and four assists. McIntosh (20-9) got 16 points and six rebounds from DeLayne Rotolo.
No. 5 Carrollton (29-1) outscored Fayette County 23-9 in the third quarter and rolled to a 58-48 win over Fayette County.
No. 9 Eagle’s Landing got 12 points from Ashley Foster and 11 from Kiera Howard in a 53-39 win over Lithia Springs. Eagle’s Landing (25-3) used a 16-2 spurt in the third quarter to distance itself from the Lions.
Eagle’s Landing (25-3) at. Southwest DeKalb (25-4)
Flowery Branch (23-6) at Carrollton (29-1)
Buford (26-2) at Warner Robins (27-1)
Griffin (27-1) at Jackson (23-2)
Riverwood (23-5) at Miller Grove (20-8)
Lithonia (13-16) at Cedar Shoals (25-4)
Warner Robins (26-3) at Buford (26-2)
Carver (17-13) at Fayette County (22-7)