Prep Zone

Atlanta high school sports news from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Quarterfinals review; semifinals preview

We’re down to the final four in the boys and girls Class AA tournaments. On the boys’ side, it’s Vidalia, Laney, Thomasville and Glenn Hills; the girls’ side has Model, Laney, Fitzgerald and Josey remaining.

As far as my predictions go, the boys’ side is the worst bracket I’ve ever filled out. I didn’t hit on any final four picks and the team I picked to win it — Therrell — lost by 21 to Glenn Hills in the quarterfinals. So that bracket is officially toast and in this case, the rankings served as the best guide — with the exception of unranked Vidalia — as three of the four remaining teams are ranked Nos. 1-3.

On the girls’ side, I correctly picked three of the four finalists, missing on Model, which I had losing to Dodge County — Model won 79-63. My prediction of an all Region 4 final between Laney and Josey is still intact.

Let’s take a look at what happened in the quartefinals and preview the semifinals. But first, here are some links:


What happened in the quarters

Vidalia 84, Jordan 49

The Jordan Red Jackets were fortunate to have made it this far and even moreso since they got to host in the quarterfinals. Afterall, they had a 14-12 record heading into their game with Vidalia, the worst of any remaining team in any classification. Any sense of their belonging was quickly pushed to the wayside by the Indians, themselves an unranked team whom not many picked to make it this far.

The Indians had five double-digit scorers and outrebounded Jordan 47-13, according to Jordan D. Hill of the Ledger-Enquirer.

No. 1 Laney 70, No. 6 South Atlanta 55

The Wildcats have won 19 in a row and steamrolled past the defending state champs behind an all-around effort from starters and backups, according to David Lee of The Augusta Chronicle.

No. 3 Thomasville 84, Spencer 45

The Bulldogs topped Vidalia for the bracket’s most lopsided quarterfinals score and dominated the Greenwave. And like Vidalia, the Bulldogs did so on the road after losing the GHSA’s universal coin toss. The Bulldogs dominated from start to finish, led by Vonterious Woolbright (17 points), Titus Wright (14 points, 11 rebounds) and Reggie Perry (17 rebounds), according to David Almeda of the Thomasville Times-Enterprise.

No. 2 Glenn Hills 73, No. 5 Therrell 52

The Spartans are playing like the team that was ranked No. 1 for most of the season, and doing so at the right time. They blew past the Panthers — a team that swept Laney’s quarterfinals opponent — South Atlanta — during the regular season, with Tim Williamson’s 23 points leading the way according to The Augusta Chronicle.


Vidalia Indians (22-8; No. 3, Region 2) vs. No. 1 Laney Wildcats (28-3; No. 1, Region 4)

When, where: 4 p.m., Saturday at Georgia College and State University

The unranked Indians — the tournament’s lone-remaining No. 3-seed — are gunning for one of the biggest upsets of the tournament, regardless of classification. The survived the bracket’s weakest quadrant, sailing smoothly with the exception of their 52-46 upset win over No. 8 Washington County. They’re in the semifinals for the first time since 2015 and still chasing their first title in a program history that dates back to 1924.

The top-ranked Wildcats were also last in the semis in 2015, which was the last of four consecutive years making it at least that far. They’ve won all their playoff games by double digits and are vying for their second-ever state title, with the first coming in 2012.

No. 3 Thomasville Bulldogs (26-3; No. 1, Region 1) vs. No. 2 Glenn Hills Spartans (27-2; No. 2, Region 4)

When, where: 8 p.m., Saturday at Georgia College & State University

The Spartans, led by seven seniors, are in the semifinals for the first time since 2008, when they won the AAA title — the only championship in program history. All of their playoff wins have been of the double-digit variety.

The Bulldogs are in the semis for the first time since 2010 and are chasing their first state title in a program history that dates back to 1914. 


 What happened in the quarters

No. 6 Model 79, No. 3 Dodge County 63

The Lady Blue Devilspulled away in the second quarter and never looked back. South Carolina signee Victaria Saxton posted a monster triple-double, with 24 points, 29 rebounds and 10 blocks, coming just for assists shy of a quadruple-double, according to Jeremy Stewart of the Rome News-Tribune.

No. 1 Laney 54, No. 2 Banks County 38

That the Lady Leopards were AA’s No. 2-ranked team and the Lady Wildcats blew past them shows how dominant of a team they have, in addition to being 30-0. De’Sha Benjamin led Laney with 23 points, seven rebounds and six steals according to stats posted on MaxPreps.

No. 10 Fitzgerald 70, No. 8 Rabun County 65

The Lady Purple Hurricane built a double-digit lead in the first half and held on, according to accessWDUN. Kirstin Crook led the way with 28 points on 6-for-12 field goal shooting and 16-for-18 from the free throw line, while Kyah Crook had 18 rebounds and 13 points, according to stats posted on the team’s Twitter account.

No. 2 Josey 57, Douglass 39

The Lady Eagles stormed to a double digit win over the only remaining unranked team in the tournament. The Rolland twins led the way, with Tykedra scoring 18 points and Rykeria adding 16, according to the Lady Eagles’ Twitter account.


No. 6 Model Lady Blue Devils (25-3; No. 1, Region 7) vs. No. 1 Laney Lady Wildcats (30-0; No. 1, Region 4)

When, where: 2 p.m., Saturday at Georgia College and State University

The Lady Wildcats have won 60 games in a row and seem destined for their second straight title and third in the last for seasons, which would cap a dominating run for the senior class led by Benjamin. 

The Lady Blue Devils are an excellent team who made the semis last year and the quarterfinals in the previous two seasons, led by Saxton. However, beating Laney would take a huge upset but would stamp their ticket to their first championship appearance since 2009.

No. 10 Fitzgerald Lady Purple Hurricane (15-5, No. 1, Region 1) vs. No. 4 Josey Lady Eagles (28-4; No. 2, Region 4)

When, where: 6 p.m., Saturday at Georgia College and State University

The Lady Purple Hurricane are in the final four as the lowest-ranked team, but it’s no surprise given how they’ve been playing, led by Kirsten Crook. This is the furthest the program has ever been, so they’re in unchartered territory.

The Lady Eagles have the Rolland twins, who are juniors, and find themselves in the semis for the first time since 2000 and are seeking their first state title since 1998.

Historical data courtesy of the Georgia High School Basketball Project. Follow the AJC’s Class AA coverage on Twitter.

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