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GHSA 7A State Championship Preview


Region: 5-AAAAAAA

Record: 25-6 (7-3)

Key Players: Cameron Pope, Tayden Owens, Dastin Hart, Lawrence Sanford, Mason Bennett, Braylin Giddens

Road to Macon: vs. West Forsyth (59-45), vs. Berkmar (73-58), at Carrollton (70-66), vs. Norcross (63-60)


Region: 5-AAAAAAA

Record: 25-6 (10-0)

Key Players: Isaiah Collier, Arrinten Page, Jelani Hamilton, DJ Mitchell, Ricky McKenzie, Calvino Stallworth

Road to Macon: vs. Milton (81-61), vs. North Gwinnett (74-49), at McEachern (79-71), vs. Grayson (67-55)


Cherokee's run through the AAAAAAA bracket has been one of the best playoff storylines that we've had in Georgia in a few years. Though not many expected it, they have had the right combination of elements make the run, and their region rivals Wheeler now stand in their way Saturday night.

The Warriors have great senior leadership in the form of Cameron Pope, Tayden Owens, Dastin Hart, Mason Bennett, and Braylin Giddens. Any combination of those guys can help win games on any given night. However, it was sophomore guard Lawrence Sanford who was a major standout against Norcross in the semifinals, and they will need him to be big again, as he provides a presence that can create off the bounce and score with his quickness and athleticism.

Wheeler are winners of 16 straight and are arguably the most talented team in Georgia with three high major signees in Isaiah Collier (USC), Arrinten Page (USC), and Jelani Hamilton (Iowa State). They took down Cherokee three times this season already, including a big win in the region championship. It's not a question of whether they will get production from them, because they will. But who will step up among the other players on the roster? Junior guard Ricky McKenzie has been that guy a couple times this postseason, including in the semifinals against Grayson.


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