GHSA State Tournament Sweet 16 Notes
In what was probably a surprise to the majority of people watching, Pace Academy went into the half tied at 23 with Banks County on Friday night. In the second half, Florida State signee Matthew Cleveland (pictured) cranked up the energy and helped lead the Knights to a comfortable win. The consensus five-star prospect tallied 29 points and 13 rebounds in the 70-40 win and dominated on both ends of the court. There were rim-rattling dunks as well as some mid-range jumpers. Another impressive showing for Cleveland, who went over 2,000 career points in the win.
McEachern got a huge overtime win in the most highly anticipated matchup in the 7-A second round. The Indians got fantastic performances from their backcourt, led by Arkansas signee Chance Moore with 20 points and Georgia signee Cam McDowell with 19 points. They also performed really well defensively and were able to keep the Grayson guards in check enough to come out with a victory. They will take on Collins Hill in the Elite 8.
Berkmar looks like a real threat to win the championship in the 7-A bracket and it’s because of the balanced attack the Patriots have. Jameel Rideout is the steady hand at point guard that can also score it. Destin Logan and Jermahri Hill are athletic wing scorers with size at 6-foot-4. And not many teams will be equipped to handle Malique Ewin and Dara Olonade in the paint with their size and athleticism. Cherokee fought tough in the first half, but the overall talent on Berkmar’s was too much in the second half as the Patriots stormed out to a 69-49 win.
In another matchup that was competitive in the first half, it was Milton point guard Bruce Thornton who helped the Eagles put Archer away in the second half with another dominant performance. The future Ohio State point guard tallied 20 points and 8 assists while also playing tough on the defensive end. His decision-making sets him apart from many of the guard around the state and the country.
In 5-A, Veterans just keeps on rolling. They have now won 23 straight and remain unbeaten after advancing to the Elite 8 with a win over defending champions in 4-A, Woodward Academy. This team plays hard, fast, and with a chip on their shoulders. Usually its TJ Grant or DeAngelo Hines doing the most damage on the scoresheet, but in the win over Woodward it was junior guard Tajh Williams. This team is a legitimate threat to win state and have been flying way under the radar from middle Georgia.
McDonough has a very interesting team, and has quietly crept their way into the 4-A Elite 8. The Warhawks have a good young group of players led by sophomore Amon McDowell. Junior Jordon Gix, sophomore Ne’Kyle Willams, and freshman Keenan Gray are also major contributors. They will travel down to Albany to take on Monroe in the quarterfinals.
Eagles Landing sophomore guard David Thomas has comfortably put himself among Georgia’s top players in the 2023 class. He showed off his scoring prowess, going for a big 28 points in a blowout second round win over Forest Park. He has a natural ability on the offensive end to score the ball and set up teammates. He makes great reads and will be a highly recruited player over the next couple of years.