The second set of second round games in the GHSA State Tournament took place on Thursday night, and there were several really good games throughout the state. Our staff shares what you need to know from Thursday night and what to look forward to in the next round of games.
WHEELER HANGS ON AGAINST SHILOH
If you were looking for a pretty, smooth game with a lot of points, Wheeler and Shiloh taking the court wasn’t for you. If you were looking for kids playing their hearts out to advance to the next round of the state tournament, these teams delivered that in a big way as the Wildcats defeated the Generals in overtime, 65-64.
Wheeler forward Sam Hines, who signed with Denver University, led the way with 23 points in the win. He had several key buckets down the stretch, some tough rebounds, and plays that don’t get rewarded on the state sheet. Unsigned senior guard Prince Davies also shined late in this one and finished with 16 points.
For Shiloh, it was a trio of unsigned seniors leading the way. Caleb Golden, an off guard with Division 1 potential, led the way with over 20 points, including a 4-point play to bring the game within one point in overtime after Wheeler jumped out to a 5-point lead. Point guard Zawdie Jackson and big man Jordan Mitchell also had big nights for the Generals. With Thursday night’s win, Wheeler will host Berkmar in the quarterfinals next week.
NORTH GWINNETT KNOCKS OFF EAST COWETA
It usually takes a special type of team performance to knock off one of the state's most well respected teams with great senior leadership. That's what East Coweta is, and that's what North Gwinnett gave to eliminate them. While the Bulldogs squandered a nine-point lead late in the fourth quarter, including an incredible buzzer beater by Chris Youngblood to send the game to overtime, North was able to outlast the Indians in Double OT. RJ Godfrey, Brendan Rigsbee, Jared Ivey (Georgia Tech football signee), and JR Martin (Elon football signee) all performed brilliantly, and led the team to their second straight overtime victory. North Gwinnett will host defending state champions McEachern in the Elite 8 next week in what should be a really good contest.
NOTABLE PERFORMANCES AROUND THE STATE
In a battle of Cobb County private schools, Walker School took down Mt. Paran with a buzzer-beating shot from Chandler Baker. The unsigned senior forward finished with 17 points in the 43-41 victory.
Standout sophomore wing D’Ante Bass has had a huge year for Windsor Forest and kept it going with 17 points and 10 rebounds in the 80-55 win over Cherokee Bluff. Junior guard Shamar Norman chipped in 15 points.
Scoot Henderson (Pictured), arguably the top sophomore in the state, put up 24 points to help Kell get a big road victory over Warner Robins to advance to the Elite 8 in 5-A.
Fresh off commitments to USC-Aiken, senior guard Tyler Johnson and senior forward Quincy Canty led Cedar Shoals to a 52-50 overtime win over Wayne County. Canty tallied 21 points and seven rebounds, while Johnson added 15 points and seven rebounds.
We mentioned this possibility in our 6-A State Tournament preview and now it is happening. With Tucker and Tri-Cities both winning, the rematch of last year’s state championship will take place on Tuesday or Wednesday night. Get in line early if you plan to catch this one. Tucker’s Jermontae Hill and Terrance Edwards, two of the top unsigned seniors in the state, matched up with Tri-Cities junior guard Peyton Daniels and senior wing Demetrice Rives will be a battle.
In the 4-A bracket, Americus-Sumter travel up St. Pius X for the second straight year in the quarterfinals. Americus-Sumter won last year’s matchup and advanced all the way to the state championship before
losing Carver-Columbus. St. Pius X is peaking at the right time here and looking for a revenge in what should be one of the best games of the whole tournament.