Previewing GHSA AAAAA Elite Eight
Clarke Central vs. Southwest DeKalb – Tuesday 6:30pm
Clarke Central pulled the biggest upset of the classification’s state tournament so far by knocking off Eagles Landing in the second round. Senior guard Jaiquez Smith has been the leader for Clarke Central all year and has come up big during the most important time of the year with big efforts in the win over Eagles Landing as well as a first-round win over Maynard Jackson, both of which came on the road. SWD has somewhat cruised to this point with two double figure wins in the first two rounds. Ohio State signee Eugene Brown has been bending rims and producing high point totals through those games, including 21 points against Griffin in the second round. Clarke Central will need to limit Brown if they want to continue their road success.
Cedar Shoals vs. Lithonia - Wednesday 7:00pm
How many times have we seen Cedar Shoals in this situation over the last few years? Head coach L’Dreco Thomas has quietly built one of the most successful programs in the state and this year’s team is as tough as any. The Jaguars are led by a pair of recent USC-Aiken commits in Quincy Canty and Tyler Johnson. The duo combined for 36 of the Jags’ 52 points in an overtime win over Wayne County in the second round. Lithonia will be a tough challenge as they have one of the most talked about players in the country in Eric Gaines, who scored what seemed to be an easy 20 points in a second-round win over Veterans. Gaines is also scheduled for an official visit to LSU this weekend.
Buford vs. Kell - Wednesday 6:30pm
Like Cedar Shoals, Buford has become a mainstay in the final rounds of the state tournament under head coach Eddie Martin including winning two of the last three state championships in AAAAA. This Wolves team, however, is comprised of players without a lot of experience. Sebastian Augustave and James Munlyn, both newcomers to the program, have been relied on heavily and have responded well in the blowout wins in the first two rounds. To get to the semifinals, however, they will have to deal with Georgia’s hottest player, Kell sophomore Scoot Henderson. Henderson went for 49 in a first round win over Miller Grove and added 24 more in a win at Warner Robins.
Dutchtown vs. Columbia – Tuesday 6:30pm
Columbia have somewhat quietly worked their way through the season and postseason, despite a very rich program history under head coach Fred McCrary. Devin Longstreet has been a big factor all year and the Eagles have also gotten great production from Julius Coleman to get them to this point. Dutchtown upset Region 6 winner Riverwood in the second round behind big play from their trio of Jamaine Mann (Pictured), Cam Bryant, and Kameron Hobbs. This should be a very competitive contest down in Henry County.