Previewing GHSA AAAAAAA Elite Eight
Newton vs. Milton - Tuesday 7:30pm
Like guards? This is a game for you. Both teams have relied on their backcourts to get to this point, and that reliance won’t change here. Newton CG and Georgia Southern signee Caleb Byrd is coming off one of his best games of the season with 35 points in a second-round win over Westlake. The Rams have also been receiving good production from TJ Clark, Jordan Marshall, and Qua Brown in the postseason. Meanwhile, Milton sophomore guard Bruce Thornton has lived up to his billing as one of the top players in the state, averaging 21 points through the first two rounds. They have also gotten significant contributions from Kanaan Carlyle, Evan Hurst, and Devin Farrell. Though he should be able to go in this one, keep an eye on the health of Kanaan Carlyle, who did not play Milton’s win over North Cobb in the second round. Carlyle is one of the Peach’s best freshmen and had 26 points in the first round.
Wheeler vs. Berkmar - Wednesday 7:00pm
Two of Georgia’s more notable programs through the years come together off second round games that could not have been more different. Berkmar rolled through Kennesaw Mountain on the backs on Cam Blount and Jalen Deloach with Malique Ewin securing the paint. On the other hand, Wheeler survived a grind-it-out style game against Shiloh in overtime. The Wildcats leaned heavily on Denver signee Sam Hines, who has been one of the state’s hottest players coming down the stretch this season, as well as big man Jaheim Hudson. They’ll need another big performance from Hines, Hudson, as well as their supporting cast in this one, which should be another close one that comes down to the wire.
Grayson vs. Norcross - wednesday 7:00pm
Since the draw was finalized, this was the potential matchup that everyone was looking at. In a game that would be worthy of Macon, fans will be lined up hours in advance to get into this one between two Gwinnett powerhouses. Grayson has stuck to the same old recipe that they have all year to advance to this point. South Florida signee Caleb Murphy has been their big bucket getter and the Rams have gotten huge production from Mississippi State signee Deivon Smith, Winthrop signee Toneari Lane, and big man Ian Schieffelin. They’ll need a strong game from Schieffelin in this one, as Norcross features one of the best front lines in high school basketball between Georgia signee Josh Taylor and four-star prospect JT Thor. Both of the Blue Devil bigs had 18 points in a blowout second round win over Hillgrove. With the talent level of this game and the atmosphere that will surround it, this could end up the game of the year in Georgia.
McEachern vs. North Gwinnett - tuesday 7:30pm
The defending state champs will make the short trip up I-85 to Suwanee to take on North Gwinnett, who survived one of the best games of the postseason this year. The Bulldogs overcame a blown fourth quarter lead to outlast East Coweta in overtime. They have been led by a combination of RJ Godfrey and Brendan Rigsbee as well as Georgia Tech football signee Jared Ivey and Elon football signee JR Martin in the first two rounds, games that the Bulldogs needed overtime periods to earn wins. McEachern won a too-close-for-comfort game against South Forsyth in the second round, but leaned heavily on the offense of Sharife Cooper (Pictured), who scored 30 points in the win. The Auburn signee has eclipsed the 30-point mark in both state tournament games for the Indians.