The first set of quarterfinal games in the GHSA State Tournament took place on Tuesday night, and several games either went to overtime or were decided by a bucket or less. Our staff shares what you need to know from Tuesday night and what to look for in tonight’s action.
McEACHERN HANGS ON
The gym was packed over 30 minutes before tip off because of excitement for the match-up between North Gwinnett and McEachern. The game didn’t disappoint either as it went down to the wire with McEachern edging North Gwinnett 75-68 in overtime.
Auburn signee and five-star point guard Sharife Cooper finished the game with 27 points and hit some clutch free throws late to help seal the victory for the Indians. Junior wing Cam McDowell gave McEachern a spark with a few impressive put-back dunks and some tough on-ball defense that rattled North Gwinnett ball handlers.
North Gwinnett received strong performances from star sophomore R.J. Godfrey, senior big man Jared Ivey (Georgia Tech football signee), and junior guard Brendan Rigsbee. Cincinnati and Georgia State each had assistants in attendance. McEachern advances to play the winner of Norcross and Grayson tonight.
ANOTHER BIG NIGHT FOR BRUCE THORNTON
With Trae Young in attendance, Milton sophomore point guard Bruce Thornton (Pictured) did his best to impress the Atlanta Hawks star. The Eagles held on and knocked off Newton behind an impressive 30 points and eight assists from Thornton, including some clutch plays late to seal the game.
Star freshman guard Kanaan Carlyle hit double figures on a bad ankle with 12 points, while fellow freshman big man LT Overton chipped in 10 points and an impressive 18 rebounds. Senior guard Evan Hurst added 10 points of his own.
Assistant coaches from Georgia, Georgia Southern and Kennesaw State were in the building at Milton. Georgia Southern signee Caleb Byrd pumped in 25 points for Newton. Milton takes on the winner of Berkmar and Wheeler tonight.
OTHER NOTABLE PERFORMANCES FROM WEDNESDAY
· In one of the many overtime games of the night, St. Pius X knocked off a 29-0 Americus-Sumter team 73-70. Why is this so important? Not only does it send Aaron Parr’s group back to the Final Four, but it avenges last year’s home loss in the quarterfinals to Americus-Sumter. St. Pius X will now play Cross Creek in the semifinals on Saturday.
· South Cobb protected home court with no problem by winning 85-61 over Evans. Sophomore guard Zocko Littleton led the way with 19 points and sophomore forward Robert Dix added 17 of his own. South Cobb takes on Lanier on Friday afternoon. Evans unsigned senior Christian Chambers shined yet again with 31 points in the loss.
· Therrell remains without star junior forward Robbie Armbrester, but that hasn’t stopped them from advancing to the Final Foul after defeating Washington County 57-55 last night. Jarden Maze had an impressive 30 points in the loss for Washington County. Therrell was led by 22 points from Cameron Fortson along with 17 points and eight assists from Roman Son.
· In one of the craziest finishes of the night, it was Dutchtown knocking off Columbia on a buzzer-beating three-pointer from senior forward Cam Bryant. Dutchtown is waiting on the winner of Kell and Buford to see who they will play on Saturday afternoon.
WEDNESDAY NIGHT’S TOP GAMES
· Holy Innocents at St. Francis, 6:00pm
· Pinecrest Academy vs Greenforest Christian, 6:00pm (at Redan High School)
· Kell at Buford, 6:30pm
· Lithonia at Cedar Shoals, 7:00pm
· Norcross at Grayson, 7:00pm
· Sandy Creek at Woodward Academy, 7:00pm
· Berkmar at Wheeler, 7:00pm
· Tri-Cities at Tucker, 7:00pm
· Mt. Pisgah at Walker School, 7:30pm