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The Tucker Lady Tigers put together a 13-3 run in the final 4:16 of the game to put away Drew 54-38 to play their way into their first ever state championship game.
Drew jumped out in front 6-0 to start the game before Tucker could get going on offense.
Trailing 8-7 to start the second quarter, Tucker pulled within 11-10 on a three-pointer by Nuba Jackson with 6:50 remaining in the half. Jackson hit a short jumper and Erykah Davenport hit a jumper from the free throw line and two free throws to put Tucker ahead to stay at 16-13 with 4:19 left in the half.
Davenport would add four more points inside the three minute mark and Tori Robinson would help Tucker finish on a 7-0 run to end the half with a three and two free throws to send Tucker into the breakup 30-19.
Lakiah Sims hit a short shot and then a three to open the second half and pull No. 2 ranked Drew within 30-24 of the No. 3 Tigers.
Davenport got a feed from Naima Jackson for a basket and Tori Jackson hit another three to push the lead back out to 35-24.
Drew would not go away trailing 41-29 to start the fourth quarter Drew went on a 6-0 run to pull within 41-35 with 5:17 to play.
Naima Jackson then scored on a drive, an offensive put back and found Mariya Trimble alone under the basket as Tucker put together a 10-0 run to put the game away up 51-35 with 2:42 to play.
Davenport, a Miami signee, finished with 12 points and 14 rebounds to lead Tucker (28-4). Trimble finished with 12 points and six big second half rebounds, Nuba Jackson with 11 points and Tori Robinson with 10.
Sims hit for 14 points and pulled down 19 rebounds to lead Drew (26-4).
Tucker moves on to face county rival Southwest DeKalb for the third time this season in an all-DeKalb County final at 7 p.m. in Macon on Friday. The two rivals have split their two previous meetings this season.Class AAAA at West Georgia
The No. 1 ranked Redan Lady Raiders set a new season win mark of 32 as they knocked off No. 5 South Effingham 60-40 to advance to the Class AAAA girls' high school basketball state finals next week.
Brea Elmore who had 19 points keyed a big 12-2 run in the second quarter with a pair of three-pointers to put Redan ahead for good at 26-17.
Jamesa Abney was 8-for-8 from the free throw line down the stretch to aid the record setting victory. The Lady Raiders won 31 in a row in 2010 on the way to the Class AAAAA championship game where they lost to Norcross to break the 58 game win streak they had compiled over the two seasons.
Abney finished with 12 points in the game and Destini McClary got a quiet 14.
Redan will take on No. 2 Columbus who defeated Woodland-Henry 63-32 to advance at West Georgia. The game is set for 7 p.m. on Thursday at the Macon Centreplex.
The No. 1 ranked Columbia Eagles survived a tough No. 4 Westover squad 57-55 to make the Class AAAA finals next Thursday on Keuntay Puckett's put back at the buzzer.
A three-point play by Westover's Mike Green with 51 seconds to play tied the game at 55-55.
Anthony Rice drove the lane for a shot with just seconds remaining, but his shot was blocked. Puckett grabbed the shot and laid it in as the buzzer went off sending the Eagles to the state finals for the fifth consecutive season.
Puckett's basket gave him a game 17 points to go with 11 from Rice and 10 from Maurice Rivers.
Columbia (26-5) last five trips to the state finals include winning three consecutive state titles (2010-2012) before falling to Eagles' Landing in the 2013 final.
The Eagles will take on No. 6 Jonesboro which beat No. 2 Alexander 78-75 in overtime. The pair meet up at 8:45 on Thursday at the Macon Centreplex.
State Tournament Results (Final Four)
Saturday, March 1 at Ft. Valley State
Class AAAAA Girls
SW DeKalb (30-2) 59, Forest Park (24-9) 37
Tucker (28-4) 54, Drew (26-4) 38
Class AAAA Girls
Redan (32-0) 60, South Effingham (27-5) 40
Class AAAAA Boys
Miller Grove (27-5) 69, Jenkins (28-3) 52
Warner Robins (27-2) 45, Stephenson (23-8) 43
Class AAAA Boys
Columbia (26-5) 57, Westover (23-5) 55
State Tournament Pairings (Finals)
Thursday, March 6 at Macon Centreplex
Class AAAA Girls
Redan (32-0) vs. Columbus (29-1), 7 p.m.
Class AAAA Boys
Columbia (26-5) vs. Jonesboro (26-6) , 8:45 p.m.
Friday, March 7 at Macon Centreplex
Class AAAAA Girls
SW DeKalb (30-2) vs. Tucker (28-4), 7 p.m.
Class AAAAA Boys
Miller Grove (27-5) vs. Warner Robins (27-2), 8:45 p.m.
Jenkins fell behind the five-time champion Miller Grove Wolverines in the first quarter and could not catch up as Miller Grove rolled to the 69-52 victory to advance to the state finals for the sixth consecutive season.
Alterique Gilbert's three with 6:53 to go in the first quarter gave the Wolverines a 5-2 lead and they never trailed in the game.
Gilbert had a steal for a basket and another three to power the Wolverines to a 20-13 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Some offensive board work by James Walker and Deven Dorsett for scores started the second period, but Jenkins rallied to pull within five twice.
Miller Grove finished the half on an 8-2 run to take a 36-25 lead into the half.
Jenkins came out tough in the second half cutting the lead to seven (38-31) on a drive by Malik Benlevi. The Wolverines answered with another 8-0 run with Gilbert hitting a three and a pair of free throws to push the lead back out to 47-35 heading into the fourth quarter.
Gilbert who led all scorers with 25 points finished the fourth quarter with 10 points to help the Wolverines (27-5) finish off No. 3 ranked Jenkins.
James Walker finished with 15 points and 7 rebounds for Miller Grove while Deven Dorsett tossed in 12. Brendan Carter had 18 to lead Jenkins and teammate Malik Benlevi added 16.
Miller Grove takes on No. 5 Warner Robins in Macon on Friday, March 7 at 8:45 as the Wolverines go for a record sixth consecutive title.
Southwest DeKalb is making the girls' high school basketball championship game a habit reaching their third consecutive title game with a convincing 59-37 win over No. 9 Forest Park at Ft. Valley State on Saturday.
Southwest DeKalb came out cold to start the game, but Tynice Martin's three-pointer with 2:00 left in the first quarter started a 9-0 Lady Panther run to end the quarter with a 13-4 advantage.
Davion Wingate hit two three-pointers to get Southwest going in the second period and Martin converted three foul shots following a foul on a three point attempt as the lead expanded to 22-10.
Wingate would go on to hit four consecutive free throws and Jada Walton drove to the basket for two more and Southwest was up 27-12 with 1:50 to play in the first half.
Sophomore Cori Bostic would end a1 minute and 41 second drought for the Lady Panthers with two free throws as Southwest went into the breakup 29-16.
The Lady Panthers did not let up coming out of the half as they opened the third period with a 12-2 run to all but put the game away.
Martin again hit a big three to get the half rolling for Southwest and Wingate added four points in the run to a 41-19 lead going into the final quarter of play.
The Panthers would lead by as much as 28 in the fourth quarter.
Wingate finished with 19 points leading the way while Martin added 14 points and seven rebounds and Jada Walton collected 10 points and 10 boards for a double-double.
This marks the sixth state title game appearance for the Lady Panthers in the past seven seasons, including four state titles (2008, 2009, 2010 and 2013).
The Class AAAAA girls' title game is set for 7 p.m. Friday, March 7 at the Macon Centreplex.
Warner Robins had a furious last 22 seconds to rally past Stephenson for a 45-43 Class AAAAA boys' semifinal victory at Fort Valley State on Saturday.
Stephenson took a 42-40 lead on a pair of Thomas Oglesby free throws with 47 seconds to play. Warner Robins' Stephon Raybone hit one of two free throws to cut the lead to 42-41 with 22 seconds to play.
The Jaguars had a one-and-one opportunity with 20 seconds to play but missed setting up a layup by Nathan Curtis to give Warner Robins a 43-42 advantage. Another Stephenson bonus situation went for naught with 8.4 seconds to play and Raybone found himself at the line again with 6.1 seconds to play.
He hit both for a 45-42 advantage and Juwaan Henderson was fouled before a three-point attempt to send him to the line with 3.8 seconds to play. He made the first and intentionally missed the second to give Stephenson an opportunity.
Montez Sweat who had provided a spark off the bench due to an injured ankle in the win over No. 1 Allatoona chased down the rebound along the baseline, but could not get the shot up in time as the clock ran out.
Stephenson fell behind 9-2 in the opening quarter with early turnovers, but battled back into the game within 9-6 at the end of the quarter on six points by Delmont Walton.
Warner Robins went on a 6-2 run to open the second quarter to push the lead back up to 7 at 15-8 with 5:05 to play forcing a Stephenson timeout.
The Jaguars came out of the timeout with leading scorer Martez Sweat on the floor for the first time and he made an immediate impact with a steal that ended in a Juwaan Henderson basket. Henderson coolly hit a three-pointer with the Jaguars down 15-12 to tie the game with 3:18 left in the half.
A Pryce Taylor steal for a basket and foul shot gave Stephenson an 18-16 lead with 2:25 left in the quarter. Warner Robins fell behind 20-16 on a Thomas Oglesby layup at the 1:25 mark, but rallied for a 21-20 lead at the half on five free throws.
Oglesby and Henderson ended up with 10 points each to lead the Jaguars (24-8).
Southwest DeKalb girls' head basketball coach Kathy Walton celebrated her fourth state title just under a year ago and now has another coaching milestone under her belt.
Walton's No. 1 ranked Lady Panthers notched her 250th victory back on December 6 in a 62-43 victory over the team they battled in the past two state championship games, Miller Grove. She then picked up win 260 in a victory over North Atlanta on January 14.
The Lady Panthers (22-2) are currently on a 15 game win streak that includes wins over four teams ranked in the state Georgia including Norcross (2013 6A state champ), Parkview (6A), Stephenson (5A) and Forest Park (5A).
Walton's career mark at Southwest DeKalb is now 267-84 overall in 12 seasons leading the Lady Panthers. Nine of those seasons include 22 wins or more and four of 25 or more. She won state titles in 2008 (31-2), 2009 (29-4), 2010 (28-4) and 2013 (24-8) and has 11 winning seasons out of the 12 at the helm.
The Redan girls basketball team is thought to be a history making squad in DeKalb County as three seniors have all surpassed the 1,000 career point mark during the first part of the season. As far as records show no other DeKalb girls' team has had three make the mark in the same season.
Seniors Brea Elmore, Destini McClary and Jada Byrd all needed less than 100 points to pass the 1,000 point level and all did so before Christmas. All three have scored over 300 points each of the past two seasons.
Elmore has 1,159 points in 94 games (12.3 average), but is averaging 17.3 per game this season. She also has eclipsed the 300 mark in steals (303) and assists (383) for her career. She scored her 1,000th point in 65-52 win over Grady back on November 26.
McClary surpassed the 1,100 with 1,123 (11.9 average in 94 games) as she scored 32 in an 87-48 win over South Atlanta on December 6. McClary also has 201 steals in her career.
Byrd is just shy of the 1,100 point mark with 1, 097 (11.4 average in 96 games) after hitting the 1,000 point club with 15 oints in the win over South Atlanta on December 6. Byrd has contributed 683 rebounds (7.1) with 240 steals and 226 assists.
A fourth senior, Jamesa Abney, has moved over 700 points with 750 in her career while contributing 243 steals and 180 assists in 77 games. An injury in the 2012 season kept her out of 18 games.
Another 1,000 point career mark was reached over the holidays as Southwest DeKalb junior Tynice Martin hit the 1,000 point mark for her career with a 20 point performance against Greenwood in the Upward Classic in Dorman, South Carolina. Martin also added 10 rebounds for a double-double in the 71-55 victory and the Lady Panthers went on to capture the tournament title with wins over Parkview (first loss) and host Dorman.
She now has 1,058 career points (13.7 in 77 games) in three seasons to go with 731 rebounds (9.5 average) and 205 steals (2.7).
Sixteen boys' teams from Georgia (13), Tennessee (1), Florida (1) and Mississippi (1) are headed to Tucker High School to play in the DeKalb County Chick-Fil-A High School Basketball Classic on December 26-30.
The tournament held the past two years at Columbia and won by Columbia moved to the larger venue this year as 12 playoff teams from 2013, including one state champion, one runner-up and one Final Four participant, take on the four game challenge for the title.
Eight games are on tap for Thursday, December 26 to open the tournament and eight more on Friday (Dec. 27) as day one winners and losers play.
The tournament opens at 10 a.m. as an up and coming young squad from Southwest DeKalb faces Sandy Creek. Southwest is led by freshman Naquante Hardy (14.0 points, 2.8 steals, 1.8 assists) and sophomore Keith Gilmore (13.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.8 steals, 1.8 assists). The Panthers are 3-3 heading into a date against Tucker before the Christmas break.
Sandy Creek has gotten out to a 5-0 start this season after going 7-16 a year ago.
Seniors Paul Jackson (21.5 points, 6.4 assists) and Greg King (13.9 points, 12.6 rebounds, 2.3 steals and 1.9 blocks) lead a Martin Luther King Jr. team sitting at 6-4 with a pair of dates before tournament time as the Lions take on DeKalb County rival Stone Mountain at 11:30 a.m.
Stone Mountain is 5-2 heading into this week's DeKalb County Pre-Holiday Tournament. The Pirates are led by senior post player Damani Walker (15.8 points and 9.8 rebounds).
Butler, a 2013 Class AAAA state playoff participant, is off to a slow start of 1-4, but not because of the red hot junior Don Coleman as a 1pm date with Mays gets the tournament first day almost to the halfway mark. Coleman is averaging 31.3 points per game and 3.5 steals to lead Butler.
Mays, a 2013 Class AAAAA Sweet 16 team, is also off to a slow start of 1-4 with a tough early schedule.
Two of the hottest teams at this point in the season meet in the 2:30pm game as 6-0 Cedar Grove meets up with 5-0 Jenkins of Savannah.
The Saints play three games in the U-Save-It Tournament in Albany before Christmas while Jenkins is in the Battle of the South. Cedar Grove is led by Junior Kenneth Lewis (15.2 points), sophomore Jacari Cross (10.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3.2 steals) and junior Christopher Frederick (8.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, 3.2 steals and 2.2 assists.
Jenkins is led by seniors Brenden Carter (14.8 points, 6.4 rebounds, 3.0 assists) and Jamelle Lanier (13 points).
Meridian (MS) tips off at 4pm against Crisp County as the Mississippi team makes its third appearance in DeKalb County. Meridian was the 2011 Class 6A champion in Mississippi and is bouncing back nicely from a 15-7 season of a year ago with a 9-2 record with two games remaining before the holidays.
Crisp County, a Class AAAA state playoff participant in 2013, is trying to build some momentum going into the second half of the season with a 2-4 record on the season thus far. Crisp heads to the Middle Georgia Classic this weekend.
Class AAAA state title contender Columbia is 5-0 heading into its big showdown with Miller Grove on Friday and has Brainerd (TN) in the sixth game of the day at Tucker. The Eagles tip off at 5:30pm and are led by juniors Bryce Brown (18.0 points, 5.0 assists) and Anthony Rice (17.0 points, 8.0 assists, 3.0 steals).
Brainerd, a regular season opponent for Cedar Grove, is coming off a 106-52 win over Red Bank (TN) as they prepare to take on the Eagles.
Glen Hills and Greenforest hit the court at 7pm in the opening round. Glenn Hills is off to a 4-1 start heading into the RCBOE Christmas Classic in Augusta this weekend while defending Class A Private School champion Greenforest is 4-2 with losses to coming to tournament participant Cedar Grove and Norcross in tight low scoring games.
The final game of the opening round is set for 8:30pm as the hosts Tucker Tigers face Gainesville (FL).
Tucker is 7-1 heading into a Region 6-AAAAA match up with Southwest DeKalb this week with the only loss coming to North Gwinnett. The Tigers are led by senior Jon Dunmeyer (21. points), senior Shembari Phillips (13.6 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.2 assists) and junior TJ Thomas (10 points, 10.4 rebounds, 2.0 blocks).
Gainesville is coming off a 21-10 season and a Florida Class 6A semifinal appearance in 2013 and rolls in with 8-1 record with one game to play this week before coming to Georgia. Gainesville returns four players from a year ago that averaged in double figures led by 6-foot-six inch Isaiah Jackson (15.4 points, 7.7 rebounds), 6-5 Kevin Bolen (12.0 points), 6-4 Eric Turner (11.0 points, 5.5 rebounds) and 6-2 Ike Smith (10.0 points, 5.5 rebounds).
Fans can see all eight games for $10 and each following days' action is $10.
CHICK-FIL-A CLASSIC SCHEDULE
DAY 1 - DEC. 26 AT TUCKER HIGH SCHOOL
Southwest DeKalb (3-3) vs. Sandy Creek (5-0), 10 a.m.
Martin Luther King Jr. (6-4) vs. Stone Mountain (5-2), 11:30 a.m.
Butler (1-4) vs. Mays (1-4), 1pm
Cedar Grove (6-0) vs. Jenkins (6-0), 2:30pm
Crisp County (2-4) vs. Meridian, MS (9-2), 4pm
Columbia (5-0) vs. Brainerd, TN (2-1), 5:30pm
Glenn Hills (4-1) vs. Greenforest (4-2), 7pm
Tucker (7-1) vs. Gainesville, FL (9-1), 8:30pm
(0-0) - current record
The first date for a regular season high school basketball is Saturday (November 9), but several DeKalb County teams are getting in preseason scrimmages as tune ups before they kickoff their seasons next weekend.
Clarkston is holding its Green and Gold scrimmages tonight (Thursday, Nov. 7) beginning at 4:30pm while Dunwoody hosts Excell Christian in a girls/boys doubleheader beginning at 5pm
Scrimmages are on tap throughout the next week headlined by the Miller Grove vs. Norcross boys contest set for Thursday, November 14 at Norcross at 7:30pm The game pits five-time state champion Miller Grove against Class AAAAAA 2013 state champ Norcross in a game sure to bring in a crowd as the two nationally ranked teams go at it.
The Tucker Lady Tigers, a Class AAAAA quarterfinalist in 2013, and Class AAAAAA state champion Norcross tangle in what should be an interesting girls' contest as well prior to the anticipated boys' matchup. The game starts at 6pm
The State Champion Showdown as it is being billed takes place at 6pm on Thursday, November 14, at Southwest DeKalb High School. Class AAA state champ Columbia under the direction of first year head coach Carla Hollaway takes on Class AAAAA state champ Southwest DeKalb, four-time state champion coach Kathy Walton and standout junior Tynice "Nicole" Martin.
Hollaway won a pair of DeKalb County Middle School Championships and takes over for Chantay Frost who left after winning her third state title in the last four years at Columbia in 2013.
Nine other games are on tap throughout the next week.
Basketball Pre-Season Scrimmage Schedule
Thursday, November 7
Clarkston --Green and Gold @ Clarkston 4:30pm/6:00pm
Excell Christian at Dunwoody, 5pm/6:30pm (boys/girls)
Saturday, Nov. 9
Redan at Salem, 6pm (girls)
Miller Grove at Shiloh, 6pm (girls)
Stone Mountain at Shiloh, 7:30pm (boys)
Monday, November 11
Chamblee at Tucker, 6pm (boys)
Tuesday, November 12th
SW DeKalb at Columbia, 7pm (boys)
Lithonia at Stephenson, 5:30/7pm (girls/boys)
Wednesday, November 13
Druid Hills at Riverdale, 5:30/7pm (girls/boys)
Thursday, Nov. 14
M. L. King at Buford, 5:30/7pm (girls/boys)
Columbia at SW DeKalb (state champion showdown), 6pm (girls)
Tucker at Norcross, 6pm, (girls)
Lakeside at Henry Co., 6:30pm (boys)
Miller Grove at Norcross, 7:30pm (boys)
DeKalb County brought home three high school basketball state championships this winter and some of that exciting talent will be on display during the 2013 DeKalb County Basketball All-Star Games on Thursday, April 4 at Tucker High School.
The girls' game is set to begin at 5:30pm with Druid Hills' Angela Nash coaching the Nash All-Stars while Towers' Johnny Toombs faces off with Nash with his All-Stars.
Nash's team is led by Class AAAA Player of the Year Miah Spencer (18.7 pts, 5.7 steals, 3.8 assists) of the Class AAAA state champion Columbia Lady Eagles. She will team up with Class AAAAA runner-up Miller Grove's Tashi Thompson (13.0 points, 2.8 steals, 2.8 assists) and Klarissa Weaver (11.1 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.3 blocks) and Stone Mountain's Danielle Clark (15.4 points, 5.7 steals, 4.6 assists).
Toombs will counter with Penn signee Kaliyah Mitchell of Stephenson who averaged 18.1 points, 8.9 rebounds and 4.3 steals in leading the Lady Jaguars into the Elite Eight. Lithonia's Raghe Brown (10.8 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 4.2 steals), Arabia Mountain's Brianna Missouri (11.6 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2.7 steals) and state champion Southwest DeKalb's Miaya Crowder (9.8 points, 5.7 rebounds) join Mitchell on the squad.
The boys' game will follow the girls' as McNair's Steve Clark and Druid Hills' Jerome Lee coach the two All-Star teams in the nightcap.
Columbia's four-time All-State and classification Player of the Year Tahj Shamsid-Deen leads Clark's group. Shamsid-Deen (25 points per game) is an Auburn signee and is joined by former teammate Jade McClendon of Chamblee (17. 1 points. 11.1 rebounds) as the top scorers for Clark's team.
Arabia Mountain's first Division 1 signee Bakari Copeland (23.3 points) and Texas A&M signee Devonte Fitzgerald (20.9 points, 10.4 rebounds) along with state champion Miller Grove's Kyre' Hamer (17.4 points, 6.0 rebounds) lead Lee's team.
Miller Grove picked up the pace and went inside against Gainesville in the second half to rally for a 61-57 victory on the way to a boys' state record fifth consecutive basketball state title at the Macon Centreplex on Friday night.
Miller Grove captured the Class AAAAA state championship with the win and combined with its four consecutive Class AAAA titles gave the school the record.
The Wolverines (30-3) struggled from the floor in the first half hitting on just eight of 25 shots and scored just five points in the second quarter as the Red Elephants (23-10) took a 25-19 lead at the half after trailing 14-11 at the end of the first quarter.
Coach Sharman White reminded his players at halftime they had been there before and they needed to pick up the pace and get to the basket.
Notice was served on the opening play of the half as the Wolverines went to the basket and junior James Walker kept a missed shot alive and tipped it into the net to begin a 22-point third quarter for Miller Grove.
Junior point guard Keith Pinckney began to take control in the period and drove to the basket for eight points while Earl Bryant scored six, four on offensive rebound put backs. Freshman Alterique Gilbert also had a pair of drives into the paint and rebounded his own miss for a put back as Miller Grove took a 41-39 lead into the final quarter.
The quarter was the start of a second half turnaround in which the Wolverines who had just 12 points in the paint in the first half scored 36 on aggressive drives and offensive rebounding. Miller Grove also turned up the defense forcing 11 second half turnovers against Gainesville which only turned the ball over five times in the first half.
Gainesville would not fold though as the Red Elephants had battled the odds throughout the playoffs winning their first four games by a total of seven points.
The lead changed hands nine times in the fourth quarter before Bryant took a long pass down court from Kyre' Hamer for a fast break basket that put Miller Grove up to stay at 50-49 with 4:54 to play. Bryant's basket was part of an 8-2 run by the Wolverines in which Gilbert drove past his defender three times for pull up jumpers in the lane to give Miller Grove a 56-51 advantage with two minutes to play.
Chase England got two offensive rebounds in the next minute of play and converted them into a layup and a pair of free throws to pull Gainesville back within 56-55 with 1:12 remaining.
Miller Grove forced a pair of turnovers and a missed shot and Bryant hit two of four from the line and Gilbert one of two to make it a 59-55 lead with 33 seconds to play.
It was then the Wolverines turn to mishandle the basketball as a pair of turnovers gave Gainesville two trips to the line. Shanquan Cantrell hit on both ends of the one-and-one with 27 seconds to play and six seconds later Caleb Hayman was at the line with the chance to tie the game as Miller Grove clung to a 59-57 advantage.
Hayman missed both shots and Hamer rebounded for Miller Grove and found Gilbert streaking down the court for an easy basket to clinch the 61-57 victory.
Gilbert came off the bench to score 19 points to tie Gainesville's Cantrell for the game high. Pinckney added 14, 12 in the second half, and Bryant scored 11 of his 13 in the second half to aid the Wolverine run.
Miller Grove's fifth consecutive state title sets a Georgia boys' high school record pushing the Wolverines past Lanier (16 state titles) and Westover (6 state titles), both of which had won four consecutive. The victory also moved Miller Grove into a 10th place tie for all-time state championships in Georgia and into a tie with Columbia for the DeKalb County lead.
This is just the ninth season of varsity basketball for the Wolverines and this team was not expected to perform to the level of the past state championship squads that had Division 1 signees such as Mfon Udofia (Georgia Tech), four-time state champion Tony Parker (UCLA), Donte Williams (Georgia), Henry Brooks (Penn) and Brandon Morris (Georgia).
The team came together with a 64-62 victory over Class AAAAAA Norcross and a 3-1 record in the Max Preps Holiday Classic in California with wins against Washington state champion Rainier Beach, California quarterfinalist Leuzinger and Chicago's De LaSalle.
The Class AAAAA girls' high school basketball state championship was not only the fifth meeting of the 2013 season, but a rematch of the 2012 Class AAAA girls' basketball title game between DeKalb County's Miller Grove Lady Wolverines and Southwest DeKalb Lady Panthers.
In 2012 it was Miller Grove coming out on top 46-39 and in 2013 it was another hard fought, physical game as Coach Kathy Walton's Lady Panthers hung on to win the title rematch 56-52.
Both teams feature up and down the floor offense and pressure defense. The first half was tough on both teams as they combined 28 turnovers and shot a combined 15-43 from the field as Southwest DeKalb took a 24-20 to the locker room at halftime.
Southwest DeKalb put together the first long run of the game as sophomore Tynice Martin got inside to score and break the second half scoring draught for both teams with 5:46 to play in the period. Martin's basket started a 10-0 run which included a Darshan DeShaizer three-pointer and five points from senior Ariel Walker that put the Lady Panthers up 34-20.
Miller Grove which shot 8 of 25 in the first half was struggling from the field and went 0-12 from the field to open the second half.
Senior Katie Hunt broke the drought with an offensive rebound of her own miss at the 3:17 mark as Miller Grove went hit the offensive boards and force 10 Southwest DeKalb turnovers in an 11-1 run to finish the quarter trailing just 34-31.
Senior post player Klarissa Weaver who finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds played a big role in the rally as she completed two three-point plays after grabbing offensive rebounds during the run.
Tashi Thompson, a senior who joined the 1,000 Career Point Club earlier this season, knotted the game at 36-36 with 6:48 to play with a three-pointer to tie the game for the first time since it was 3-3 less than two minutes into the game.
Sophomore Davion Wingate answered by sinking a pair of free throws with 6:11 left that started another Lady Panther 10-0 run in which scored twice more on drives to the basket and Miaya Crowder added four points to take a 46-36 lead with 2:57 remaining.
Thompson and Weaver helped cut the lead to six (51-45) with 1:30 to play, but Southwest DeKalb got a basket from Walker and free throws from Wingate and DeShaizer to once again go up by 10 at 55-45 39 seconds to play.
Hunt showed why the Lady Wolverines (26-6) were in the title game again as she hit two free throws and stole the ball and completed a three-point play with just six seconds coming off the clock to cut the lead in half.
The lead was cut to 55-52 with 14 seconds to play as Shaquanda Durden hit a layup on a pass from Weaver. Miller Grove was forced to foul and Martin managed to hit one of the two free throws to seal the win and Southwest DeKalb's fourth state title in six seasons.
Martin finished with a double-double of 15 points and 16 rebounds to lead Southwest DeKalb (24-8) while Weaver's 12 points and 11 rebounds paced Miller Grove.
Southwest DeKalb now leads Columbia, which won its second consecutive and third overall state championship the night before, four titles to three to stay atop the DeKalb girls' standings. Kathy Walton's program is 24-1 in its five postseason appearances over the six seasons, including Class AAAA titles in 2008, 2009 and 2010. The lone loss coming in last year's Class AAAA title game against this same Renee Breedlove coached Lady Wolverine team.
Senior Shaundrika Mann scored three points in the final 12 seconds to send the Columbia Lady Eagles to a 38-37 Class AAAA state title game victory over Sandy Creek on Thursday night at the Macon Centreplex.
Mann's offensive rebound and layup off a missed three-pointer by teammate Shamiyah Smith went in as the clock ticked off the final four seconds of the game giving Columbia its second consecutive state title and third in four seasons under the direction of Coach Chantay Frost.
Twelve seconds remained on the clock when Mann was fouled driving to the basket and the Lady Eagles trailing 37-35. She hit the first of the two free throws, but the second came off the rim and was knocked towards the right corner where fellow senior teammate Miah Spencer tracked it down in the corner.
Spencer passed out to Smith just outside the three-point line and Smith fired the shot which bounced off the rim. Mann going towards the basket had an opening where she caught the ball and put it up off the glass for the game-winner. Sandy Creek was unable to get the ball inbounded without any timeouts remaining and as the clock ticked to zero the Lady Eagles mobbed Mann in celebration.
Columbia (27-3) led most of the way through the first three quarters and took an 11-point lead (22-11) with 1:41 left in the third quarter on a three-point play off an offensive rebound by Starr Nowell.
Sandy Creek's Jasmine Jones took over the game from that point as she hit a three-point shot and completed a three-point play at the end of the quarter to trim the lead to 24-17 heading into the fourth quarter.
Jones served notice that Sandy Creek was not going quietly as she opened the final period of play with another three to cut the lead to 24-20.
Recee Walker pulled Sandy Creek even at 28-28 with a drive to the basket with 4:56 to play and the momentum had completely shifted Sandy Creek's way.
Sandy Creek took its first lead of the game on a shot just inside the three-point arc by Jones to make it a 35-33 advantage with 2:06 to play.
The two teams traded turnovers as Columbia scrambled to tie the game and with 25 seconds to play Walker hit one of two free throws to give Sandy Creek a 37-35 advantage. This set up Mann's last second heroics with three points in the final 12 seconds, her only points of the game, to send Columbia home a state champion once again.
Jones was the only Sandy Creek player in double figures with her game-high 17 points. Yaktavia Hickson hit for 11 points to lead Columbia while Kyle Felton had four points and 10 rebounds.
Columbia's title was the 11th in four seasons for DeKalb County and moved the Lady Eagles into a first place tie with Southwest DeKalb with three state titles for a DeKalb girls' program. Southwest DeKalb takes on Miller Grove on Friday (today) at 7pm in Macon with the chance to break the tie.
The Lady Eagles are now 18-1 in the state playoffs since 2010 and had not won a playoff game in six tries before winning two in the 2009 season.
Two other DeKalb girls' basketball teams go for a state title on Friday at 7pm as the No. 3 ranked Miller Grove Lady Wolverines take on No. 4 Southwest DeKalb Lady Panthers in the Class AAAAA state championship. It is the second consecutive season for the two teams to meet in the state finals with Miller Grove winning the Class AAAA championship 46-39 a year ago.
The Columbia Eagles quest for four consecutive state championships came up short on Friday night against No. 1 ranked Eagle's Landing in a 61-47 loss on the same floor they had won three consecutive state titles at the Centreplex in Macon.
Eagle's Landing built a 29-19 halftime lead and were up by 13 (40-27) on a dunk by Chris Davenport with 4:00 left in the third quarter when the Eagle's began to claw their way back into the game.
Deshon Cooper got Columbia going with a dunk off a long rebound corralled by Maurice Rivers who found Cooper free heading to the basket.
Senior All-Metro Player of the Year Tahj Shamsid-Deen hit a pull up jumper almost two minutes later and the lead was cut to 40-31.
Kyle Wallace, Shamsid-Deen and Tuesday Andersley combined in a 6-2 run to end the third period by driving to the basket and the lead was less than 10 points at 44-37 for the first time since the second quarter.
Wallace opened the fourth quarter with a three-pointer from the left wing at the 6:42 mark and the lead was down to four at 44-40.
It was two minutes before either team would score again, but Eagle's Landing would gain back control as Isaiah Dennis scored on a layup and then on a break-away dunk. A pair of free throws by Davenport pushed the lead back to 10 at 50-40 with 3:47 to play.
The lead ballooned to 57-42 as Dennis added a three-point play and two more free throws and Columbia would get no closer than 11 the rest of the way as their season ended in a loss for the first time since 2009 when South Atlanta won a Class AAA semifinal battle in Macon.
Shamsid-Deen finished his stellar career with 21 points in the game and despite falling in this title game has three state titles in his four seasons at Columbia. Kyle Wallace finished with 10 points for the Eagles who finished 27-4 on the season.
Dennis had 17 points and Desmond Ringer finished with 17 points and 14 rebounds for Eagle's Landing.
Columbia moved to the top of the state title holders with its fifth state championship in 2012, its fifth in seven seasons.
Miller Grove won its fifth consecutive title (2009-2013) in 2013 with a 61-57 victory over Gainesville. Miller Grove's fifth consecutive title set a Georgia high school boys' record for consecutive title victories. The Wolverines became the 10th program in the state of Georgia to win three-consecutive titles in 2011 and became the first in Class AAAA to win four consecutive and the first DeKalb program to capture four state titles in a row.
Druid Hills and Dunwoody held claim to the top spot with three state titles apiece following the 2009 season before Columbia claimed its third title in six seasons in 2010.
Druid Hills won in 1953 to break the 13-year drought following Clarkston's 1940 title run and followed up in 1954 and 1957 with two more.
Dunwoody won its first state title in 1995 and claimed back-to-back titles in 2005 and 2006.
Clarkston made it two titles by taking the 1964 crown to go with the 1940 championship season.
Tucker joined the two-time state champions list in 2007.
The other boys state titles belong to Stone Mountain (1957), Cedar Grove (1997) and Cross Keys (2002).
Seventeen DeKalb teams have won four or more games in state tournament play. Columbia moved into first place in tournament wins in 2010 at 37-10 (now 51-11) followed by Tucker (36-24) in second. Miller Grove moved into third on the list with a 29-2 record after its current 25-0 run in the state tournament since 2009 with Dunwoody at 26-11(10-0 in 2005-06) in fourth and Lithonia sits in fifth at 23-17.
The Southwest DeKalb Lady Panthers sit atop the state championship heap for DeKalb County Schools girls' after claiming three consecutive class AAAA state titles from 2008 to 2010 and its fourth in 2013.
Southwest's third consecutive title was a first for DeKalb County Schools basketball (boys or girls).
Columbia captured its third state title in 2013 with a thrilling 38-37 win over Sandy Creek in the Class AAAA championship. It was the second consecutive state title for the Lady Eagles who won the Class AAA championship in 2012.
Stone Mountain ruled on the girls' side with two state titles (1966, 1997) until Stephenson won the class AAAAA title in 2008 to go with its 2004 championship.
Druid Hills won the first girls' championship in 1960 and Sequoyah won in 1971.
Avondale won its first championship in 2006 while Columbia joined the state title club with its first ever championship in 2010.
Southwest DeKalb climbed into first in the playoff record standings at 39-16 following state championships in 2008, 2009, and 2010 and a run to the state finals in 2012 and 2013.
Stephenson's six consecutive Final Four appearances and two state championships in five seasons has the team in second all-time with a 31-10 record.
Redan is now in third with a 29-18 record after winning its first state title in 2009 with a perfect mark of 27-0 on the season and three consecutive championship game appearances (2008 to 2010).