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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 5:30 p.m. 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 7 p.m. 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 7 p.m. 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).