Prep Zone: High School Sports blog 

AJC updates from the world of high school sports in metro Atlanta and Georgia
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March Madness: Georgia players to watch in NCAA men’s tourney

  • 12:18 pm Monday, March 17th, 2014 by Todd Holcomb

More than 20 former Georgia high school players will be playing in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, which begins Tuesday.

Here are five players to keep a close watch on, plus a list that accounts for the 23 that we’ve identified. Let us know if we missed anybody.

Jordan Adams, UCLA (Central Gwinnett) – Adams, a 6-foot-5 guard, is a first-team all-Pac 12 player whose 3-point shot against Arizona was the difference in the conference tournament championship game on Sunday. Adams averages 17.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.7 steals. In high school, Adams was Central Gwinnett’s football quarterback and led the basketball [More]

AAAAAA first-round update: Draw is set

  • 12:55 am Wednesday, February 19th, 2014 by Todd Holcomb

Class AAAAAA First-Round Matchups –

Congratulations to region champions crowned on Wednesday – Pebblebrook’s boys and McEachern’s girls (Region 4), North Gwinnett’s boys and Norcross’ girls (Region 7) and Berkmar’s boys and Archer’s girls (Region 8).

Teams on the left will be at home. If you see errors, please post a message. This is unofficial.

BOYS

R4#1 Pebblebrook vs. R2#4 Rockdale County

R1#2 Brunswick vs. R3#3 Westlake

R2#1 Luella vs. R4#4 Campbell

R3#2 Newnan vs. R1#3 Coffee

R3 #1 Douglas County vs. R1 #4 Valdosta

R2 #2 Newton vs. R4 #3 Hillgrove

R1 #1 Tift County vs. R3 #4 Tri-Cities

R4 #2 South Cobb vs. R2 #3 Lovejoy

R5 #1 Wheeler vs. R7 #4 Peachtree Ridge

R8 #2 Shiloh vs. R6 #3 Chattahoochee

R7 #1 North Gwinnett vs. R5 #4 Etowah

R6 #2 Lambert vs. R8 #3 Grayson

R6 #1 Alpharetta vs. R8 #4 Dacula

R7 #2 Norcross vs. R5 #3 Milton

R8 #1 Berkmar vs. R6 #4 Johns Creek

R5 #2 Walton vs. R7 #3 Duluth

GIRLS

R4#1 McEachern vs. R2#4 Rockdale County

R1#2 Brunswick vs. R3#3 Hughes

R2#1 Newton vs. R4#4 North Cobb

R3#2 Douglas County vs. R1#3 Colquitt County

R3 #1 Westlake vs. R1 #4 Tift County

R2 #2 Luella vs. R4 #3 Marietta

R1 #1 Lowndes vs. R3 #4 Newnan

R4 #2 Hillgrove vs. R2 #3 Alcovy

R5 #1 Woodstock vs. R7 #4 Mountain View

R8 #2 Parkview vs. R6 #3 Centennial

R7 #1 Norcross vs. R5 #4 Walton

R6 #2 South Forsyth vs. R8 #3 South Gwinnett

R6 #1 North Forsyth vs. R8 #4 Central Gwinnett

R7 #2 Duluth vs. R5 #3 Lassiter

R8 #1 Archer  vs. R6 #4 West Forsyth

R5 #2 Roswell vs. R7 #3 Mill Creek

GHSA sets new state basketball tournament schedule: Four rounds in nine days

  • 11:38 am Friday, February 14th, 2014 by Todd Holcomb

Get ready for an up-tempo state basketball tournament.

The twice-delayed state playoffs will begin Friday, Feb. 21, with games scheduled every day except two through the semifinals, the Georgia High School Association announced Friday.

The new schedule calls for four rounds in nine days. Two years ago, it took a full two weeks to play the same four rounds.

‘’I’ve been here 13 years and had to adjust on occasion due to weather a day or two, but never to this extent,’’ said Ernie Yarbrough, the GHSA’s basketball coordinator.

The snow and ice storm kept many North Georgia school systems closed through Friday. The [More]

Update on all 8 region tournaments: Three to finish on Wednesday

  • 12:46 pm Thursday, February 13th, 2014 by Todd Holcomb

Updates since first published: Region 3-AAAAAA will play Saturday, Monday and Tuesday. Regions 7-AAAAAA and 8-AAAAAA will start Monday and finish Wednesday.

After days of scrambling, scheduling and re-scheduling, Class AAAAAA’s eight region basketball tournaments appear set again, with most starting or resuming on Saturday.

See schedules of all eight Class AAAAAA region tournaments on AJC.com.

Regions 4, 7 an d 8 will be holding finals on Wednesday.

Only Region 1-AAAAAA in South Georgia has had no schedule changes. Finals will be Friday, giving their state qualifiers at least a week to prepare and scout before first-round state playoff games.

Five other tournaments will [More]

High school soccer: How the No. 1 team in the nation makes a game plan

  • 8:50 pm Tuesday, April 15th, 2014 by David Purdum

It’s a conversation McIntosh boys soccer coach Bunky Colvin has had often during his career. A football coach will approach Colvin and say something like, “I just thought you went out there and kicked the ball around.”

The Chiefs have won 38 consecutive matches and are ranked No. 1 in the nation by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. They didn’t reach such heights by just kicking the ball around.  They have a plan and are very good at executing it.

“I don’t think people realize how much is involved in it,” said Colvin, who is in his 15 [More]

West Forsyth’s Hepler resigns to take job in Florida; hires, changes made at Lambert, Americus-Sumter, Campbell, Walker

  • 6:07 pm Tuesday, April 15th, 2014 by Todd Holcomb

Frank Hepler, the coach who started West Forsyth’s program in 2007, resigned on Monday and will become defensive coordinator for a school 15 miles from his south Florida hometown of Plantation.

Hepler, 51, had been a successful head coach at his alma mater, Plantation High, where he was 135-30 in 14 seasons. Hepler’s new position will be at nearby Cypress Bay High School in Weston, Fla. Hepler and his wife have family in Florida.

Hepler was 51-18 in his seven seasons at West Forsyth. The Wolverines won a region title in 2012, when the team averaged 40.3 points a game under quarterback [More]

Baseball rankings: Raiders, Wolverines tumble, Lions enter top 10

  • 4:56 pm Tuesday, April 15th, 2014 by Stephen Black - Score Atlanta

Peachtree Ridge finally broke through and made the Class AAAAAA top 10 after winning six straight games against quality competition. The Lions outscored Norcross, North Gwinnett and Mountain View 15-1 in three recent games. Walton fell out of the top five after losing three straight while West Forsyth dropped out entirely with five consecutive defeats.

Whitewater lost to two highly-regarded Florida teams over the weekend, but retained the No. 1 spot due to the Wildcats’ overall body of work against in-state competition. Houston County tumbled out of the top five while Greenbrier and Gainesville rose up to Nos. 4 and 5, [More]

Tournament play begins for No. 1 Marist, No. 5 Grady

  • 1:53 pm Tuesday, April 15th, 2014 by Chip Saye

Here are some of the top stories in girls soccer this week:

*Tournament time: Marist and Grady, ranked No. 1 and No. 5 in Class AAAA in the most recent Eurosport rankings, will be looking to secure berths in the state tournament when the Region 6-AAAA tournament begins on Tuesday night. Defending state champion Marist will host Washington in the quarterfinals and would face the Carver-Atlanta/Stone Mountain winner in the semifinals on Thursday. Marist also will squeeze in a non-region game on Wednesday against McIntosh, the top-ranked team in Class AAAAA. Grady will host Redan on Tuesday, with the winner facing [More]

Baseball: Milton star P/SS Cease to return this week … Updates on Hardaway, St. Pius, Houston County

  • 1:26 pm Tuesday, April 15th, 2014 by Todd Holcomb

Milton pitcher Dylan Cease, a major league prospect with a fastball that has reached the high-90s, will return to the Eagles’ lineup this week, but probably not as a pitcher or even a shortstop for another month, Milton coach Joey Ray said Tuesday.

Cease, who is committed to Vanderbilt, has been limited to 12 innings pitched since suffering pain in his throwing elbow a month ago.

A shortstop when not on the mound, he’s batting .343 with two home runs in 35 at-bats. He’ll be limited to a DH role until his elbow gets healthy. No structural damage was found.

The defending Class [More]

Gymnastics: Top teams, gymnasts look ahead to next week’s prelims

  • 11:56 am Tuesday, April 15th, 2014 by Craig Sager II

Score Atlanta

With regular season meets in the rearview mirror, the next week and a half will be spent looking ahead to the State Preliminary Meet on April 26 at Dunwoody. Each program and gymnast in attendance will be competing for the right to participate in the state championship on May 2 at Westminster. The minimum qualifying score for team to reach the preliminary meet this year was 96.0 and the all-around qualifying score was set at 34.0. In order to compete in an individual event, gymnasts need a score of 8.5 or better during the regular season. Team scores [More]

North Oconee’s Bertran wins Davis Cup match

  • 9:10 am Tuesday, April 15th, 2014 by Stan Awtrey

Peter Bertran of North Oconee made a successful Davis Cup debut. Bertran was playing for the Dominican Republic and defeated Robert Farah of Colombia 2-6, 6-1, 6-4.

Bertran was born in the Dominican Republic, but attends North Oconee High. He is rated as the No. 5 prospect in the state. In 2013 he won ITF tournaments in the Dominican Republic, Aruba and Barbados. He has a career-best ITF singles ranking of 112 and has a 44-19 record on that circuit.

Boys tennis: Spalding won the Region 4-AAAA championship for the third straight season by beating Eagle’s Landing 3-2 in the final. The [More]

GHSA executive committee meeting notebook

  • 1:20 pm Monday, April 14th, 2014 by Adam Krohn

Aside from the GHSA executive committee’s decision to table legislative-fueled discussions, here are some other highlights from Monday’s meeting:

• GHSA schools will be allowed to play Georgia Independent School Association (GISA) schools in sports not operating under a power rating system. GHSA sports operating under a power rating system include football, basketball, baseball and softball.
• The GHSA voted to change the financial distribution of football championship revenue and expenses as follows: AAAAAA- 19%; AAAAA – 16.5%; AAAA – 16.5%; AAA – 15.5%; AA – 14.5%; A (Public) – 9%; A (Private) – 9%. Also for football, coaches can conduct [More]

GHSA executive committee tables legislative-fueled discussions

  • 12:58 pm Monday, April 14th, 2014 by Adam Krohn

MACON – The Georgia High School Association elected to table discussions on constitutional amendments that would impose 10-year term limits on its 58 executive committee members and require that they be employed by a school or school system. The decision was made at the GHSA’s executive committee meeting, held at the Macon Marriott City Center.

The issues surrounding term limits and employment requirements of executive committee members stems from SB 343, a bill that passed the senate but stalled in the house committee in the recently concluded legislative session.

Legislators passed a law establishing the GHSA oversight committee, and that committee [More]

Top 10 HS running backs: Griffin, Swinney about to carry the load

  • 9:48 am Monday, April 14th, 2014 by Todd Holcomb

Taj Griffin of McEachern and Eric Swinney of Sandy Creek are the mostly highly recruited running back in Georgia, and each will have the chance to prove it this fall. For the first time in their high school careers, they will become feature players in their offense.

The two are the headliners in this week’s list of the 10 best high school running backs in Georgia even though their rushing totals are some of the lower ones in a group that includes 2,000-yard rushers Kawon Bryant of North Oconee and Mikell Lands-Davis of Alexander.

Grffin – rated the No. 1 all-purpose back [More]

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