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David Purdum

High school basketball: Alexander boys surge into rankings

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Region 5-AAAA now has three teams in the Top 10.

Alexander knocked off formerly No. 2 Sandy Creek in triple overtime last week, moving coach Jason Slate’s team into sole possession of first place in the region and setting up a showdown with second-place Carrollton on Tuesday night. (Will update with result when available).

The Cougars, who reached the Elite 8 last season, entered this week’s AAAA rankings at No. 8.

On the road at Sandy Creek, Alexander rallied from an eight-point halftime deficit, overcame some shaky free-throw shooting and closed the game with a 23-4 run in third overtime.

“There was a lot we didn’t do to finish the game (in regulation and first two overtimes),” said Slate. “We just told the kids going into the third overtime that, ‘let’s not depend on free throws; let’s not depend on referees’ calls. Let’s go it.’ And we did. We just decided we weren’t going to lose.”

The win was Alexander’s third in four days and sixth in a row overall.

The Cougars aren’t going to overwhelm anyone with height, but they do have a bevy of solid contributors to throw at teams. Senior comb-guard Hassani Gravett leads the team in scoring and is committed to Gardner-Webb. Senior wing Jaquon Grier and junior guard Mikell Lands-Davis came over from football and have provided a spark. And junior wing Artavius Love hit two big 3-pointers to jumpstart the Cougars’ big run in the third overtime against Sandy Creek.

After Carrollton, the Cougars host Columbia on Friday and are at Lithia Springs on Saturday and then travel to second-ranked Fayette County on Jan. 21.

Latest AJC AAAA Rankings
Boys
1. Columbia (11-1)
2. Fayette County (10-2)
3. Rutland (12-2)
4. Eagle’s Landing (12-4)
5. South Atlanta (10-4)
6. Jonesboro (12-4)
7. Glenn Hills (11-4)
8. Alexander (10-3)
9. Liberty County (13-4)
10. Sandy Creek (11-3)
Girls
1. Redan (14-0)
2. Columbus (13-1)
3. Cross Creek (14-1)
4. Carrollton (12-2)
5. Columbia (7-2)
6. Monroe (13-4)
7. Woodland-Stockbridge (12-3)
8. Chestatee (14-3)
9. Mary Persons (13-2)
10. Burke County (14-2)

(Rankings for all classifications)

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