Posted: 10:39 am Friday, February 28th, 2014

AA blog: The semifinals have arrived 

By Adam Krohn

The Class AA basketball semifinals have arrived and there are now four teams each on the boys’ and girls’ sides who will vie for a cherished state title. Both the boys and girls semifinals will be held Saturday at Columbus State University. On the boys’ side, Vidalia, Calhoun, Laney and Greater Atlanta Christian remain. On the girls’ side, Putnam County, Kendrick, Laney and Wesleyan remain. Interesting note: all eight teams are No. 1 seeds.

Here is the schedule for Saturday at Columbus State:

Boys
Laney vs. GAC, 4:45 p.m.
Vidalia vs. Calhoun, 8:15 p.m.

Girls
Putnam County vs. Kendrick, 3 p.m.
Laney vs. Wesleyan, 6:30 p.m.

Last week, I posted my predictions for both the boys and girls Class AA state tournaments. On the boys’ side, I correctly picked the final four, so my pick of a Calhoun-GAC final – with GAC winning – is well intact. More on that in a moment.

On the girls’ side, however, my bracket is a mess. While I was correct in picking Laney and Wesleyan reaching the semifinals, I was incorrect in picking Bleckley County and GAC to get that far. To make matters worse, I picked GAC to win the state title over Wesleyan. On Wednesday, Kendrick narrowly defeated GAC 65-62 on the road in the quarterfinals.

I picked GAC because of the strides I saw the team make against its Region 6 rival and five-time defending state champions Wesleyan. GAC beat Wesleyan to earn the top seed in the region tournament and came within three points of beating Wesleyan again in the region title game, which Wesleyan hosted.

I figured GAC would have the confidence and momentum it needed to earn a rematch with Wesleyan in the state title game, and with that game being played at a neutral site that GAC would pull off the victory. But, obviously, I underestimated Kendrick – a team undefeated and ranked No. 2 in the state.

On the boys’ side, my Final Four is correct, but I’ve made what I consider a bold prediction in picking Calhoun over Vidalia. I consider the pick bold because Vidalia is the No. 2-ranked team in the state, is one of two teams in Class AA that remain undefeated and has won its games by an average of 41.1 points. That margin of victory average includes the playoffs, where Vidalia has won 97-30 and 80-62.

Here’s the thing: Vidalia hasn’t been challenged all season. The closest any opponent came was 15 points. Are the Vidalia Indians really that good, or have they simply not been challenged by a capable opponent? I think the Indians are an incredibly talented team, but I’m going with the latter. And that’s why I think they’ll be in trouble should they face a challenge and the game is tight late in the fourth quarter, because they haven’t been in that situation all season long. And I believe Calhoun is the team to give them that challenge and, ultimately, prevail.

That being said, I don’t think there’s a team in the bracket capable of beating the GAC Spartans, the defending state-champs and Class AA’s other undefeated team. The Spartans’ undefeated record carries more weight than Vidalia’s based on the strength of their schedule, which includes winning the prestigious Arby’s Classic.

Again, Vidalia is definitely not overrated and is definitely one of the state’s best. I just question if the Indians will be able to react if they’re ever faced with pressure after coasting all season.

And GAC may be the best team in the state, regardless of classification.

Send Adam Krohn an email at AdamKrohnAJC@yahoo.com and follow him on Twitter.

15 comments
loel
loel

Well, I have seen GAC, Vidalia, and Calhoun play this year and Calhoun is the fastest of all.  After seeing Adam's prediction of a Calhoun win, I didn't think it was all that bold.  Only two losses; one 104-103 in overtime and the other they beat a top five Model team two out of the three played head to head.

Adam Krohn
Adam Krohn moderator

Hello, everybody!


Be sure to check out my blog on Tuesday where I revisit my prediction that Calhoun would beat Vidalia. It will be a fun blog to read!

LANEY C/O95
LANEY C/O95

GAC shot 54 free throws and win by 8!!! WOW is all i can say....

RDW Wildcat4Life
RDW Wildcat4Life

Every since Laney won state in 2012, you and AJC has had nothing good to say about my beloved Wildcats.

You guys will see today.Laney has been to how many Final Fours in both Boys and Girls. We always have GREAT Teams but you guys will not give any school outside the Atlanta area props. Look past Atl dude and recognize game.... Laney has made game son.

Wildcat Alum97
Wildcat Alum97

If I recall, we played Greater Atlanta Christian the toughest out of any opponent in the playoffs last year, only losing by 8 points.  All of our key players are back from a year ago.  We have a starting lineup consisting of two sophomores, two juniors, and one senior.  We play an up-tempo style game and have four players that consistently knock it down from three-point range.  It seems as if GAC has been a thorn in our flesh for some years but hopefully we can finally slay the giant.  We are capable but we must capitalize off of GAC's mistakes, make our free throws, make our layups, make smart shot selections and fearlessly take the ball to their big men and get them in foul trouble.  If we do these things, then I know have a great chance of defeating GAC.  

johnkoon
johnkoon

Adam, you stated "Vidalia hasn’t played a top 25 team in any classification all season" Really? I think McIntosh Co. was in the AJC's Top 10 several weeks this year as were Westside Augusta and I believe NE Macon...I also believe Valdosta was in the 6A top 25. All of these AA teams are also in Maxpreps Current AA Top 10 which has nothing to do with the opinion of AJC sports writers....Oh and Maxpreps also has Vidalia as the 14th best team in the state regardless of classification...you may want to research a little more before posting....just saying.

lightsoutfrom3
lightsoutfrom3

I am excited about all the games tom. I live in Columbus so I will be riding over to CSU to watch the games. I will be cheering for the hometown Cherokees in the first game. They have been solid all year and Coach Hicks said you need a little luck to win a championship and they got that against the GAC girls. GAC missed a gm winning free throw in regulation and lost in overtime. Kendrick was given a second life and will take full advantage of it. Don't get me wrong Kendrick deserves to be in the final four because they fought to the end in that game. I will say this that Cummings girl and the point guard for GAC are the best two girls I have seen play this year.

I'm for anybody against GAC. Call me biased. I don't mind a person going to a private school to better their education but when it comes to sports they should have a league of their own or play up in competition like Marist does. It's hard for public schools to compete against schools that can hand pick their players.

billburton
billburton

Correction, Adam.  The GAC boys did not play Wheeler this season.  The Spartans did defeat Milton in the championship game of the Arby's Classic in late December.

The Doctor
The Doctor

All I can say is...competition or lack thereof Adam, you obviously have not seen Vidalia play a game cause I have watched Calhoun on ghsa.tv & have seen Vidalia play...game won't be within the 15 points of Vidalia's closest margin of victory.

While anything can happen on a given night, Vidalia is very DEEP with 10+ guys that legitimately can score double figures on any given night (my bad I let out the secret for those who haven't seen the Indians play..lol). I just don't believe Calhoun will be able to handle the onslaught for a full 32 minutes.

Adam get out the ATL more to catch some other games of top teams around the state...just a little food for thought.

sharpedressedman
sharpedressedman

I respect your opinion, but I don't believe the Vidalia/Calhoun game will even be close. I agree that Vidalia hasn't been challenged, but they've faced some capable opponents. Lake Wells, a team Vidalia defeated by nearly 30 points, was only narrowly eliminated in the quarter-finals of Florida's 6A tournament. Moreover, I think it's a bit ridiculous to say GAC is incapable of defeat. I applaud the Spartans for defeating Jefferson in a tough environment, but the margin of victory wasn't jaw-dropping. In fact, I wouldn't be entirely surprised if the Wildcats defeat the Spartans in Columbus. But I digress. Only time will tell, but my instincts tell me Vidalia will surprise you on Saturday. If Calhoun had trouble with Coosa at home last night, they're in for a rude awakening.

LANEY C/O95
LANEY C/O95

@Adam Krohn the games has to be played. GAC will be in for a very competitive close game! And so will Wesleyan. I really can't blame u for being bias if u don't know u just don't know. Maybe getting out of Atlanta and covering more of Ga would enlighten ur opinions....

lightsoutfrom3
lightsoutfrom3

I believe Kendrick will win the girls championship but if anyone can give them trouble I believe it is Laney and not Wesleyan. I know they have won all those championships but I believe their team is not nearly as strong as past teams but I could be wrong. 

GAC will not be handed the title. I believe they will be given I stiff test by a Laney team that is a few points away from being undefeated themselves. GAC won by the 13 over Jefferson and Laney is a better team. If they get past Laney I do believe they will play Vidalia and be taken to the limit. I don't believe your bias I just believe your able to observe Atlanta teams more because their in your area. I know how good GAC and the other private schools are. It must be nice to recruit what players you want. Don't be surprised when GAC loses because you heard it here first.

LANEY C/O95
LANEY C/O95

Wow!! So nothing on the #3 ranked Laney boys and girls teams??? I guess they shouldn't even show up huh? Just like u were in football you are very bias against Laney!!!#Weshallsee.

Adam Krohn
Adam Krohn moderator

@LANEY C/O95 I stated my opinions on the teams I believed would win the state title and I explained my reasoning for picking Calhoun over Vidalia. You are correct that I did not mention Laney. But simply having an opinion or not mentioning a certain team does not mean I'm bias. 

I'm not bias.