Round 1 of the Class AA playoffs is in the books on both the boys and girls sides and there were no major upsets in either bracket, though there was a close call for one girls top seed.
On the girls side, top seeds Fitzgerald (Region 1), Bryan County (2), Bleckley County (3), Laney (4), Heard County (5), Hapeville Charter (6), Model (7) and Rabun County (8) won, but No. 10-ranked Heard County barely edged Pepperell, 42-40 in overtime. All other top seeds posted double-digit wins save Bleckley County, which beat Thomasville 51-43.
A few No. 2 seeds fell, including Josey (Region 4) to Jeff Davis (2), Callaway (5) to Dade County (7) and Banks County (8) to South Atlanta (6), with Banks County being the only ranked team to exit in the first round. The Lady Leopards were ranked No. 8.
Also of note, the wins by Region 6’s Hapeville Charter and South Atlanta are notable because they’d previously never won a state playoff game according to Georgia High School Basketball Project.
Girls performances of note:
- No. 4 Fitzgerald’s T’Kayshza King (25 points, 8 rebounds, 6 steals), Kirstin Cook (23 points, 7 assists) and Keyara Boone (23 points, 6 rebounds) led the Purple Hurricane to an 86-76 victory over Dublin.
- Julianne Brown was one of No. 6 Bryan County‘s four double-digit scorers with 19 points an a 62-31 win against Westside.
- Bleckley County‘s Jahnaria Brown scored 12 points to lead the Lady Royals over Thomasville.
- De’Sha Benjamin battled illness to lead top-ranked Laney with 15 points
- No. 10 Heard County‘s Kimberly Harris led the Lady Braves with 14 points, including a shot at the buzzer to send the game to overtime and spoil Pepperell’s upset bid.
- Victaria Saxton scored a game-high 27 points for No. 2 Model in the Lady Blue Devils’ 63-28 win over Temple.
On the boys side, top seeds Early County (Region 1), Swainsboro (2), Washington County (3), Laney (4), Heard County (5), South Atlanta (6), Chattooga (7) and Banks County (8) all won by double digits except for No. 8 Chattooga, which beat Temple 59-53, and Washington County, which beat Albany 61-56.
Only one No. 2 seed lost and that was Metter (Region 2) to No. 10 Josey (3), with Josey’s win meaning that all ranked teams advanced.
Boys performances of note:
- Natahj Tanksley was one of four double-digit scorers for the No. 2 Laney Wildcats in their 81-44 win over Bacon County.
- Heard County won its first playoff game since 2002 behind Jordarius Foster’s game-high 20 points.
- No. 8 Chattooga was led by Montavious Shropshire, Jay Sropshire, Devin Price and Isaac Foster, who all score 12 points.
- Carl Cleveland score 13 points and Kahmal Wiley added a double-double of 10 points and 11 rebounds to go with three steals and three blocks as the No. 9 Banks County Leopards beat Washington 53-34.
- Keith Littles scored 25 points and Mardrez McBride had 19 as No. 3 Butler beat Jeff Davis 88-67.
- No. 6 Thomasville won behind the effort of Reggie Perry, who scored 21 points and added 3 blocks.
Check back on Wednesday, when we’ll take a look at the top second round matchups and review playoff predictions made before the tournament started.
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