Carver-Columbus, Henry County and Sandy Creek used double-digit victories to advance both their boys and girls teams into the Elite 8. These title hopefuls lead us into a slate of eight quarterfinals matchups to look forward to next week.
In the boys bracket, Region 4 champion Henry County and Region 5 champion LaGrange each come off comfortable victories in the second round. The Warhawks outscored Lafayette by 30 points to improve to 23-5, while LaGrange put up an 85-74 effort in its victory over Richmond Academy. Henry County carries a 17-game winning streak into the quarterfinals and senior Javon Greene matches up with LaGrange’s depth and trio of LaPerion Perry, Bo Russell and Bryan Fanning.
As impressive as LaGrange’s 17-game winning streak has been, top-ranked Upson-Lee puts a perfect 28-0 season on the line against No. 3 seed Thomson, which survived a 55-48 overtime thriller with Blessed Trinity. Upson-Lee held off Stephens County 76-71 in the second round and can dial up the focus now that their pursuit of perfection and quest for the program’s first-ever state title has sharpened the focus to a potential three-game season.
Region 8 champion St. Pius sets up a quarterfinal showdown with Region 1 champion Carver-Columbus. Carver junior Rodney Battle opened the postseason with a 31-point effort in the Tigers’ 96-76 win over Burke County, while senior Daniel Melvin and sophomores Devin Flowers and A.J. Watts remain double-digit scorers. St. Pius stared at a 56-53 deficit entering the fourth quarter, but kept its season alive by outscoring Mary Persons 19-15 in the fourth quarter of its 74-71 victory.
The final boys matchup Perry and Sandy Creek is the only matchup in Class AAAA without a No. 1 seed. Sandy Creek’s athleticism and energetic playing style has suited the Patriots well in the postseason as they bounced back from an overtime loss to LaGrange in the region championships with two strong offensive showings in the postseason. Evan Jester (21), KJ Wilkins (19), TJ Bickerstaff (14), Xavier Brewer (14) and Jarred Godfrey (10) each hit double-figures to fuel Sandy Creeks’ 84-73 win over Westover on Thursday. Perry’s defense limited Northwest Whitfield to just 47 points in Thursday’s 68-57 victory, bringing the Panthers’ average margin of victory to 18.5 points per game this postseason. The Panthers are averaging just 59.6 points per game this season, so they will look to keep the pace down against the athleticism and explosiveness of Sandy Creek.
Second Round Results
R4 #1 Henry County 82, R6 #2 Lafayette 52
R5 #1 LaGrange 85, R3 #2 Richmond Academy 74
R2 #1 Upson-Lee 76, R8 #2 Stephens County 71
R3 #3 Thomson 55, R7 #1 Blessed Trinity 48 OT
R8 #1 St. Pius 74, R2 #2 Mary Persons 71
R1 #1 Carver-Columbus 61, R7 #2 Marist 44
R2 #3 Perry 68, R6 #1 Northwest Whitfield 47
R5 #2 Sandy Creek 84, R1 #4 Westover 73
R4 #1 Henry County vs. R5 #1 LaGrange
R3 #3 Thomson vs. R2#1 Upson-Lee
R8 #1 St. Pius vs. R1 #1 Carver-Columbus
R2 #3 Perry vs. R5 #2 Sandy Creek