The Georgia High School Association (GHSA) championship games were held March 7-10 in Macon, Georgia at the Macon Centreplex and at Georgia Tech University’s McCamish Pavilion. After the dust settled, 16 teams that could claim they were the best.
Private A Girls – Wesleyan 61 Holy Innocent 44
These two schools met for the fourth straight time in the championship game. Wesleyan has now won three of the four meetings. It is their 13th state title in 16 years. I think it’s safe to call them a powerhouse. Sutton West led the champs with 17 points and eight rebounds. She helped increase their five point halftime lead to 12 by the beginning of the fourth quarter. A lead they would never squander. This was Coach Jan Azar’s 13th title.
Public A Girls – Greenville 73 Marion County 52
Greenville made it three the hard way, claiming their first ever state title. Marion County won the Region title despite losing the two regular season games. Brittany Davis scored 30 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for the champs. She shot an impressive 19 of 20 from the free throw line. Greenville never trailed in the game as they cruised to a victory.
Public 2A Girls – Laney 63 Josey 40
Laney just went Drake: back-to-back. They completed an undefeated season of 32-0 with a championship. It was the fifth time the battle for Augusta has taken place. The crazy thing is, Josey only lost five games all year to their city rivals. De’Sha Benjamin led Laney with 26 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, three steals and two blocks. She gave her head coach Otis Smart his third title in four years.
Public 3A Girls – Johnson-Savannah 62 Greater Atlanta Christian 50
The pain of watching someone else celebrate a championship lingered for 365 days for Johnson-Savannah. That’s why it was so sweet when they won this year. J’Mya Cutter led the team with 19 points and added six rebounds. After going up 13-2 to end the first quarter, Johnson-Savannah never looked back. They never trailed in the game.
Public 4A Girls – Spalding 58 Henry County 46
It’s not how you start but how you finish. Spalding came into the championship on a 16 game winning streak. They carried that momentum into a title victory. It helped them win the first ever title for girls in the city of Griffin. The team shot 17-32 from three-point range to secure the victory. However, it was Corriana Evans that was simply amazing. She had a game high 19 points, a game high 17 rebounds, two steals, and a block. I believe she sold nachos during halftime as well.
Public 5A Girls – Buford 60 Flowery Branch 49
Buford must like the number 60 because they won last year’s title by scoring 60 points. They too like the music artist Drake: back-to-back. This would be the fourth time they played Flowery Branch and the fourth time winning. No surprise that senior Tory Ozment would again emerge as the leader. She scored 28 points, grabbed seven rebounds, dished out 5 assists, and had two steals. She and her senior class would claim three titles in their four years at Buford. This would be their sixth title in ten years.
Public 6A Girls – Lovejoy 57 Harrison 41
It was a close game to begin the fourth quarter. Harrison had a 36-34 lead. It seemed like the last team with the ball would win. That’s when Lovejoy decided they wanted the championship a little bit more. They took the lead with 6:51 left in the game and never looked back. They scored 23 points in the final quarter. Sophomore Anaya Boyd led the charge with 20 points and five rebounds. This was their first state title for the program.
Public 7A Girls – Westlake 60 Newton 45
Westlake was 29-0 for the season. Just one more win for a state title and a perfect season. Mission accomplished. It wouldn’t be easy though. Westlake lead the first quarter 12-7 but Newton would lead at halftime 24-23. That’s when Westlake came out the second half and established that they were not going to lose. They outscored Newton 37-21 in the second half. Even that wasn’t as easy as it looked because Newton was up 32-21 with 1:32 left in the third quarter. Anastasia Warren led Westlake with 22 points and grabbed three rebounds.
Private A Boys – Aquinas 65 St. Francis 60
I have to be honest, I have no idea who or where Aquinas is. What I do know is that the Fightin’ Irish out of Augusta are state champs! I also know that Tre Gomillion is pretty good. He scored 16 points and grabbed 14 rebounds for Aquinas to win their first state title. It didn’t look like they were going to pull it off early on. St. Francis held their seven-point lead from the first quarter thru halftime. Then Aquinas realized they needed to make some second half adjustments. They scored 25 points in the third quarter to take a 51-42 lead. It was just a matter of holding that lead until the final horn sounded.
Public A Boys – Wilkinson County 71 Montgomery County 68
Wilkinson won the battle of the Counties in one of the best games of the tournament. It took a pair of free throws in the final 28 seconds to give them their victory. Montgomery had a shot at the end but a desperation heave went out of bounds with one second left. This gave Wilkinson their third straight title. They were led by Jaylen Lamar who scored 22 points and three rebounds. Whatever Coach Aaron Geter Jr. is saying is working, he just won his 10th title.
Public 2A Boys – Thomasville 66 Vidalia 31
It wasn’t the onions making Vidalia cry. Ok, that might have been a tad lame. What wasn’t lame was Thomasville. They jumped out to 19-5 first quarter lead then increased it to 41-10 at halftime. Every player for Thomasville got into the game. It was Reggie Perry who was the player of the game though. He scored 17 points, grabbed eight rebounds, dished out five assists, blocked four shots, and had one steal.
Public 3A Boys – Georgia Atlanta Christian 67 Jenkins 53
The Boys did what the Girls failed to do, win it all. GAC had a slim five-point lead at the end of the first quarter and watched it turn into a five-point deficit at halftime. The Girls had immediately played before them, so that had to be their motivation. They scored 47 points in the second half, holding Jenkins to 28. Hunter McIntosh led the way with 19 points, eight rebounds, two assists, and two steals.
Public 4A Boys – Upson-Lee 70 St. Pius 54
Upson-Lee were undefeated champions last year. They decided it was so nice that they would do it twice. They went 31-0 in route to another state championship beating the same team from last year. They had three of their players, one a starter, arrested the week of the game and still managed to win. Coach Darrell Lockhart really had to coach this game. They went from down one at halftime to outscoring St. Pius 38-21 in the second half. Tavias Fagan led the champs with 21 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, two blocks, and a steal.
Public 5A Boys – Warner Robins 67 Miller Grove 64
It was one of the best games of the tournament. It was a one point lead for Miller Grove at halftime. Warner Robins controlled the third quarter, only to watch Miller Grove come back in the fourth quarter. That’s when Jacolbey Owens sank a three-pointer to seal the deal. He finished the game with 24 points, four rebounds, and four assists. Warner Robins didn’t have far to travel to collect their first ever 5A state title, just 20 miles.
Public 6A Boys – Langston Hughes 85 Gainesville 78
Gainesville lost in the quarterfinals last year to Hughes, so revenge was on their minds. Hughes had other plans, that’s right, cue the Drake reference. Gainesville took a 45-38 lead into halftime. It was Hughes who came out in the third quarter and outscored them 27-14. That was all that was needed as they were led by Landers Nolley who scored 34 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, dished out six assists, had three steals, and one block. He also was seen selling Gatorade during halftime.
Public 7A Boys – Meadowcreek 56 Norcross 43
Both teams were familiar with each other coming into the game. Norcross had won the previous three meetings, two of which on buzzer-beaters. Norcross had a 36-34 lead going into the fourth quarter. It seemed like this would go their way again. Meadowcreek dug deep and outscored them 22-7 in the fourth led by Dequarius Nicholas’ 16 points, eight rebounds, two assists, and two steals. Meadowcreek would take home their first state basketball championship in school history.
Congratulations to the 16 teams on becoming the best of the best this season!