Class AA Boys Championship
Greater Atlanta Christian 69, Bleckley County 52
In the Class AA boys championship game, Greater Atlanta Christian received double-digit points from all five starters to beat Bleckley County. GAC raced out the gates and opened the game on an 11-2 run. The Royals would have an answer in the second quarter and got back in the game with a stretch of deadly shooting from three-point range. The spurt faded almost as quickly as it started, but Bleckley County’s Rydealous Taylor was fantastic, scoring seven of his game-high 20 points in the first half.
The half closed with the Spartans leading 24-22, but in the third quarter, the Royals’ star senior Demario Beck would hit a three-pointer to even the game. Tydealous Taylor hit back-to-back deep balls in the quarter to give Bleckley County a small lead. Beck would end up with 14 points and nine rebounds off a 5-for-17 shooting night and wore his frustration on his sleeve. Beck picked up his third foul with 3:34 left in the third quarter. Midway through the final quarter, Beck was frustrated with his offensive production and, after missing a second chance opportunity, committed an unnecessary foul that forced him back to the bench. After Beck left the game, the Royals could never get back in it.
One of the Spartans creating the frustration was big man Justin Lewis. The junior forward had a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Sophomore Cam Boyd scored a big five points in less than a minute to answer the second-half push and finished with 13 points. Troy Morrison was the catalyst for the Spartans’ offense and was splitting into the lane relentlessly. The junior continued to visit the foul line, where he was 11-for-15. He finished with a team-high 17 points.
Isaiah Wilkins had 12 points and 12 rebounds for GAC and teammate Collin Swinton had 10 points. In the second half, the Spartans cemented their win with a 21-6 run. All 10 Spartans saw minutes with a comfortable lead that, at one point, ballooned to a 30-point advantage in GAC’s favor. Freshmen Garrett Covington and Charles Botchway came in the game after each starter received an ovation and each knocked down a pair of free throws to get on the board. The Spartans should return four of their five starters next year. The title for head coach Eddie Martin was his third since he arrived at the GAC campus for the 2008-09 season.
Class AA Girls Championship
Wesleyan 76, Laney 43
Wesleyan secured its place in Georgia history by winning a sixth straight title and joining only Hart County (1989-1994) as the only girls programs in GHSA history to pull off a “six-peat.” The first half ended with Wesleyan inbounding under its own basket with five seconds remaining. Point guard Brittany Stevens found Katie Frerking who then swung it to her wide open sister Lauren, who drilled the three-pointer at the buzzer. Three passes in under five seconds. The big shot pushed the lead to 30-25 at the intermission, and set up the Wolves for a big run to open the second half based on textbook ball movement.
Frerking had eight points in the first half, but was the go-to scorer in the second half, adding 20 points for a game-high 28. The senior also had eight rebounds and 11 steals. Wolves coach Jan Azar certainly knows how to win a title game and so does this class of seniors that never lost a title game in their high school careers.
In the second half, Azar decided to give Laney a heavy dose of the full-court press and it devoured the Wildcats. Laney entered the game with a perfect 30-0 record, but was completely exposed in this matchup as the Wolves never changed their pressing strategy. Wesleyan scored 32 of its points off turnovers and wore out Laney with speed and ball movement. Stevens played the fast-paced game with an 11:4 assist to turnover ratio. Stevens also added seven rebounds and 14 points.
Cara Mia Tsirigos came off the bench for Wesleyan and played valuable minutes. She drew three offensive fouls in the first half and then had four assists in the second half. She regularly found the cutting Frerking in traffic with precision bounce passes. Paige Mosley is another senior that contributed in all categories. She had eleven points and dished out a pair of assists with three blocks and three steals.
The third quarter opened up with a 12-4 run that at one point had Frerking scoring three field goals in under 20 seconds. Wesleyan outscored Laney 46-18 in the second half. Khadijiah Cave had a commendable game for the Wildcats offensively with 10 points and 12 rebounds, but could not seem to guard the rim against the crisp Wesleyan transition offense.
GHSA AAASP Wheelchair finals
Houston County 24, West Georgia 21
The Houston County Sharks (7-0) beat the West Georgia Wolverines 24-21 in the 2013 GHSA AAASP Wheelchair state basketball finals. Braxton Robinson led all scorers with 12 points, 10 of which came in the second half. Ja-Que Billingsley assisted on four of Robinson’s five second-half buckets and finished with eleven rebounds, four points and two blocks.
The Wolverines led 13-10 at the half and were captained by Eugene Layne and Douglas Johnston. Layne finished with 10 points and Johnston scored nine points while notching five rebounds, three blocks and four steals. The sixth man for the Sharks was the key as Jeff Sweeny put in six points to outscore West Georgia’s bench 6-0.
Houston County’s Jordan Kozloski scored her two points to start the final period and pushed the Sharks’ lead to 20-17. The teams traded baskets, and with the lead still at three, Johnston’s desperation three-point attempt at the buzzer missed wide right.
“Going undefeated feels incredible,” said Billingsley, “It was a lot of hard work and took a lot of support from each other.”
West Georgia won the title in 2007 while Houston County becomes the fifth-ever champion after receiving its first crown.