Both boys and girls quarterfinals were contested Wednesday around the state. Some of the highlights included the North Cobb boys upsetting No. 1 Tift County in Tifton while Norcross rolled to another big win.
Hillgrove 57, Brunswick 46: Hillgrove and host Brunswick were tied with five minutes left in the fourth when the Hawks defense shut down Brunswick and Hillgrove hit 8-of-10 from the free throw line to escape with a victory. Kyle Castline led Hillgrove with 18 points and B.J. Brown scored 12 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter to give Ed Morris’ team the victory.
North Cobb 68, Tift County 63: North Cobb rallied from a 52-45 deficit at the end of the third quarter behind 16 combined points in the final period from Lee Moore (9) and Jordan Neff (7). A 3-point play from Moore with 2:47 left gave North Cobb a lead it would not relinquish. Neff finished with 22 points, Jon Beausejour had 21 points and 12 rebounds, and Moore added 18. The Warriors were 15-of-15 from the free throw line and made nine 3-pointers. Brannen Green led Tift County with 22 points.
Norcross 56, Berkmar 35: Norcross trailed Berkmar 13-10 after one quarter before the host Blue Devils ran off a 15-2 second quarter and never looked back. Jesse McMillan’s team then outscored Berkmar 31-20 in the second half of the victory. Terrence O’Donohue led Norcross with 19 points and Andre Chatfield added seven points. Senior guard Brandon Goodwin scored seven points, grabbed nine rebounds and dished out eight assists in the victory.
Wheeler 60, Peachtree Ridge 47: The host Wheeler Wildcats took apart Peachtree Ridge behind the efforts of Elijah Staley (17 points, 11 rebounds) and Avery Patterson (15 points). Doug Lipscomb’s team forced Peachtree Ridge into 17 turnovers and kept Jordan Capps to just 15 points, the only Lion to reach double figures.
Effingham County 84, Creekside 52: Effingham County jumped on top of host Creekside early, taking a 38-8 lead before extending the lead to 27 points for a 45-18 halftime advantage. Creekside senior Chris Sanders-McCollum finished with just two points and was forced to leave the game with a left hand injury. Effingham County led 67-35 after three periods as both teams scored 17 points in the fourth quarter.
Gainesville 60, New Manchester 58: Gainesville led New Manchester 30-28 at halftime and each team would score 30 points in the second half as the Red Elephants held off New Manchester at home. Senior guard Jikeese Ruff sank two free throws with time winding down to put Gainesville ahead before New Manchester missed a potential game-winning shot.
Eagle’s Landing 85, Westover 61: The Golden Eagles stretched a 12-point halftime lead into a 25-point advantage in the third quarter. Visiting Eagle’s Landing was led by senior guard Trevin Joseph’s 25 points and senior power forward Desmond Ringer had 17. Senior point guard Eric Wortham had eight assists and senior power forward Chris Davenport had eight rebounds.
Columbia 50, Marist 41: Taaj Shamsid-Deen scored 24 points including 15 in the first half to help the host Eagles get off to a strong start. Marist managed to keep the game close throughout, but Quinton Stephens scored just 10 points as Columbia forced him into a 4-of-16 night.
Statesboro 60, Rutland 58: Alex Simmons scored 18 points and grabbed 16 rebounds to help Statesboro pull off a victory at Rutland. Zaquavian Smith slipped in a layup just before the buzzer to push Statesboro into the semifinals. O’Aaron Ware led all scorers with 19 points.
Buford 60, Woodward Academy 54: Host Buford trailed 24-20 at intermission and opened the second half with a 6-0 run. Isaiah Williams and A.J. Davis both had 15 points for the Wolves, Coby Durden had 13 points and Kyle Doyle also reached double figures with 10 points.
Johnson-Savannah 66, Tattnall County 48: Tim Quarterman scored 20 points to lead Johnson-Savannah to an 18-point home victory over Tattnall County. Greg Mortimer scored 12 points while Saadiq Muhammad chipped in 10 points.
North Hall 51, St. Pius 44: North Hall led St. Pius by one after the first quarter and slowly built a lead that would grow to as many as six as the Trojans reached the semifinals for the first time since 2010. Senior Ebo Smith scored 26 points to help North Hall past St. Pius at home.
GAC 77, Manchester 52: Greater Atlanta Christian received 21 points, 19 rebounds and 10 blocks from junior Isaiah Wilkins and 19 points from senior Collin Swinton in a home victory over Manchester. Troy Morrison added 15 points as the Spartans advanced to the semifinals, seeking the program’s third title in the last four years. Manchester was held to a season-low 52 points.
Athens Christian 78, North Cobb Christian 76: Visiting Athens Christian trailed by 21 in the first half before catching fire. Sophomore point guard Turtle Jackson scored 36 points and was a perfect 11-for-11 from the foul line. Jackson also scored 22 of the Eagles’ 33 points in the decisive fourth quarter. The Eagles made a school-record 11-of-15 3-point attempts and made 19 of 20 free throws.
Greenforest Christian 63, Calvary Day 29: Host Greenforest Christian separated themselves early and took a 24-9 lead into the half. The Eagles dominated the paint, grabbing 43 total rebounds and blocking 13 Cavaliers shots. Ugo Celeste and Tosin Mehinti had 14 points each and Mehinti also grabbed 14 rebounds. Senior guard Rashard Swain dished out seven assists for the Eagles.
St. Francis 80, W.D. Mohammed 56: Host St. Francis rode huge scoring nights from sophomores Malik Beasley and Keshawn Gibbs as well as freshman Kobi Jordan-Simmons. Beasley had a game-high 23 points, Gibbs had 22 and Jordan-Simmons had 16. W.D. Mohammed was led by standout point guard Mohammed Hamilton, who had 14 points, and teammate Majid Omar, who had 13.
Jenkins County 75, Seminole County 70: Jenkins County held host Seminole County scoreless over the final four minutes of the fourth quarter to knock off the No. 1 team in the Class A-Public bracket. Jordan Harris scored 25 points for Seminole County, but Justin Ellis put in 20 for Jenkins County to help the Eagles end the game on a 13-0 run to advance.
North Cobb 55, Tift County 30: North Cobb went into a crowded Tift County gym and exploded to a 18-6 lead after one period. An 11-0 run to start the fourth quarter put the host Blue Devils away, as sophomore Kyrie’ Chandler scored 10 of her 16 points in the final quarter. Senior wing Amber Reeves added 13. Seniors Bria Woods and Sierra Barrino each had 10 rebounds.
Effingham County 59, Thomas County Central 53: Effingham County received 23 points from Kyesha Lewis with JaKayvea Akins adding 16 points as Effingham County rallied at home past the visiting Yellow Jackets. Thomas County Central lost a three-point lead with just under three minutes remaining as a pair of Yellow Jackets fouled out, helping Effingham County rally.
St. Francis 61, Darlington 40: Nigia Greene scored 20 points for St. Francis while Nettie Brown and Candice Williams added 10 each. The host Knights led by 10 at the half and dominated the second behind full-court pressure defense.
Contributors: Fletcher Proctor, Craig Sager II