Class 3A Boys Preview: Sandy Creek vs. Cedar Grove
Sandy Creek Patriots
Record/ranking: 25-6, No. 1 seed from Region 5, ranked No. 2.
Coach: Jon-Michael Nickerson
Top players: Micah Smith, Vic Newsom, Amari Brown, Jaren Alexander, P.J. Green. Smith, a junior, was the Region 2 Player of the Year. Smith, who has offers from Georgia Tech, Auburn, Cincinnati and others, had 16 points, nine rebounds, five blocks and four assists in the semifinal vs. Cross Creek.
How they got there: def. Ringgold 100-57, def. Wesleyan 68-22, def. Johnson Savannah 56-50, def. Cross Creek 61-44.
Previous championships: None.
Cedar Grove Saints
Record/ranking: 20-9, No. 2 seen in Region 5, ranked No. 8.
Coach: Akeem White
Top players: Manny Green (11.9), Darius Reynolds (14.4 points), Jaylen Adside (15.3 points), E.J. Colson (12.4 points). Green and Reynolds each had a double-double and Adside had 18 points and five assists in the semifinal victory.
How they got there: def. LaFayette 73-53, def. Monroe Area 62-53, def. Long County 95-92 2OT, def. Douglass 61-45.
Previous championships: One – 1997.
Game notes: These teams have met three times, with Sandy Creek winning each time – 91-56 on Jan. 24, 71-48 on Feb. 10 and 76-52 in the region championship game on Feb. 16. … The same two teams played in the state championship football game, with Sandy Creek on a late touchdown. … Sandy Creek beat two-time defending champion Cross Creek in the Final Four.