The 2016 GHSA State Basketball Championships got off to a picture-perfect start. Picture perfect because the Turner County girls kicked off Championship week with a 55-38 win over Terrell County to finish the season a perfect 31-0, as class A-Public girls champions.
The Wilkinson County boys added another trophy to the case, with a 55-42 win over region rival Hancock Central. Then Americus-Sumter breezed to a 56-38 win over Veterans in the class AAAA girls final.
The nightcap had Liberty County facing Jonesboro for the class AAAA boys title. Auburn Coach Bruce Pearl was in the house to watch his recruit, Davion Mitchell, face Jonesboro’s MJ Walker. The Coach was all smiles at the end, as his guy Mitchell, led the Panthers to their first state title while halting the Cardinals three-peat 58-52.
Day 2 of the finals will bring more stars out in Macon. It starts with a class AA girls final that is a grudge match. Holy Innocents and Wesleyan are region rivals. Last year The Golden Bears beat Wesleyan 3 times before meeting in the final. The 4th time was the charm for the Wolves, who dashed the Golden Bears 30-0 record and took the title.Today’s rematch starts at 3 p.m. and should be big fun.
The Boys AA Final will draw loads of attention, as the nation’s top recruit for 2017, Wendell Carter, leads Pace Academy against Manchester. The 6-10 Carter has offers from Kentucky, Duke, Kansas and North Carolina. We will be keeping an eye out for any or all of those coaches to make an appearance at the Macon Coliseum.Tip Off is 4:45
The class AAAAA Girls final will feature one of the state’s more successful programs in Southwest DeKalb.Coach Kathy Walton’s Panthers will be seeking their 5th state crown since 2008 against a Winder-Barrow team that made it to the final four for the first time since 1993. The game starts at 7 p.m.
The nightcap should provide fireworks as 6-time state champ Miller Grove faces unbeaten Allatoona at 8:45. No pre-game hype needed for this one. The Wolverines had their string of state championships snapped last year, and will seek to reclaim the crown against a Buccaneers team that lost to Brunswick in the final last year. Miller Grove will be led by Senior Alterique Gilbert. The McDonald’s All-American is bound for UConn next fall.
Don’t forget to watch the GHSA State Finals on GPB Sports or online at GPB.Org
Keep an eye on 929TheGame.com for state tournament update.
By Sam Crenshaw