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SWEET 16 Preview

How “Sweet” it is! It was a successful round one for many of our teams last Friday-Saturday, with both Banks teams sweeping to the next round, as well as the Dawson and Stephens boys and Rabun girls.

Here are the previews for the Sweet 16 matchups!

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Class 4A


#3 Stephens Co Indians (21-8) @ #1 Sandy Creek Patriots (23-5)

WHEN: Thursday, February 22 | 7:30 PM
WHERE: Tyrone, GA | Sandy Creek HS
RND 1 RECAPS: The Indians cruised to a 68-44 win at Marist behind another solid night from leaders De’Undra Singleton, Ty Nails and Montavious Thornton. Sandy Creek, ranked #3 in the state, rolled through Ridgeland 101-43.
SWEET 16 PREVIEW: Stephens County will have to be road warriors yet again, but this one will be much tougher. Coach Chad Bridges’ boys will be facing on the of the more elite offenses in the state (70 pts/game). The Patriots have now won 12 straight, so they are riding high right now. Look out for Jarred Godfrey (SR), who averages 16.3 pts, 5.7 reb & 4 ast per game for the Patriots. Junior TJ Bickerstaff is just as lethal (15.6 pts, 8.9 reb, 2.5 ast). Sandy Creek shoots a ridiculous 45% from the floor, but get them to the line and they shoot at a 68% clip.


Class 3A


#2 Dawson Co Tigers (19-9) @ #1 Cedar Grove Saints (22-6)

WHEN: Thursday, February 22 | 7 PM
WHERE: Ellenwood, GA | Cedar Grove HS
RND 1 RECAPS: The Tigers continued to play well in a 66-53 win over Monroe Area at home. Campbell Reed led Dawson with 17 pts, while Ryan Gallenkamp had 15 pts with 6 boards. Cullen Reed (13 pts, 5 reb, 5 ast) had another great night, as did Jeremiah Crumley (10 pts, 10 reb, 7 ast), both flirting with a triple-double. Cedar Grove earned a 60-40 win over Ringgold in the opening round.
SWEET 16 PREVIEW: Dawson County has its work cut out for it…the Saints are the #4-team in the state. However the #10 Tigers are back to the Sweet 16 for the first time since the 2013-14 season. Chad Pittman’s team will need to have another night like last weekend, when guys like Campbell Reed and Gallenkamp can carry the team if Cullen Reed and Crumley are being heavily guarded.


Class 2A


#1 Banks Co Leopards (25-4) vs #2 South Atlanta Hornets (24-4)

WHEN: Thursday, February 22 | 6 PM
WHERE: Homer, GA | Banks Co HS
RND 1 RECAPS: The Leopards survived a huge upset scare in round one, rallying late in the second half to take a 67-51 win over Coosa. Banks never led until about two minutes left in the third quarter. This in large part was due to unbelievable shooting by Coosa (especially from long distance) early on, and the absence of star Carl Cleveland, who rolled his ankle the day before. South Atlanta drilled Temple, 90-44 in the first round.
SWEET 16 PREVIEW: Banks County has been here now four years in a row, and this is the hump its hoping to leap over. The order is tall, as South Atlanta is the defending Class 2A State Champions from last season. The Hornets are beatable though. This pits the #9 Leopards against the #7 Hornets. Will Carl Cleveland be good to go? If he is, how effective can he be recovering from the injury? Dylan Orr and Darius Bonds, as well as Gabe Martin and others like Gatlin Lunsford and Bosko Norman, will need to again carry the team and play to their full potential, with or without Cleveland. Should be a great game in Homer.


#1 Banks Co Lady Leopards (24-5) vs #2 KIPP Lady Warriors (13-11)

WHEN: Wednesday, February 21 | 6 PM
WHERE: Homer, GA | Banks Co HS
RND 1 RECAPS: The Lady Leopards had little trouble with Pepperell in the opening round, although they got off to a bit of a slow start. Allison Smith was dominant with 25 pts, while Maddie Thomas and Amber Williams both had 10 pts each. KIPP slid past a tough Heard County team, 53-49 in the first round.
SWEET 16 PREVIEW: It’s been since the 2014-15 season that Banks County is in the Sweet 16, but coach Steve Shedd’s girls are not even close to being finished. This is the #2-ranked team in the state, and KIPP might have Mekindia Martin (16.9 pts/game), but the Lady Warriors average just 52 pts per game. As always, even if KIPP guards Smith well, there’s Jaycie Bowen, Maddie Thomas and Amber Williams, as well as seemingly countless other options that can get the job done and carry the team into the Elite 8!

#3 Rabun C Lady Wildcats (23-6) @ #1 Lamar Co Lady Trojans (21-6)

WHEN: Wednesday, February 21 | 6:30 PM
WHERE: Barnesville, GA | Lamar Co HS
RND 1 RECAPS: Rabun had no problems with Rockmart, taking an easy 73-46 win on the road. Georgia Stockton was elite, dropping 35 points and 13 rebounds for a huge double-double. Jaden Quilliams also had an unforgettable game of 11 points and 18 rebounds. Kaitlin Coleman chipped in with 13 pts and 6 reb. Lamar, meanwhile, beat Therrell 52-41.
SWEET 16 PREVIEW: At 68 pts/game, the Lady Cats are one of the highest-scoring teams in Georgia. However, it’s the defense that will be key in keeping the Lady Trojans to a minimum. Lamar County has won 13 straight, so it has momentum coming in. Junior Tomiyah Alford is the one to watch for — 22.3 pts/game to go with 6.3 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 5.7 steals per game…ridiculous! Georgia Stockton, also over 20 pts/game, will need to help take care of the basketball, score as she’s accustomed to doing, and get others involved, who will have to take care of their end of the deal. Coach DeeDee Dillard and the #7 Lady Cats can win this game, even on the road, where they are 10-2. The defending state runner-up will look to get to the Elite 8 for the third straight season.


Jacky Jones 2018

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