“Deft Handle” – Bracket Look-Ins 7A and A-Private

CUMMING, GA – We’re renaming our regular “Sage Speaks” column to “Deft Handle” moving forward, and taking a look at some of the Playoff brackets and some interesting notes on each.

By: Keith Agran



Sammy Moss

Most eyes will likely be on Etowah at Berkmar, McEachern at Newton or Cherokee at Norcross, but the South Gwinnett at East Coweta game is fascinating to me. The Comets won 15 of their first 17, but went 2-6 down their stretch prior to the Region tournament. It’ll be a tough environment down in Sharpsburg, but they’ll lean on veterans seniors PG Maalik Leitch and forwards Kam Heathington and Michael Carter. For the Indians, playoff time means Sammy Moss time, as he’s made his presence felt in so many big spots in the past, it’s his senior season and he along with active big Delrecco Gillespie and swift junior PG Austen Colton can be a Big 3 that catapults them forward. Unfortunately for the winner of this one, a likely matchup at the steady juggernaut that has been RJ Godfrey and North Gwinnett (24-3) awaits.


Archer >> No disrespect to either program, they’re both deserving Region champs, but if you were going to rank all the #1 seeds you’d probably have West Forsyth and Walton at 7 and 8. Seeking to stay consistent, I picked Archer early in the preseason to be a surprise team to make a run at Macon. The way they can defend 94 feet, if they can get a little more balanced offensive production from their litany of seniors, their portion of the draw lines up well for them matchup-wise. One of Newton and McEachern will be gone in the upper half after the 1st-round, and West Forsyth and Walton, while dangerous, both could struggle some defensively with Tiger athletes like Damoni Harrison (pictured above), Christian Drummer and Ryen Jones.


Jerry Deng

Jerry Deng, Norcross >> The Blue Devils are playing really well right now, and while London Johnson’s control of the ball makes them go, the slimmed-down and multi-level threat Deng has been showing off the hot hand from range and been a real presence on defense and on the glass.

Michael White, Mountain View >> The Bears will have all they can handle right out of the gate with Denmark on their home floor, but the 2024 guard has shown he can shoot his team into the game or keep them on the pedal with the kind of pace they play with.

Kaden McArthur, Collins Hill >> Their home 1st-round game with North Forsyth holds some intrigue, but should they get overall #1 Pebblebrook in the 2nd round, and battle-tested senior McArthur and his hard-nosed, tough Eagles mates will not be an easy out.

Luke Flynn, Walton >> I may have said that I like Archer’s draw above, but that doesn’t mean that the dynamic 2024 guard Flynn can’t literally put the Raiders on his back to get to an Elite 8.


Such deep a classification, let’s keep it simple. No one’s an expert or soothsayer, and it’s not an easy road with defending champs Milton in their section and potentially Berkmar or Grayson in a semifinal, but I’m going with Pebblebrook.



Dennis Scott III

Having not seen a lot of these teams admittedly, but there are still quite a few matchups that pop out. Walker at Galloway should have some scoring and Darlington coming down to Providence Christian will be a contrast of styles, but I think Mount Vernon heading up to Christian Heritage screams all kinds of intrigue. The Mustangs will have a huge size advantage on the highly-skilled but smaller Lions, featuring a frontline that goes 6-8, 6-9 and 6-3 with the likes of Keith Williams, Dennis Scott III and Kenny Southall playing a hybrid G/F. It will be a busy day inside for rising 2024 Cash Hare, and stellar wing Jax Abernathy will have to work for everything against the bigs and well-drilled guards for MV.


Greenforest >> Despite the set positions of how these brackets are formulated, there is still some randomness depending on who wins the regions and falls where. That said, Greenforest as the overall #1 certainly appears to benefit in their portion of the draw. Again, there are several teams there I haven’t seen, and Galloway or Walker likely emerging from the top half makes for a challenging potential Elite 8 matchup. But with the kind of guard play they get from Jalen Forrest and Florian Tenebay and two 7-footers in Gai Chol and DK Manyiel (plus more size behind them) to patrol the lane, the Eagles frankly would need to put up a real stinker to not at least get out of the first 2 rounds.


Albert Wilson

Albert Wilson, North Cobb Christian >> This is name folks will need to get better acquainted with, as he was a monster key to their Region title and the 2023 forward has a lot of skill and variety around the basket that teams in this day and age are not accustomed to seeing.

Anthony Arrington, Galloway >> Hard to call one of the best guards in the city of Atlanta “unsung”, as he once again put on yet another spectacular set of performances in leading the Scots to their first Region title.

Jax Abernathy, Christian Heritage >> Another name that might not be familiar to casual fans, but this is one of the fastest-rising 2024’s in the state, and like the above two entirely capable of putting the team on his back for a deep run.

Isaac Martin, King’s Ridge >> May be mistaken for the scorekeeper getting off the bus, but unassuming as he may appear, classic dual-threat PG-play at this level can often be enough to get a team deep in the playoffs.


Senior guards, enormous size advantages across the board, and a friendly side of the draw make it impossible to pick against Greenforest.

Keith Agran has lived in Georgia since 2011 and joined OTR as a National Evaluator in 2021. He previously scouted for Prep Hoops dating back to 2019 and has both a championship-coaching background on the HS-level and daily newspaper writing experience, both from New Jersey. You can reach him at keithagran1@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @BracketSage.

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