#OTRHoopsReport: GHSA Championship Game Preview – March 7, 2018

Can Ty Fagan and Upson-Lee complete back-to-back perfect seasons? St. Pius stands in their way. See the preview of the GHSA State Championships here. Photo cred – City of Palms Classic


TIME: March 10, 8pm
LOCATION: Georgia Tech
Norcross (27-3) vs. Meadowcreek (24-6)

This marks the fourth time that these two teams will face each other this year. The Blue Devils have won the previous three match-ups. Twice Kyle Sturdivant saved the day with buzzer beating shots for Norcross.

Meadowcreek has the frontline firepower to win this game. Duquesne signee Amari Kelly is a proven workhorse on the interior who you can almost pencil in for a nightly double-double. Detroit University commit Cory Hightower has been instrumental for the Mustangs in their run to the state championship game with finished ability around the rim. While class of 2019 wing Jamir Chaplin is the straw that stirs the drink for this team. Coach Curtis Gilleylen seems to have found the formula for success with this group.

The Blue Devils, unfortunately for the Mustangs, seemed destined for a state championship this year. They have dispensed of the some of the state’s best teams this year with almost near ease. Their 20 point win over McEachern truly raised eyebrows from basketball fans around the state. Sturdivant is firmly established as one of the nation’s premier point guards in the class of 2019. While Brandon Boston could be making a run as one of the nation’s best in the class of 2020. Plenty of credit should be given to coach Jessee McMillian for getting this team to peak at the right time.


DATE: March 9, 8pm
LOCATION: Georgia Tech
Gainesville (24-6) vs. Langston Hughes (26-5)

The Red Elephants have barreled through the state tournament with multiple 30-point victories and even scoring over 100 points in their past two games. The biggest advantage that coach Benjie Wood has in his favor at the moment is that he has senior heavy team full of experience, talent and chemistry. KJ Buffen (MTSU), Jabo Bledson (Lincoln Memorial), Bailey Minor (North Georgia) and the Rosser brothers (Jarred and Jarrel) make a lineup that virtually has no holes at this level.

The major roadblock potentially in the way of the Red Elephants is Langston Hughes guard Landers Nolley. While Gainesville might have the more complete roster, Nolley will be the best player heading into Friday’s showdown. The 6-5 Virginia Tech commit is a scoring machine who has not slowed down all season. If Gainesville can commit to defending they should have a great chance of winning. However, if they let Nolley get loose for one of his patented 50-point nights…it could be the Panthers taking home the trophy.


DATE: March 8, 8pm
LOCATION: Macon Centreplex
Miller Grove (22-7) vs. Warner Robins (27-3)

Miller Grove knocked a favorite, Buford, in the second round of the state tournament. Since that time they have cruised with double digit wins over Dutchtown and Hiram. Maurice Harvey and TJ Stargell have powered the attack for coach Rasul Chester. On the otherside Warner Robins starts five seniors, which includes standouts Nelson Phillips and Jacolbey Owens.

Class AAAA

DATE: March 10, 4pm
LOCATION: Georgia Tech
St. Pius (28-3) vs. Upson-Lee (30-0)

This is shaping up to be one of the most intriguing match-ups of the weekend. This is a rematch of last year’s state championship game. Upson-Lee got the best of the Golden Lions last year and are currently on a 62 game winning streak. Unsigned senior Troy Stephens leads the way for Aaron Parr’s squad. While Tye Fagan (MTSU) is arguably one of the state’s top two scorers (Landers Nolley).

Class AAA

DATE: March 8, 4pm
LOCATION: Macon Centreplex
GACS (27-3) vs. Jenkins (25-5)

Class of 2019 guard Hunter McIntosh leads the Spartans this season. He was the Region Player of the Year while playing for coach David Eaton. On the other side, the Warriors have perhaps the greatest advantage in the post season: senior guard play. Tre’ Mays and Sai Fisher are the engine for the coach Bakari Bryant’s squad.


Coach Hemi-100-100Jonathan Hemingway is a National Evaluator for the OTRHoopsReport. Hemingway serves on the Board of Selectors for the Naismith Trophy. He is also the publisher of CoachHemi.com. He has been involved in the community since 1996 as a coach, camp director and evaluator. You can reach him via email at JonathanHemingway@PeachStateBasketball.com and follow him on  twitter @JLHemingwayPSB


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