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See the left panel for the semifinal basketball pairings and check out our roundup to catch up on the details of last night's games. 

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In This Issue
Semifinals Pairings
Thursday Playoff Roundup
Unsigned Expo
Score Poll
Top Stories
What senior has led the Tucker girls in scoring and rebounding each round of the playoffs? 
Today's answer can  
be found in the newsletter!


Thursday's answer:

Lakiaya Sims' made 11-of-11 free-throw attempts in the fourth quarter and finished with a game-high 32 points in Drew's quarterfinals win.




Class AAAAAA boys

(at Georgia Tech)

Norcross vs. Tift County, 4:45 p.m.

Pebblebrook vs. Wheeler, 8:15 p.m.


Class AAAAAA girls 

(at Georgia Tech)

Archer vs. Lowndes, 3 p.m.

McEachern vs. South Forsyth, 6:30 p.m.


Class AAAAA boys 

(at Fort Valley State)

Stephenson vs. Warner Robins, 4:45 p.m.

Jenkins vs. Miller Grove, 6:30 p.m.


Class AAAAA girls 

(at Fort Valley State)

Forest Park vs. Southwest DeKalb, 3 p.m.

Drew vs. Tucker, 8:15 p.m.


Class AAAA boys 

(at West Georgia)

Columbia vs. Westover, 4:45 p.m.

Alexander vs. Jonesboro, 8:15 p.m.


Class AAAA girls 

(at West Georgia)

Redan vs. South Effingham, 3 p.m.

Columbus vs. Woodland-Henry, 6:30 p.m.


Class AAA boys 

(at Georgia College)

Buford vs. Callaway, 3 p.m.

Johnson-Savannah vs. Morgan County, 6:30 p.m.


Class AAA girls 

(at Georgia College)

Buford vs. Pike County, 4:45 p.m. 

Beach vs. St. Pius X, 8:15 p.m.


Class AA boys 

(at Columbus State)

Greater Atlanta Christian vs. Laney, 4:45 p.m.

Calhoun vs. Vidalia, 8:15 p.m.


Class AA girls 

(at Columbus State)

Putnam County vs. Kendrick, 3 p.m.

Laney vs. Wesleyan, 6:30 p.m.


Class A-Public boys 

(at Savannah State)

Hawkinsville vs. Turner County, 4:45 p.m.

Calhoun County vs. Wilkinson County, 8:15 p.m.


Class A-Public girls 

(at Savannah State)

Claxton vs. Randolph-Clay, 3 p.m.

Greenville vs. Mitchell County, 6:30 p.m.



Class A-Private boys 

(at Kennesaw State)

Athens Christian vs. St. Francis, 4:45 p.m.

Calvary Day vs. Whitefield Academy, 8:15 p.m.


Class A-Private girls 

(at Kennesaw State)

St. Francis vs. Southwest Atlanta Christian, 3 p.m.

Darlington vs. Holy Innocents', 6:30 p.m.

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Friday, February 28, 2014



Check out the official GHSA Semifinals Guide 




Semifinals set after intense night of hoops





Norcross 49, Berkmar 45: Nine different players scored for visiting Norcross

Photo by Ty Freeman

and Ricky Madison was the lone Blue Devil in double-figures with his team-high 10 points. Norcross' defense held the Patriots in check and the well-balanced Blue Devils were able to cling to a 30-21 lead at the half. Berkmar's 6-foot-10 senior Tim Rowe finished with 13 points, including a 3-pointer in the fourth quarter, and was guarded in the paint by Lorenzo Carter, a UGA football signee and two-time AJC defensive player of the year on the gridiron. Berkmar's other star, senior Kiair Crouch, scored a game-high 14 points. Berkmar was held to 45 points or less just two other times this season.


Pebblebrook 61, Luella 50: Junior Ty Hudson scored a game-high 25 points as Pebblebrook topped host Luella. The Falcons led 26-22 at halftime and 41-36 in the fourth quarter before pulling away. Luella never got closer than five points during the final eight minutes. Junior forward Derek Ogbeide added 15 points for Pebblebrook, junior Kevin Murph scored nine and junior Chris Nelson chipped in eight. Senior TeMarcus Blanton led Luella with 13 points.


Tift County 56, Hillgrove 47: Three players accounted for 52 of the Tift County's 56 points as the Blue Devils battled past visiting Hillgrove. Only four players in total scored for the Blue Devils, but four scorers were enough. Senior Tadric Jackson led the way with 23 points, while senior D.J. Bryant added 17 and senior Ladarius Stewart chipped in 12. P.J. Horne tacked on four points for Tift County, which trailed 9-6 after one quarter before taking a 16-11 halftime lead. Hillgrove was within four points with fewer than three minutes remaining but could get no closer. The Hawks were paced by senior Kyle Castlin, who poured in a game-high 27 points.



Jenkins 81, Northside-Columbus 60: Visiting Jenkins silenced the home crowd with a 19-4 run to open the game. The Warriors grew the lead to 48-26 at the half and as much as 30 points (77-47) with four minutes left in the fourth quarter. Jenkins junior Malik Benlevi had a game-high 21 points and seniors Romaine Gray (11) and Cedrick Woodson (10) also finished with double-figure scoring. Junior Phillip Whittington, who finished with 20 points, led Northside.


Warner Robins 69, Bainbridge 48: The Demons took a commanding 23-11 lead over visiting Bainbridge after the opening quarter. Bainbridge used a 9-0 run in the second quarter to narrow the deficit to 35-27, but Warner Robins answered in the second half and outscored the Bearcats 34-21. Warner Robins junior Nathan Curtis made his presence known early and netted 10 of his game-high 21 points in the opening quarter. The 6-foot-4 forward was joined in double-figures by junior forward Stephon Raybon, who finished with 12 points.



Columbia 63, Sandy Creek 44: Senior Maurice Rivers scored 19 points and dominated the glass to the tune of 22 rebounds as Columbia overwhelmed host Sandy Creek. Senior Nick Singleton also had a double-double for the Eagles with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Senior Keuntay Puckett scored 13 points and junior Shadell Bell added 10. Columbia slowly put Sandy Creek away with leads of 12-11 after one quarter, 31-24 at halftime and 45-34 going into the fourth.


Jonesboro 84, Rutland 81: The Visiting Cardinals out jumped to a 21-14 lead after the first quarter and extended it to 35-18 midway through the second quarter. Jonesboro's lead grew to 44-30 at halftime but Rutland used a 10-4 run to in the third to cut the deficit to 48-40 with just under four minutes left in the quarter. Rutland trailed 62-51 entering the fourth and outscored Jonesboro 30-22, only to fall three points shy. Junior point guard Austin Donaldson and freshman wing James Walker Jr. led Jonesboro with 22 points apiece and junior wing Tracey Hector Jr. finished with 21. This is Jonesboro's fifth trip to the semifinals since 2002.


Westover 68, Glenn Hills 51: Senior C.J. Davis scored 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead Westover past visiting Glenn Hills. The Patriots trailed by one point after one quarter and by three at halftime, but they outscored Glenn Hills 15-3 in the third quarter to seize control. Westover focused its defense on Aubrey McRae in the second half and challenged other Spartans to score, which they failed to do consistently. McRae finished with 20 points, 14 of which came in the first half. Junior Andre Kennedy had 15 points and seven rebounds for the Patriots, who also got 12 points from senior Mike Green.



Buford 80, Cartersville 73: Senior Rakim Lubin poured in 31 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to lead Buford past visiting Cartersville. Sophomore D'Marcus Simonds almost recorded a triple-double for the Wolves with 29 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists. Senior Matt McMorris added 16 points, six assists and four rebounds. Buford, however, trailed by 11 points during the third quarter and by four heading into the fourth. Cartersville senior Corey Tobin drained seven three-pointers in the first half to go into halftime with 23 points. The Wolves shifted senior Montgomery VanGorder to defend Tobin starting in the third quarter and VanGorder did the job, as Tobin scored only five points in the second half to finish with 28.


Callaway 71, Swainsboro 68: Callaway led by a slim margin most of the way and managed to hold off visiting Swainsboro. The host Cavaliers held a 16-13 advantage after one quarter and a 29-28 halftime edge before outscoring the Tigers 26-19 in the third quarter. Swainsboro chipped away throughout the fourth, but could not get closer than a 3-point deficit. The Tigers eventually missed a desperation half-court heave at the buzzer. Junior Terry Godwin led Callaway with 16 points. Sophomore Dre Martin and freshman Braylon Sanders both scored 14 and sophomore Joe Brown added 13. Junior Steven Howard scored a game-high 20 points for Swainsboro, which also got 19 from Korey Somerville.


Johnson (Savannah) 53, Washington County 52: The Atomsmashers pulled out a victory in the "Reaction Chamber", their home gym, when senior guard Adrian Bonds sank two free throws with 24 seconds left after being fouled on a drive. Johnson coach Utaff Gordon changed his defense from a man-to-man to a 3-2 zone for the first time all game for Washington County's final possession, and it worked. The Golden Hawks struggled to identify the defense and missed a 20-foot jumper at the buzzer. Bonds finished with a game-high 28 points, while A.J. Gray led Washington County with 15. It is Gordon's second straight semifinals berth as coach of the Atmosmashers.



Greater Atlanta Christian 60, Jefferson 47: The visiting Spartans had four

Photo by Ty Freeman

players score in double figures and advanced to their fifth semifinal in six years under coach Eddie Martin. GAC senior forward Justin Lewis led the team with 21 points while senior forward Isaiah Wilkins had 12 and guards Cam Boyd and Garrett Covington each had 10. GAC was in control throughout, leading 20-13 after the first quarter, 36-21 at the half and 47-28 at the end of the third.


Vidalia 80, Northeast-Macon 62: Vidalia senior Dashon Holloway led the Indians with a team-high 21 points and the Indians claimed a 45-29 halftime lead over Northeast-Macon before cruising in the second half. The win gave Vidalia its fourth semifinals berth in school history. Seniors Terry Jones and Alton McCloud scored 17 and 11 points, respectively, and junior guard Jordan Black finished with 10. Vidalia remains unbeaten at 30-0.



Athens Christian 59, Aquinas 48: Will "Turtle" Jackson scored 19 points, had six rebounds, six assists and four steals as Athens Christian advanced to the semifinals. Host Athens Christian held Marquette-commitment Ahmed Hill scoreless in the final period. Jackson, a UConn commitment, scored 14 points in the final period to help the Eagles outscore Aquinas 16-8 in the final eight minutes. Aquinas led at the half 28-26, but Athens Christian took a 43-40 lead int the fourth. Hill scored 14 points. Athens Christian junior forward Demetrius McWhorter scored 16 and led the team with 10 rebounds.


Calvary Day 64, Greenforest Chr. 63: Senior wing Khaliq Hughes sank a free throw with 4.1 seconds left to give Calvary Day a win at Greenforest Christian. Hughes was fouled going to the basket after a Derek Kirkland steal inside the final 11 seconds with the game tied. Only seven points were scored in overtime and Hughes had three of his team's four. Hughes finished with 21 points and a team-high 11 rebounds while Kirkland led Calvary Day with 25 points. The Cavaliers led most of the first half, including a 29-18 edge in the second period. However, Greenforest went on a 12-3 run to end the half and built a 50-39 lead in the third quarter. Calvary Day eventually tied the game at 60 to force overtime.


St. Francis 74, Holy Innocents' 72: Host St. Francis trailed by seven with 2:30 left in the game, but the Knights' full-court press and missed fee throws by Holy Innocents' allowed St. Francis to quickly narrow the gap. Senior point guard McKinley Brown converted 3-point play with 8.7 seconds left to give St. Francis a 1-point lead. Knights junior guard Malik Beasley had 24 points and 11 rebounds while Kobi Simmons added 20 points and junior forward Kaiser Gates had 15 points and a team-high 12 rebounds. In a back-and-forth game, St. Francis trailed 18-17 after the first period, then led 38-32 at the half and 59-54 after three quarters.


Turner County 69, Portal 61: Junior guard Quan Hillmon scored a game-high 23 points and senior point guard Quan Williams added 10 as Turner County held off visiting Portal. Senior center Antonio Graddic chipped in eight points and 17 rebounds for the Rebels. Portal got 15 points from junior Trent Thomas, 14 from senior Stacey Morgan and 12 from senior Harrison Sherrod. The Panthers cut a 35-23 halftime deficit to 50-42 after three quarters, but could not mount a serious charge in the fourth.




Tucker 55, Salem 39: Tucker sped to a 20-10 lead after the first quarter. The

Photo by Ty Freeman

teams each scored five points in the second quarter and the host Tigers maintained a 10-point cushion at halftime (25-15). Senior center Erykah Davenport has led the Tigers in scoring and rebounding in each round of the playoffs and finished tonight with a game-high 17 points. Davenport was the only Tucker player that finished in double-figures, but a total of seven players contributed baskets.


Stephen Black, Ricky Dimon and Craig Sager II contributed to this report.




XL212 Kicks Off Inaugural North Metro Senior All-Star Basketball Experience


Alpharetta, Georgia - February 21, 2014 - XL212, a sports event management and marketing company based in Alpharetta, Georgia, launches the premier North Metro Senior All-Star Basketball Experience in March 2014. Events include an awards banquet, skills night, and boys and girls Senior All-Star Games.


The Year-End Awards and All-Star Player Recognition Banquet begins the All-Star Experience on March 10th at 7:30 pm at the Metropolitan Club. A high energy Skills Competition Night, March 14th at 7 pm at Blessed Trinity Catholic High School, will showcase high school players chosen to represent their schools. Skills Competition Night includes a Slam Dunk Contest, a Three-Point Contest, a Skills Course for guards, a Co-Ed Team Challenge, and a Girls' Scoring Contest.


Girls and Boys Senior All-Star Games are on March 15th, 2014 at 5:30 pm and 7:30 pm, respectively, at Blessed Trinity Catholic High School. For the All-Star games, Senior Student-Athletes from North Fulton and Forsyth will compete on North and South teams. Boys head coaches are Scott Bracco, Head Coach Lambert High School (North Team) and Brian Marks, Head Coach from Blessed Trinity Catholic High School (South Team). Girls head coaches are Eric Herrick, Head Coach North Forsyth High School (North Team) and Natalie Vuoriaho, Head Coach Alpharetta High School (South Team).


Scott Bracco, Head Boys' Coach Lambert High School, North All-Star Coach

Coach Scott Bracco is entering his second year as the Head Boys Basketball Coach at Lambert High School. In 2013, he guided the Longhorns to their first state playoff appearance in school history. The Longhorns were also honored as the Team of the Year by the Forsyth County Tip-off Club. Coach Bracco guided his Dunwoody High School basketball teams to four Final Fours, four Region Championships and captured back to back State Championships in 2005 and 2006. Coach Bracco has helped place over 50 players to the collegiate level and coached a McDonald's All-American in Chris Singleton (Florida State, Washington Wizards). Scott and Kara have three beautiful children. Bryce (9), Blake (6), and Braden (4).


Brian Marks, Head Boys' Coach Blessed High Trinity, South All-Star Coach

Brian Marks just completed his twelfth season as the head varsity boys' basketball coach at Blessed Trinity. Over the past eight years, Coach Marks' teams have accumulated 161 victories, averaging 20 wins per season during that span. In 2009, he led his Titans team to their first appearance in the State Championship Game.The team finished with a 26-7 record and was ranked #2 in the state in the final coaches' poll.  In the 2007-08 season, he guided the team to a 27 - 4 record and it's first Sweet Sixteen appearance. That team also reached the #1 state ranking in the Georgia Coaches Poll during the season. The 27 wins was the most in school history and the 22 consecutive wins the longest win streak in the program's history. Coach Marks was named the North Fulton Neighbor and the Roswell Beacon Coach of the Year in 2009.  In 2008, he was named AJC Northside Coach of the Year, Score Fulton County Coach of the Year, and Roswell Beacon Coach of the Year.  He has served on the Atlanta Tip-Off Club Selection Committee for the past seven years.


Eric Herrick, Head Girls' Coach North Forsyth High School, North All-Star Coach

Coach Herrick is in his 3rd year at North Forsyth High School as the Girls' Varsity Head Coach. He has been coaching for a total 13 years with 10 of those as a head coach including 4 years at Chattahoochee high school where his team reach the final four in 2010. Have coached more than 20 players who have went on to play college basketball including 4 at the Division 1 level. Career record of 187-70 as a varsity girl's head coach He served in the United States Air Force before attending Berry University and playing basketball there all four years. He is married to Faith Herrick and has two children, Cameron, age 9, and Kylee, age 3.


Natalie Vuoriaho, Head Girls' Coach Alpharetta High School, South All-Star Coach

Coach Vuoriaho has over 28 years of playing/coaching experience. She is the current Women's Basketball Head Coach at Alpharetta HS. Her prior coaching experience was in NC where she was the Head Women's Basketball Coach at Independence High School, Charlotte, N.C. from 2008-2012. In 2006-2008 she was the Head JV Basketball Coach at Monroe HS, Monroe, N.C.In 2010, Coach Vuoriaho was the head coach of an All-Star Basketball team that competed in France. Coach Vuoriaho is an active member of many professional basketball association's such as the Women's Basketball Coaches Associations (WBCA), Georgia Athletic Coaches Association (GACA), BCA (Black Coaches Association), North Carolina Coaches Association (NCCA) and she served on the Charlotte Senior Pro-Am selection committee. She teaches Business classes at Alpharetta HS where she is also a FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America) advisor. Coach Vuoriaho is a proud parent of 2 sons, Nicholas, 16, and Christopher, 11. One of her proudest accomplishments is a 100% graduation rate of her players and all of her players went on to attend post-secondary education.




Margaret Billingsley

202 South Main Street, Suite 104

Alpharetta, GA  30009



The public is invited to attend all events. To find out more about the Senior All-Star Experience and to purchase tickets, visit,, and Twitter:@XL212.






In an effort to aid Student-Athletes with their dream to play college football, XL212 is hosting an Unsigned Senior Expo in Metro-Atlanta. Unsigned Seniors and Underclassmen are invited to showcase their skills for college coaches and scouts from across the country. The expo will be held on Saturday March 8th at McEachern High School from 1:00-4:00pm. Student-Athletes will be measured with Fully Automated Timing Systems (F.A.T.S) so the data received will be accurate. Testing will consist of: 40-yard dash, height, weight, broad jump, vertical jump, 5-10-5 drill, L-Drill, and powerball toss. Participants will also receive an XL212 Certified player-profile sheet that can be sent to any college coach the player desires, and online exposure in the XL212 database.


Every year, thousands of talented High School football players get overlooked by college scouts based on lack of exposure. Many Student-Athletes attend expos to gain more exposure and increase their opportunity to play at the next level. In fact, Student-Athletes that participated in similar football combines in Texas and California have earned millions of dollars in scholarship money and grants to play college football.



McEachern HS:

2400 New Macland Road
Powder Springs, GA 30127

Date: Saturday March 8th, 2014

Register online:

Cost: $49


For more info and questions please call XL212 at 678-509-5212 or email Nate Peterson at:




Dear Coach,

We wanted to provide an update regarding the 2014 Atlanta Falcons Coaches Clinic hosted by Head Coach Mike Smith. Due to the NFL Draft which is now in May and required commitments, the next Coaches Clinic will be held in March 2015. Please save the date for the Atlanta Falcons Salute to High School Football reception for Georgia high school football head coaches on Saturday, December 13 at the Georgia Dome. 


Please save the date for the Atlanta Falcons Salute to High School Football reception for Georgia high school football head coaches on Saturday, December 13 at the Georgia Dome. 


For other Atlanta Falcons youth and prep football program information, please visit or on twitter @AFPlayFootball


Thanks so much for your support of the Atlanta Falcons. 


All inquiries should be directed to David Quiroga, Youth and Prep Football Coordinator at 770-965-4310 or



Atlanta Falcons Community Relations Department 

DIRECT PHONE: 770-965-4310  





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