Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Chamblee-Druid Hills boys soccer semifinal

Druid Hills came into the match the more highly touted team, but Chamblee dictated the tempo from the outset to come away with the 2-0 victory in the semifinals.

These two teams hooked up at Hallford Stadium in Clarkston Tuesday night. Region 5-AAA has shown itself to be the dominant division in boys Class 3A soccer this spring, sending three teams to the final four: Westminster (1-seed), Druid Hills (2-seed) and Chamblee (3-seed). The No. 4 seed Blessed Trinity fell in the first round. Chamblee will play the final at Westminster on Friday.

Chamblee didn't need a goal from DeKalb County-leading scoring artist Riley Sumpter (headed to Clemson next year), getting goals from Malick Camara in the first half and Jarred Clark in the second.

Check back here for more updates throughout the championship season. We've got boys track, soccer, tennis, lacrosse and baseball champions yet to be crowned, and Score Atlanta and GPB will be bringing you the most complete coverage anywhere in the state. Check out for more spring sports.

Monday, April 7, 2008

All-Class Final Rankings

People who know Georgia basketball know that the classification system, as far as roundball is concerned, doesn't mean all that much. Sure, the smallest schools in the state have around 100 kids total (while Mill Creek has close to 4,000) but it only takes a few players to make a team great. So I present to you the final All-Class Rankings for the 2007-2008 year. You might be surprised at the mix of classifications represented in the poll, or you might not...

1. Norcross - 5A champion
2. Wheeler - 5A runner-up
3. Columbia - 4A champion 
4. Savannah - 5A semifinals
5. Wesleyan - 2A champion
6. Fayette County - 4A runner-up
7. Glenn Hills - 3A champion
8. Miller Grove - 4A semifinals
9. Centennial - 5A sweet 16
10. McEachern - 5A sweet 16
11. Westlake - 4A semifinals
12. Carver-Columbus - 3A runner-up
13. Dunwoody - 3A semifinals
14. Northview - 5A quarterfinals
15. Lithia Springs - 4A quarterfinals
16. Hiram - 5A semifinals
17. Hancock Central - 1A champion
18. East Laurens - 2A runner-up
19. Turner County - 1A runner-up
20. Marietta - 5A sweet 16
21. Hart County - 3A semifinals
22. Berkmar - 5A quarterfinals
23. Turner County - 1A runner-up
24. East Hall - 3A quarterfinals
25. Lovett - 2A semifinals  
Just out, in no particular order: Portal (1A), Douglass (5A), South Atlanta (3A), Dublin (2A), Randolph-Clay (2A), Southwest Atlanta Christian (1A), Rome (4A), Jonesboro (4A), Pace Academy (2A), Liberty County (3A), Blessed Trinity (3A)

Of course, a list like this begs the question: Should our state consider instituting an all-class playoff, or at least an all-state championship mini-tourney after all the classification titles are determined? Yeah, it would be a long shot for a team like Hancock Central to get to a final game against a Norcross or Wheeler, but it wouldn't quite be a Milan-Muncie Central-type underdog situation, a la "Hoosiers". Let me know what you think; send your comments to 

Monday, March 10, 2008

Class 2A Championship Game Review

Wesleyan's girls hoops program has become the most dominant program in the state, and might be the most dominant team in any sport right now. It was never a contest for the Lady Wolves against Paideia, which they had already beaten by double-figures earlier in the year, as Wesleyan dismantled the Pythons 79-40. 

This was never a game. Wolves star center/point guard/do-everything player Anne Marie Armstrong didn't hardly have to break a sweat the way her teammates were playing. Armstrong had 40 points in the semifinals win, but left it to guards Erin Hall and Aysia McKenzie to shoot Paideia right out of the gym. Judean Hanks and Chantel Kennedy also helped in executing the Wolves' run-and-gun style, while Hall just hung out around the NBA 3-point line and hit 6-7 treys on the afternoon.

Paideia has a lot to be proud of, upsetting Randolph-Clay to get to the final in the first place. Thing is they ran into one of the best all-around teams in Georgia in the championship. Like I mentioned in my live blog of this game, Wesleyan loses one senior (reserve Carter Johnson) and drops down to Single-A next year. Not fair.

Howard Thompkins won a mythical national championship at Oak Hill last year (team finished No. 1 in USA Today poll), but something tells me he values this title just a little bit more. The Georgia-bound senior, who wasn't able to play after hurting his back halfway through the second quarter, relished the performances of his teammates down the stretch, becoming the most animated and vocal supporter of the team from the bench. When the game was over and the Wolves had beaten East Laurens 68-51 for the school's first boys title, Thompkins just stood with his arms outstretched, later embracing fellow post-player Erik Strong, who was crying tears of joy. 

How'd they do it? Tanner Smith. The Clemson signeee scored 27 points and dominated the game from the time Thompkins went out. His performance may be the best of the entire playoff season.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Class 3A State Championships Review

3A Girls

Finally, Kendrick is state champ. After five consecutive trips to the semis, the Lady Cherokees broke through with a 79-67 win over Carrollton.
The Lady Trojans were a game opponent and Velicia Bell gave KHS’ vaunted full court press major problems in the first half, helping Carrollton jump out to a surprising 15-8 lead.
But KHS senior guard Mukia Myrick would not let her team lose. She took over in the third quarter, and scored 25 points en route to the victory. The Lady Cherokees also had too much depth for CHS, as you could see fatigue slowly creeping up on Carrollton the entire second half. Meanwhile, Sterling Hicks’ team was firing on all cylinders.
After the final buzzer, it was hard not to feel good for Kendrick. They have suffered so much heartbreak in the past five years. In the final minute of the game, and the result no longer in doubt, tears of joy began to stream down the face of senior Ashlee Barley. Her senior class will leave a great legacy at Kendrick, mow they can add a state title to that legacy.

3A Boys

It was a David vs. Goliath matchup with super-talented Glenn Hills taking on Cinderella story Carver-Columbus. But in the end, the talent and superior execution proved the difference in a 64-57 victory for GH.
Spartan point guard Reggie Middleton (Winthrop commit) controlled the tempo as Glenn Hills picked their game up in the second half. Shawn Allen was also huge off the bench, dropping 18 points.
The surprising Tigers fought hard for the duration, and even lead early on. But a lack of offensive execution cost them dearly. They turned the ball over countless times in transition and fired up too many bad shots in their half court offense.
Even though the game was being played at GH’s pace, Carver was able to hang around thanks to their athleticism. And a layup from Carlos Ross pulled the Tigers within four with just over one minute remaining. But Glenn Hills hit big free throws, and Carver couldn’t convert the rest of the way. Jarvis Jones proved he can play with the big boys, scoring 23 points for Carver.
Overall, it was a decent matchup and game. But Glenn Hills deserved the win, congratulations to them on their first state championship in boys basketball.

Class 1A State Championships Review

From Score Atlanta reporter Jason Boral:

Sometimes it pays to be wrong. Up until the finals, I had professed the lack of close games throughout the 1A basketball tournament. However, it seemed once the calendar turned to March, the madness invariably ensued. In the boys final, the biggest challenge for Turner County was how they were going to stop Hancock Central’s Kammeon Holsey. They did a good job in the first half as they kept Holsey from establishing himself on the inside and only trailed 22-20 at the half. Turner then started the second half with a bang, running a set play to Demetreius Ewing in which he dunked the ball on an alley-oop from Marquis Jackson. When that happened, I really thought Turner had gotten over the hump and they would take the title. But give Hancock credit, as they were finally able to establish Holsey inside. Doing so helped build a four-point lead with 30 seconds to go, a lead they did their best to give away. After two Turner free throws cut the lead to two, Hancock through the ball away on a turnover leaving Turner’s Todd Lawson wide open for a 3-pointer to win the game, which hit the back iron and fell safely to the court. Hancock wins 49-45.

It was much of the same excitement in the girls final between Calvary Day and Terrell County. In pre-game, Terrell seemingly had a huge advantage as they outsized the girls from Calvary all along the interior, however, Calvary used their speed and agility to their advantage late to get open shots. Calvary’s Natalie Paris was the best example, as she hit three 3-pointers from NBA range. For Terrell, it was once again the Monshay Thomas Show as she scored 26 of her team’s 48 points. It was the defense that really did Terrell in, however. They switched from man to zone throughout the game but Calvary was still able to move the ball and find open spots, which usually were behind the arc. Calvary wins 57-48.

Jason Boral can be reached at