Friday, February 29, 2008

Class 2A quarterfinals preview

This week will tell us all we need to know about Randolph-Clay basketball, as both teams are in the quarterfinals at Savannah State University tonight. Boys coach Joe Williams, in his 27th year with the program, eclipsed the 1,000-win milestone earlier in the season but wants to add a seventh state championship to his many accomplishments. Led by 6-foot-6 forward Jeremy Bennett, who was a nominee for the McDonald's All-American team, the Red Devils will meet defending champion Dublin for a Final Four berth. Dublin has only one senior on the roster, as Nick McRae, a 6-foot-5, 300-pound football commitment to Georgia Tech, provides the upperclassman leadership (he also has a football state title).

In the other matchups, Wesleyan meets 6-AA mate Pace Academy. These two teams met on Jan. 2, and the Wolves took home a 67-55 victory. Talented forwards Zuri James and Allen Mallory will try and pull off the upset over Wesleyan. Lovett makes the third team from that region to get to the Elite 8. 5-foot-9 guard Andre Hicks may be short in stature, but he plays as big on the basketball court as he does on the football field. He'll try and lead the Lions to the Final Four in two sports.

For the girls, Randolph-Clay wants to get back to the Final Four after a crushing defeat against Wesleyan in the waning seconds of the state semifinals last year. They'll face a Laney team that's currently riding a 15-game winning streak and fresh off an 83-66 blowout of Vidalia in the previous round. Glentrice Sapp's 26 led the Lady Wildcats in the contest. 

As in the boys bracket, three Region 6 teams remain for the girls, and it would have been four had Greater Atlanta Christian not been upset by Coosa. Wesleyan takes on rival Buford, and Paideia will face Coosa, which beat GAC 60-56 on Wednesday.  Paideia's Kaci Palmore had an amazing 20 rebounds in the 49-45 win over Manchester. Wesleyan and Anne Marie Armstrong will be the favorite to win their fourth title in five years, but they have to get past Buford first.