Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Class 5A quarterfinals preview

From Score Atlanta reporter and Score Prep Fulton editor Erik Horne:

Ho-hum. Norcross just keeps rolling along towards a seemingly destined return to the state finals. The same can go for Wheeler, as it looks like the two are speeding towards each other like locomotives with 40-inch verticals. Don't think the Wildcats have forgotten their first-round loss to the Devils last season. The entire state has its fingers crossed for a Dequan Jones - Al-Farouq Aminu showdown on March 7.

After the two heavyweights, there are still some teams looking to shock the state. Northview has the tall task of playing the Blue Devils in the quarters, but if anyone can rise to the occasion, it's triple-double machine Ralph Sampson III. Also, if Berkmar superstar Wesley Witherspoon can out-dunk Jones and the Wildcats, then the Patriots will have a good shot at the crown. Three other teams have beaten their first two opponents by 18 points or more (Douglass, Stephenson and Savannah), so expect the unexpected. 

For the girls, it's strange not to see Collins Hill on your bracket, but Mill Creek and Porsha Porter have taken the torch of Gwinnett playoff success and are running with it. Porter was dominant against Berkmar and will need to be again against Marietta. The No. 1 Hawks and No. 2 Blue Devils will clash in the best matchup - boys or girls - of the 5A quarterfinals.

Don't sleep on the Parkview-Duluth game, because I don't think anyone has the guts to tell Duluth its dream run is over. The Wildcats fought off Chattahoochee's fab freshman Erika Ford (26.5 ppg in the state tournament) to advance to face the No. 6 Panthers. ... It would be a crime not to mention the beatdowns Stephenson has been administering thus far. Not many squads can stop Jylisa Williams from getting to the rack and Luella will be the next to bear witness. Williams and Co. have only conceded 36 points in their first two games.

Finally, keep an eye on the Douglass-Redan matchup, as the region rivals will meet for the fourth time this season. The Astros hold a 2-1 series advantage.

This weekend won't be short of action in Class 5A hoops.

Horne can be reached at