Sunday, March 2, 2008

3A semifinal preview

From Score Atlanta reporter Josh Bagriansky:

It’s been a wild ride in AAA.

The top two ranked teams were eliminated in the first two rounds of the boys tournament, leaving Scott Bracco’s Dunwoody team looking primed for a third state championship in four years. They are not just the favorites in AAA, but also one of the best teams in all classifications. Big time recruits Chris Singleton (FSU) and Delwan Graham (LSU) can both jump out of the gym. And the backcourt of Pierre Jordan (also a future-Seminole) and Issiah Grayson is not too shabby either. To be honest, it’s hard to imagine anyone stopping DHS, especially a young team like Carver-Columbus, who face off with the ‘Cats in the semis.

Seeing Hart County get this far was a shock for a lot of us, but they proved they belong in two surprising victories against Blessed Trinity and East Hall. They’re an athletically-gifted team that features a great post scorer in Quint Clinkscales. They beat two very tough opponents in the first two rounds in Blessed Trinity and East Hall, so I wouldn’t count on them being intimidated.

HC will have their hands full against Glenn Hills. Keep an eye on Jerel Stephenson and Chris Reynolds. They are two great talents that have flown under the radar all season. If anyone can beat Dunwoody, I think it’s these guys.

The girls side also features a clear favorite. Kendrick has simply dominated their competition all year long. They haven’t lost this season, and they haven’t really come close to defeat. Janae McKinney is a great scorer and Mukia Merrick is one of the top distributors in AAA. The only question for the Lady Cherokees is whether they can keep their composure if someone keeps it close.

Monroe Area has the tough task of facing KHS, but they have their own dynamic duo in Maya Brown and Brittany Kirkland.

The Glenn Hills-Carrolton game will be fun. I can’t wait to see Ciara Lyons, who is one of the best scorers in the state, regardless of gender or classification. Carrolton has a real talent of its own in Velicia Bell. Watching those two match up will be a lot of fun.

Bagriansky can be reached at