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.