Sunday, March 2, 2008

2A semifinal preview

Dublin wasn't about to relinquish it's hold on Class 2A boys basketball, even though Randolph-Clay was ranked No. 1 and undefeated. The Fighting Irish can still defend last year's championship after knocking off the Red Devils 80-79 in a truly great high school basketball game. Dublin's Rashard Smith was huge in this one, scoring 20 points to lead his team to victory. Randolph-Clay's Dexter Ellington had 27 in the losing effort, and his team had a last second desperation shot to win. On that same side of the bracket, Wesleyan took care of business against Region 6 counterpart Pace Academy, even though the score was probably a little too close for comfort for the Wolves, who are seeking the first state title for the program. In the end, the inside game of Howard Thompkins, Tanner Smith and Erik Strong proved too much for Pace, and Wesleyan took a 59-52 win and a berth in the Final Four.

East Laurens will meet Lovett on the other side. East Laurens is really, really good. They obliterated a fine Long County team 79-53 to get to the semifinals, and Lovett handled Coosa 58-51 for the Final Four berth. Lovett came on strong after a potentially disastrous 2-5 start overall and a 1-5 start in the region, and now hopes to ride Andre Hicks and Alex Elam into the final game, as the football team did back in December. 

The Wesleyan girls are on pace to cement their dynasty in Class 2A, as they will go for their fourth title in the last five seasons. The team handled Buford by a double-digit margin in the quarters, which is something they did to the other Wolves three times during the regular season. Savannah Christian took down Josey on Friday, as Meredith Stevens, Adrienne DeFilippis and Alyson Faircloth shot the Lady Eagles out of the gym. If they can stay hot, they'll at least have a chance to knock off Wesleyan. 

Randolph-Clay advanced over Laney to face No. 4 seed Paideia, which is enjoying an unlikely run that unfortunately might be stopped in its tracks against the formidable Lady Red Devils. Randolph-Clay's girls hardly ever allow an opponent to get to 50 points.