The first round of the Georgia High School State Association state playoffs is in the books. There were some big-time wins, big-time performances and some big-time things to talk about. Let’s dive into it all in our #MarchToMacon playoff notebook.
THE BEST STAR POWER
Scoot Henderson, Kell: Down as much as 19 points in the third quarter, Henderson turned up the production. He scored a career high 49 points. He was constantly attacking the rim and converted 15 of 18 shots from the foul lie. He also connected on six three-pointers. The super sophomore is the type of player who can turn up the action and take his team to the next stratosphere in the clutch. He’s our No. 1 sophomore in Georgia and the case for him being the best stone cold killer in the 2022 class nationally is being built right before our eyes.
THE BEST REGIONS
Region 2 is one of the premier regions in high school hoops in the country. We saw the strength of the league in the opening round of the 7A tournament. All four teams won. Westlake’s 61-55 win over No. 1 seed Cherokee was the most important win for the region. Wheeler won 68-43 over Etowah. East Coweta beat Walton 66-59. Pebblebrook knocked out Woodstock 79-59.
Region 3 was also undefeated in 7A. Hillgrove, a No. 4 seed, went to Camden County and won 46-43 in the opening round. Kennesaw Mountain beat Colquitt County 65-58. North Cobb took care of Tift County 56-37. McEachern beat at-large bid Roswell 68-43.
In 3A, Region 8 also ran the table. No. 1 seed Jefferson beat Adairsville 75-46, No. 2 seed Franklin County beat Calhoun 65-63, No. 3 Monroe Area beat North Murray 49-47 and No. 4 seed Hart County beat Lakeview Fort Oglethorpe.
THE BEST UPSET?
Westlake went to Canton and picked up an impressive 61-55 win in the first round of the 7A tournament. The Lions have struggled this season, coming into the tourney with 19 losses on the year. However, looking a little deeper at their losses, Campbell is the only loss on the year to a team not in the post-season. The other teams Westlake lost to on the season all made the state tournament and won in the first round. Regardless, the No. 4 seed out of Region 2-7A knocked of Roger Kvam’s Cherokee club. Sophomore point guard Dillon Hunter does such a great job of controlling tempo, making great reads and makes great plays in the clutch. Will that power-drive schedule help Westlake even further this week? They will now play Newton in the second round.
THE BEST NEXT UP PLAYERS
RJ Godfrey, North Gwinnett: The late-season success of the Bulldogs continue in large part to the play of the 6-foot-6 sophomore. Godfrey is as productive as any sophomore there is in the state of Georgia. He’s found his role with NGHS and is thriving in it and he most certainly played a big part in his team’s 61-59 overtime win over Archer in the first round of the tournament. Godfrey recorded 26 points, six rebounds and six blocked shots. He’s one of the 20 top sophomores in the state and making a surge for an even-higher consideration. North has been on a tear on the backend of the season, winning their region and now advancing in the state tournament. The Bulldogs (17-11) will play second-round host to East Coweta, winners of their first state tournament game since 1964.
THE BEST OF THE FIRST ROUND…
Javian Mosley and Kowacie Reeves, Jr. combined for 66 points and 16 rebounds in Macon Westside's 80-59 win over Tattnall County in the first round. That’s the biggest 1-2 production punch we saw in the first round. The juniors have played this song all season. Hard to find a more productive pair in the tournament.
We have been singing the praises for a while now and now that the state tournament is here, we are seeing the production really shine through for Windsor-Forest sophomore forward D’Ante Bass. He posted 27 points, 17 rebounds and six blocked shots in the 79-56 win over Murray County. When we update our 2022 rankings at the end of the season, he’ll be making a big time introduction in the list.
Milton freshman Kanaan Carlyle pumped in 27 points in his team’s 86-63 in over Central Gwinnett. Carlyle and Milton are playing with a high-level of confidence right now. Next up is North Cobb.
McEachern has begun their quest to win Georgia’s 7A title again. McDonald’s All-American point guard Sharife Cooper scored 34 points, with 24 of those buckets coming in the second half of action in the Indians’ win over Roswell.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
Every No. 1 seed in the 6A bracket won their opening round game.
Every No. 1 seed in the 4A bracket won their opening round game.
Every No. 1 seed in the 2A bracket won their opening round game.