SAVANNAH, GA — Pace Academy is going back to the state championship. And they did it by pure power, perimeter shooting and clutch free throws in the fourth quarter.
That’s what teams do that compete in the state championship game. Pace ousts Liberty County 71-62 on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon on the coast of Georgia.
Pace Academy was led by Wendell Carter’s 32 points, 17 rebounds, six blocks and five assists.
Carter is Georgia’s top dog in the talented class of 2017 class and he played like it. His impact was felt when he wasn’t in the game. Liberty County scored at the rim and made shots in the paint. When he wasn’t, no one scored and no one went to the rim. Carter demanded two defenders at all times and that allowed the Knights to score on perimeter shots or slashing scores.
Liberty County wasn’t going to lie down easily. Why would they? They’ve been on this stage before and boast one of the most competitive teams in the state of Georgia.
Junior Will Richardson was brilliant in defeat, scoring 29 points in the loss. He was a playmaker and a shot maker. He also grabbed five rebounds and had four assists. Richardson played like a top 50 national prospect in this game and set the stage for the upcoming spring and summer circuit.
He had help from Auburn-bound guard Davion Mitchell, who had 19 points, six assists and five rebounds. His high school career is now over. The Hinesville native will go down as one of the best to ever wear the Panthers uniform. He was the catalyst in the team’s state championship run last year.
For Pace, Isaiah Kelly was all over the glass when Carter was on the bench with foul trouble. He was great on the glass, going for 12 boards and 18 points. He was the team’s most important player when Carter went to the bench with foul trouble.
Armstrong Atlantic’s gym was at standing room only capacity. It was a pro Hinesville crowd as the black and gold filled the gym on both sides. But the Pace faithful rolled deep from Buckhead and watched their team hold off the several Liberty County runs.
Pace Academy will play the winner of Calhoun and Morgan County.