Previewing Georgia's 7A Elite Eight

Sharife Cooper

The Elite Eight match-ups in the AAAAAAA classification are fantastic. We look at the four games, offer up some thoughts, player battles to watch and we pick our picks.

McEachern (26-2) at Norcross (26-3)
This is the game that the entire state of Georgia wanted to see when the seeds filled the brackets and now we have it. There are, at least, 10 DivisIon I prospects in this game. The game has the feel of the mid-2000s battles that we saw between the Blue Devils and Wheeler. Every positional battle featured a high-level match-up of the state’s best players. This year’s game will be on point with that narrative. McEachern is the No. 1 team in the state and one of the best in the nation. The Blue Devils have quietly been doing work against to[-level competition. Four of the top six players in Georgia’s 2019 class are in this game.
Match-up to watch: McEachern’s Charles Smith vs Norcross’s Brandon Boston. The underclassmen have been perimeter threats for their respective squads. Both can get hot in a hurry. Both can win games with their three-balls. 
Justin Young’s pick: McEachern 
Tai Young’s pick: McEachern
Your pick

Wheeler (18-10) at Newton (26-3)
Ashton Hagans was an eighth grader in the crowd when he watched Jaylen Brown play in the state playoffs. A student of the game, Hagans didn’t say much and just watched the future NBA starter do just about everything. Fast forward to current day and now Hagans is that do-everything type of player. Mr. Triple Double and his Rams will play host to the Wildcats for what should be a fast-paced battle. Wheeler is paced by another McDonald’s All-American in EJ Montgomery. Can Wheeler’s guard play slow down Hagan and his terrific floor vision? 
Match-up to watch: Newton's Dre Butler, a Chattanooga football signee, and junior Armani Harris against Wheeler's EJ Montgomery and Austin Johnson. Butler has been the physical force for Newton inside and out this season and he won’t shy away from the 1-2 punch of Montgomery and Johnson. 
Justin Young’s pick: Newton 
Tai Young’s pick: Newton
Your pick:

Grayson (21-6) at Pebblebrook (26-2) = Grayson has been anticipating this one since their last matchup against Pebblebrook in last year’s Tournament of Champions. Pebblebrook is riding a 24 game winning streak into a matchup that’s sure to be more competitive than their first two rounds. There are several prospects for every level in this one that features both star power and quality role players that can step up in big moments. Both teams can play different styles from up and down to grinding it out, so it will be interesting to see which team enforces their will on the other. 
Match-up to watch:There will be some moments when some big shots are needed and both Grayson guard Travis Anderson and Pebblebrook guard Dwight Murray are more than capable.  Quality over quantity is what will determine who wins this matchup. Whoever can end or start runs for their team will be the player to progress to the next round.  
Justin Young’s pick: Pebblebrook 
Tai Young’s pick: Pebblebrook
Your pick:

Campbell (21-9) at Meadowcreek (22-6)
Campbell, a No. 4 seed coming out of the powerful Region 2-AAAAAAA, started their state championship run with a terrific 72-64 win at Tift County. Then a trip to Woodstock for a 79-71 second round win. Now James Gwyn and his squad will make the trip to Gwinnett County and face Meadowcreek. Teams with size have had success against Campbell this season and Meadowcreek is stocked with big men. Amari Kelly and Cory Hightower, the terrific big man duo for the Mustangs, are just steady on the defensive-minded Meadowcreek squad. 
Match-up to watch:Campbell had 27 points from senior guard Kiya Randolph last round against Woodstock. He’s a power guard that does his best work attacking the rim. Conversely, Meadowcreek’s Jamir Chaplin is quickly establishing himself as one of the premier defenders in the Peach. Keep your eyes on this one. 
Justin Young’s pick: Meadowcreek 
Tai Young’s pick: Meadowcreek
Your pick:

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