DeKalb basketball teams advance to state playoffs following region championships

DeKalb will be represented by 25 high schools in the Georgia High School Associations 2022-23 Basketball State Playoffs, following seven local teams winning region championships between Feb. 14 – 18.

Playoffs begin Feb. 21-22 at locations around the state. DeKalb had 12 teams hosting playoff games in round one. For full schedules, visit GHSA’s website or DeKalb County School District’s website.

Round two of the playoffs will be held Feb. 24 – 25, round three is scheduled for Feb. 28 – March 1, the semifinals will be held March 3 – 4, and the state championships are scheduled for March 8 – 11.

Region Champions: Columbia boys 

Columbia High School saw its boys’ basketball team cap off an undefeated region schedule with a dominant run in the region championship.

In the Region 5-2A Championship at Columbia, the Eagles defeated Redan 74-46. Head coach Phil McCrary said his team has bought into his staff’s recent lessons — resulting in a game that saw Columbia leading Redan 19-1 at the end of the first quarter.

“These are things we worked on in practice. The guys believed in what we worked on and what we were teaching,” added McCrary.

It started in the post for Columbia with big man Terrell Wright controlling both ends of the court. Wright scored 11 points but was dominant on the glass and in rim protection — racking up rebounds and blocks throughout the game.

“For us to go anywhere, it’s going to start with Terrell. He does a lot for us and he keeps us lowkey. He stepped up the way he’s capable of playing,” said McCrary.

Wright sparked the initial onslaught, but Columbia’s guards and deep rotation put the finishing touches on the game. Kevin Bruce, Trevian Callaway, Rashaad Headges, Jadan Baugh, and Mekhi Craft all made big contributions for Columbia’s backcourt on offense and defense. Headges led all scorers with 16 points while Callaway (13) and Bruce (12) joined him as guards scoring in double figures.

“It helps a lot because it gives us an opportunity to keep guys fresh and to put more pressure on opponents,” McCrary said about Columbia’s depth. “So, hopefully some of those shots that fall against us in the first half won’t go in during the second half.”

Columbia will play its first-round game against a fellow DeKalb team in Drew Charter on Feb. 21 at Columbia. “One day at a time, one practice at a time, one game at a time,” McCrary said about his team’s playoff preparation.

Columbia defeated Redan for the region title. Photos by Jay Phillips

Other region champions from DeKalb included Decatur High School’s boys’ team winning its first region championship since 2015. The Bulldogs took down Tucker 69-64 at Arabia Mountain High School on Feb. 17 to win the Region 4-5A title.

Decatur High School’s girls’ team also defeated Arabia Mountain 63-58 in the Region 4-5A championship game, giving the Bulldogs a sweep of the Region titles.

Southwest DeKalb defeated Holy Innocents 53-45 to claim the title. Xzaviah Taylor led the Panthers with a double-double in the win, recording 17 points, 10 rebounds, and four steals.

High school teams from St. Pius X Catholic (boys), Greenforest Christian (boys), and Marist (girls) also won region championships.

The following girls’ teams from DeKalb made the playoffs: Arabia Mountain, Lakeside, Lithonia, Chamblee, Southwest DeKalb, Cedar Grove, Columbia, Decatur, St. Pius, Marist, and Greenforest.

Boys’ teams from DeKalb that made the playoffs were: Lithonia, Miller Grove, Columbia, Drew Charter, Redan, Cedar Grove, Southwest DeKalb, Tucker, Chamblee, Druid Hills, Decatur, St. Pius, Marist, and Greenforest.

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