Rashones Coleman, center, Miller Grover Head Coach Sharman White and players celebrate their region 6-AAAAA victory over Stephenson. Coleman is the mother of Terrell Coleman, a 6-foot-5, 15-year-old freshman standout for Miller Grove, that collapsed and died in October while playing basketball in the offseason. Photos by Travis Hudgons
Seven basketball teams from DeKalb are heading to the state playoffs as No. 1 seeds after winning region titles.
Miller Grove boys and Southwest DeKalb girls won the Region 6-AAAAA titles; Redan girls and Columbia boys claimed the Region 6-AAAA titles; Cedar Grove boys and St. Pius girls won the Region 6-AAA titles; and Greenforest boys had to go into overtime to beat Landmark for the Region 5-A title.
In the Region 6-AAAAA tournament, both Miller Grove and the Southwest DeKalb Lady Panthers had to come from behind to pull out the win. Stephenson had a 47-43 lead over Miller Grove with 4:31 to play before the Wolverines came back to beat Stephenson 60-52 Feb. 19.
Miller Grove head coach Sharman White said he was proud of how his team continued to fight back and not quit.
“It was a very tough and challenging game,” White said. “Stephenson is a very good. I’m just proud of their will to win.”
In the fourth quarter, Stephenson’s John Bradley scored six consecutive points during a 9-0 run by the Jaguars, aided by three consecutive Miller Grove turnovers; that led to a 47-43 Stephenson lead with 4:31 to play.
However, Miller Grove guard Keith Pinckney hit four free throws and Devin Dorsett hit two of four free throws to give Miller Grove the lead at 50-49 with 1:59 remaining on the clock. Pinckney then hit four free throws to go with a layup and two free throws by Alterique Gilbert to extend the lead to 58-52.
Gilbert finished with 22 points and Pinckney added 18 for the Wolverines. Daniel Kinchen, who hit four three-pointers, led Stephenson with 14 points.
Both teams will host playoff games Feb. 22 as Miller Grove (23-5) hosts Region 8-AAAAA No. 4 seed Gainesville (16-12) in a rematch of last March’s Class AAAAA state title game. No. 2 seed Stephenson (22-7) will host No. 3 seeded Salem (9-19).
White said coming out of a tough region has prepared them for the state tournament.
“We feel like we’re in a good place,” he said. “Coming from that region and being battle-tested makes us feel that way.”
The M. L. King Lions (19-9) enters the Class AAAAA state tournament as a No. 3 seed after beating Tucker 51-47 in the Region 6-AAAAA consolation game. M. L. King will travel to No. 2 seeded Apalachee (23-5) and No. 4 seed Tucker will take on No. 1 seed Clarke Central (26-1) Feb. 22.
The Southwest DeKalb Lady Panther avenged its early season loss to Tucker with a 63-56 win over Tucker to claim the Region 6-AAAAA title Feb. 19. The No. 3 ranked Tucker Lady Tigers looked to be on their way to a second victory over the No. 1 ranked Lady Panthers after back-to-back layups by Tori Robinson that put Tucker up 41-30 with 4:46 to play in the third quarter.
However, a 14-2 run brought Southwest DeKalb within 48-45 heading into the fourth quarter. Erykah Davenport gave the Lady Tigers a 55-51 lead with 5:46 to play, but a steal by Davion Wingate led to a 57-55 for the Lady Panthers with 4:53 left in the game.
Tucker had a chance to cut into the lead down the stretch, but hit just one of eight free throws.
Tynice Martin led Southwest DeKalb (26-2) with 25 points and 11 rebounds and Wingate added 17 points. The pair combined to hit 21 of 23 free throws. Davenport led Tucker in scoring with 18 points.
Both teams will host first round playoff games Feb. 21 as Tucker (24-4) hosts Region 8-AAAA No. 3 seed Gainesville (21-7) and Southwest takes on No. 4 seed Loganville (19-9) at Southwest DeKalb.
The No. 4 seed Stephenson Lady Jaguars (18-9), who lost to Mays 58-55 in the consolation game, will travel to Region 8-AAAAA No. 1 seed Clarke Central (19-4) Feb. 22.
The No. 1 ranked Columbia Eagles defeated the Marist War Eagles 46-42 to capture the Region 6-AAAA boys’ title and a No. 1 seed.
The 2013 Class AAAA runners-up Eagles (23-4) will host Lumpkin County (15-13) in the first round of the state playoffs Feb. 22. No. 2 seed Marist (15-13) will face No. 3 seed Walnut Grove the same day.
The No. 1 Redan Lady Raiders (28-0) knocked off the No. 3 ranked Columbia Lady Eagles for the third time this season with a 71-57 victory at Columbia to win the girls’ title. Redan is three games from its one season best win streak of 31 games and is one better than the 27-0 2009 championship season.
Redan will host Region 8-AAAA No. 4 seed Walnut Grove (15-12) Feb. 21 while Columbia will host the No. 3 seed Stephens County (15-12).
Stone Mountain (17-11) fell 53-50 in the boys’ consolation game with Grady to end up with the No. 4 seed from the region and a trip to No. 1 seed Johnson-Gainesville (23-5) Feb. 22.
The Cedar Grove Saints (18-6) defeated Blessed Trinity 36-33 to claim the Region 6-AAA title Feb. 18. Cedar Grove will host Oconee County (12-16) on Feb. 22.
The St. Pius boys’ team grabbed the No. 3 seed after defeating Woodward Academy 67-38 in the consolation game Feb. 18. St. Pius (23-5) will travel to Elbert County (21-4) Feb. 22.
The St. Pius girls’ basketball team won its second consecutive Region 6-AAA title Feb. 18 after defeating Decatur 49-29. St. Pius (25-3) will host North Oconee (19-9) Feb. 21 in the first round of the playoffs.
No. 2 seed Decatur (21-7) will host Elbert County (16-12) Feb. 21.
Class A Private defending champions Greenforest (21-7) won the Region 5-A title after defeating Landmark 79-66 Feb. 18. Its playoff matchup has not been announced yet.