Playoffs rundown: Quarterfinals
The quarterfinals of the Class AA playoffs is in the books on both the boys and girls sides. The Final Four is as follows: for the girls — Laney, Model, Rabun County and Bleckley County; for the boys — Dublin, Swainsboro, Josey and South Atlanta. The semifinals for both the boys and girls will take place on Saturday at the Georgia College & State University.
On the girls side, all remaining teams are No. 1 seeds. Top-ranked Laney easily disposed of No. 10 Heard County, winning 85-30, No. 2 Model beat No. 6 Bryan County 62-45, No. 5 Rabun County beat No. 4 Fitzgerald 70-54 and Bleckley County beat No. 9 Hapeville Charter 54-45.
Bleckley County is the only remaining unranked team and, along with Rabun County, are in the semifinals for the first time in program history and Model finally broke through after two straight seasons of exiting in the quarterfinals round. Of the finalists, only Laney has a state title to its name, winning the AAA championship in 2015.
Girls performances of note:
- Model junior Victaria Saxton had a monstrous and unconventional triple-double with 29 points, 25 rebounds and 14 blocks.
- Laney got off to a hot start with the Lady Wildcats five first-quarter 3-pointers on the way to their blowout victory.
- Rabun County‘s Savannah Scott scored a game-high 19 points and Tessa Matheson added 17 for the Lady Wildcats.
- Bleckley County‘s Jahnaria Brown led the Lady Hornets with 17 points and Fellisia Young scored 14 points.
On the boys side, two No. 1 seeds remain in top-ranked South Atlanta and Swainsboro, the only unranked team still standing. Tenth-ranked Josey is in the Final Four as a No. 3 seed and fifth-ranked Dublin is in as a No. 2 seed.
Boys performances of note:
- Washington County had visiting South Atlanta on the ropes, opening the game on a 9-0 run before the Hornets won 75-69 in overtime. Tyler Thornton led the Hornets with 22 points and 16 rebounds, Devonta Pullins had 17 points including four 3-pointers and Frank Bailey dished out 10 assists to go with 8 points.
- Josey went on the road to upset No. 4 Early County 71-58, though no further information was available online at the time of this publishing.
- Dublin upset No. 2 Laney 73-59 behind Devin Durham’s game-high 21 points with NFL star and former Georgia Tech football standout Demaryius Thomas in attendance and offering support to the Fighting Irish.
- Swainsboro upset visiting No. 8 Chattooga 64-61 behind three late free throws from Jaylan McKinley, which capped a comeback that saw the Tigers trailing by nine points with 4:11 remaining. Chattooga’s Jay Shropshire scored 24 points off five 3-pointers in the losing effort.
Check back on Saturday, when we’ll take a look at the semifinals and review playoff predictions made before the tournament started.
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