Jones County v Eagle’s Landing #2, 4 p.m
Jones County (20-12) is the only unranked team remaining in the playoffs, but the Greyhounds can’t be discounted in any way. They play in the rough and tumble Region 4 where all four teams made the Elite Eight. Because they’re a No. 4 — the only one standing — they’ve had to win their previous three games away — going to the Bradwell Institute, No. 10 Tucker and No. 3 Hiram. Coach Buck Harris has two choices for the Region 2 first-team — seniors Jaylen Sanford (20 points, 5.5 rebounds) and Daethan Harris (15.6 points, 3.2 assists) — as well as juniors Judd Anderson (9, 2 points, 7.0 rebounds) and Jaden Stanley (11.3 points).
Eagle’s Landing (28-1) has won seven straight games since losing to rival Dutchtown in the regular season. The Eagles are led by Region 2 Player of the Year David Thomas, a jack of all trades who has signed with Mercer. Other standout players include junior Chris Morris, long-limbed Kenneth Brayboy and Khylan McKennie. Coach Elliott Montgomery is trying to get his team back into the championship game for the third straight season.
The two teams met twice in the regular season. Eagle’s Landing won 69-62 at home on December 13 and prevailed 55-45 in Gray on January 24.
No. 4 Chapel Hill vs. No. 1 Kell, 8 p.m
Chapel Hill turned it on at the end of the season, winning the Region 5 tournament in a superb league and winning eight straight. First-team All-Region Kelvin Hunter, a versatile 6-7 senior who signed with Young Harris, leads the team with 14.4 points and 10.8 rebounds. Seniors Khirus Doucet (9.2 points, 3.6 rebounds, 4.5 assists) and Oray Towns III (17.4 points) were second teams across the region, and junior CJ Winters averaged 10.8 points and 4.6 rebounds.
Kell (26-2) is entering the semifinals on a 13-game winning streak. The Longhorns dominated Region 6’s tepid competition, and their 73-60 semifinal win over Dutchtown was the narrowest win since losing to Class 7A semifinalist Grayson in overtime on Jan. 7. The Longhorns have one of the top big men in the state in Peyton Marshall, a 7-foot, 300-pound junior who was named Region 6 Player of the Year and has already signed for Auburn. Juniors CJ Brown, an athletic, high-flying guard, and Cannon Richards, a physical force with a high motor, were both first-teamers across the region, and Jaylen Colon was a second-team pick.
No. 6 Calhoun vs. No. 1 Warner Robins, 2 p.m
For some reason, Calhoun (25-4) didn’t get the same attention as the other three semifinalists, even though the Yellow Jackets lost just one regional game. Coach Jaime Echols has the team in the Final Four for the first time in school history and is enjoying a seven-game winning streak. Calhoun is led by Region 7 Player of the Year Britiya Curtis, a 5-6 senior guard who broke the school’s career scoring record and career 3-point shooting record. Sa’Niah Dorsey and Lauren Watson are other all-region players on a team that loves to hit the deep ball.
Warner Robins (27-3) has been the No. 1 team since January and has won 11 straight games. The Demons are well trained and disciplined and the roster is packed with fast, experienced players. The team is led by Region 2 Player of the Year Jada Morgan, a returning All-State player who leads the club in goals and rebounds. Morgan has signed with the state of South Carolina. Other top players include Tasia Agee, Tori Davis and Neveah Mack, all of whom were named to the all-region team.
No. 3 Maynard Jackson vs. No. 2 Kell, 6 p.m
Jackson (26-1) has won 19 straight games since his only loss, a two-point loss to Elbert County on Dec. 28. The Panthers are quick and play an aggressive style of defense that few can match. Jackson is led by Region 5 Player of the Year Taliah Cornish, a junior point guard averaging 20.6 points, 3.8 assists and 3.1 steals. That season, she became only the fourth player in school history to score 1,000 points. Coach Michelle Powell’s team is quite young – junior Shakira Gresham averages 13.9 points and 8.6 rebounds and newcomer Cayden Cornish has 10.7 points.
Kell (24-5) brings a 12-game winning streak into the semifinals. Coach Kandra Bailey’s Longhorns have already beaten No. 8 Hiram and No. 4 Bradwell Institute in the playoffs. The team is led by Region 6 Player of the Year Crystal Henderson, the school’s all-time scoring champion, who won 32 points against Bradwell in the third round. Jada Green, a gifted 5-11 winger, is the first team for all regions and Jamiah Gregory, a guard who can almost dunk, is the second team.
The winners will play for the championship on March 9th at the Macon Coliseum. The girls’ title game is at 5:30 p.m., with the boys’ game at 7:30 p.m