Two local basketball teams reached their pinnacles with Georgia High School Association (GHSA) state championships this past week at the Macon Centreplex in Macon.
The Chattahoochee boys’ team won the Class 6A title with a 69-66 overtime victory over Lanier in the championship contest March 7. It's the first state championship in Cougars’ history.
Cameron Sheffield had a game-high 31 points and eight rebounds for Chattahoochee while teammates AJ White (22 points) and Franklin Bailey (10 points) also scored in double-figures. David McDaniel grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds as well for the Cougars.
Chattahoochee (24-7) trailed 47-40 heading into the fourth quarter before its comeback. Two consecutive layups by McDaniel and a three-pointer from White tied the score at 47 with 6:29 left in regulation. The teams continued to trade baskets with Sheffield’s jumper at the 2:32 mark of the fourth quarter making the score 56-53 in favor of Chattahoochee. Three consecutive free throws by Lanier’s (26-6) Sion James tied the score at 56 heading into overtime.
The Cougars scored the first six points of the extra quarter on consecutive jumpers and two free throws by Sheffield. The Longhorns got within one point on James’ layup with 20 seconds remaining in overtime. However, two free throws by White and one by Sheffield with one second remaining secured the win for the Cougars. Chattahoochee hit all four field goal attempts in overtime.
James scored a team-high 27 points with 11 rebounds for Lanier to post a double-double. Andrew McConnell (13 points) and Iajah Phillips (12 points) also scored in double-figures for the Longhorns.
Chattahoochee shot 45.7 percent from the field including six three-pointers in the victory. The Cougars converted 21 of 27 free throw attempts and outrebounded Lanier 40-29. Lanier shot 38.6 percent from the field and also hit six three-pointers.
Chattahoochee was the top seed from Region 7AAAAAA and defeated Alexander, Heritage (Conyers), Sequoyah and Tri-Cities to reach the finals.
The St. Francis boys’ team won its second-consecutive Class A Private state title and fourth overall with its 76-55 victory over Greenforest March 4.
Dwon Odom scored a game-high 27 points with nine rebounds to lead the Knights statistically. Chase Ellis had 14 points, Seth Hubbard scored 12 and Jusaun Holt had 11 for St. Francis for double-figures scoring.
St. Francis (29-3) held a 24-20 lead through the first two quarters with consecutive jumpers by Odom and Hubbard to conclude the first half.
The Knights continued to push the lead with two free throws from Odom and a layup by Jordan Brown for their largest lead of the contest at 65-40 with 5:46 left in the contest.
Lamar Oden, Jr. scored a team-high 21 points for Greenforest (20-10) who also had Chase Cromier (11 points) and Christian Fussell (10 points) also reach double-figures. Fussell also grabbed a team-high eight rebounds.
St. Francis shot 65.9 percent from the field and made 16 out of 21 free throw attempts while never trailing in the victory. The Knights outrebounded the Eagles 33-25 and led in points in the paint 44-28. St. Francis also had more fast break points 14-4.
Greenforest shot 33.9 percent in the contest and made eight of 11 free throws.
St. Francis was the top-overall seed and defeated First Presbyterian, Holy Innocents’ and Mount Pisgah to reach the finals.
The St. Francis girls’ team dropped its contest to Holy Innocents’ 66-53 March 4 in the Class A Private championship game. Mia Moore and Savannah Samuel each had 11 points for the Knights who finished the season with a 28-4 record. St. Francis was the top overall seed and defeated Tallulah Falls, Mount Paran and Wesleyan to reach the finals.