It was a banner day for the St. Francis boys’ basketball team as it brought home the Georgia High School Association (GHSA) Class A Private State Championship with a 73-69 victory over Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy (ELCA) in the title game held at the Macon Centreplex on March 6. Its the Knights third state championship in program history and first since 2015.
Dwon Odom scored a game-high 28 points and four steals for St. Francis in the win. Jusaun Holt had 16 points in addition to team-highs in rebounds (nine) and assists (five) for the Knights. Mekhi Cameron and K.J. Jones II each scored 17 points while Trevon Reddish dished out a game-high nine assists for ELCA in the loss.
St. Francis got off to a hot start and two consecutive baskets by Odom, including a dunk, gave it a 25-16 lead into the second quarter. The Knights took advantage of strong inside play, outscoring the Chargers 14-4 in points in the paint for the first quarter.
ELCA mounted a comeback attempt in the second quarter but St. Francis still held a 35-33 lead at halftime.
The Knights trailed 49-48 heading into the fourth quarter but Odom’s three-pointer with 6:04 left in regulation gave them a 54-53 advantage. Three free throws by Odom and one by Chase Ellis in the final six seconds of the contests secured the victory for St. Francis.
The Knights shot 51.9 percent from the field and made seven out of 16 three-pointer attempts. The Chargers’ shooting percentage was 48.1 while also making seven three-pointers.
St. Francis entered the playoffs as the top overall seed and defeated Pinecrest Academy and Savannah Country Day to reach the state semifinals. The Knights defeated Mount Bethel 65-63 in the semis on March 2 led by 19 points each from C.J. Riley and Odom who also had nine assists and four rebounds. Holt grabbed a team-high nine rebounds in the victory.
Other boys’ programs to make the state playoffs this season included Mount Pisgah Christian, Wesleyan, Blessed Trinity, Denmark, Cambridge, Chattahoochee, Roswell and Milton.
Wesleyan’s girls team reached the Class A Private State Finals itself and faced Holy Innocents’ in Macon on March 6. The Wolves dropped the contest 75-48. Avyonce Carter had a team-high 17 points and 10 rebounds for Wesleyan with teammates Paige Lyons (11 points) and Nicole Azar (10 points) also reached double-figures in scoring.
Jillian Hollingshead scored a game-high 25 points along with grabbing 10 rebounds for the Golden Bears in the win. Jada Farrell posted 18 points while teammate Rachel Suttle had a game-high 12 rebounds as well for Holy Innocents’. Holy Innocents’ never trailed in the contest with two free throws by Hollingshead giving it a 16-9 lead late in the first quarter. The Golden Bears outscored the Wolves 11-7 in the second quarter, culminating with a layup by Logan Jackson with seven seconds remaining in the first half to give them a 27-18 heading into halftime.
Holy Innocents’ continued its hot shooting into the second half, making nine out of 13 shots in the third quarter and increased the lead to 51-34 heading into the fourth. Suttle’s two free throws with one minute left in regulation gave the Golden Bears their largest lead of the contest at 30 points.
Holy Innocents’ shot 52-percent from the field in the contest and made four out of eight three-pointers. Wesleyan’s shooting percentage for the game was 30.4 while converting on four of 14 three-pointer attempts. The Golden Bears outrebounded the Wolves 45-29 and had more assists 16-6. Holy Innocents’ also led in points in the paint 38-24 s well as fast break points 7-0.
Other local girls’ teams to make the postseason were King’s Ridge, St. Francis, Alpharetta, Northview, Johns Creek and Roswell.