DeKalb County high school basketball teams moved on to the Class AAAAA state playoffs Final Four at the expense of fellow DeKalb teams on Tuesday night.
Miller Grove in Lithonia swept a pair of Top 10 match ups at home against fellow DeKalb and Region 6-AAAAA opponent Tucker to pick up two of the Final Four spots.
The No. 3 ranked and 2012 Class AAAA state champion Lady Wolverines (25-5) got nine fourth quarter points from senior guard Katie Hunt to rally for a 50-40 victory over the No. 2 ranked Tucker Lady Tigers (25-5).
Miller Grove trailed by as much as nine points (28-19) with 6:50 to play in the third quarter and had to chip away at the Tucker lead trailing just 33-30 on Klarissa Weaver’s layup on a pass from Tashi Thompson as the period came to an end.
Hunt took over in the third period and gave Miller Grove its first lead (35-34) since a 6-5 at the 2:32 mark of the first quarter with a steal and foul for a three-point play with 7:02 to play in the game.
Nuba Jackson answered for Tucker with a three-pointer to regain the lead at 37-35, but Miller Grove got baskets from Shaquanda Durden and Thompson to take the lead for good at 40-38 with 5:07 to play in the game.
Hunt helped Miller Grove finish strong with a pair of steals that turned in a layup and two free throws to give the Lady Wolverines a 46-40 lead with 1:37 to play. Hunt finished off the game with two free throws for the final margin of 50-40.
Hunt finished with 13 points leading the Lady Wolverines while Klarissa Weaver added 10 points and nine rebounds. Nuba Jackson who had 14 first half points to help Tucker to a 24-17 halftime lead finished with a game-high 17 points.
Miller Grove goes to the Class AAAAA girls’ Final Four against the winner of Effingham County (25-5) and Thomas County Central (18-10) with the game time set for 4 p.m. at Kennesaw State University on Saturday.
James Walker and Alterique Gilbert combined to lead a 12-0 fourth quarter rally to send No. 1 ranked Miller Grove (28-3) into the Final Four for the sixth consecutive season with a 60-55 victory over No. 6 Tucker (20-10).
Tucker which trailed 23-15 at the half put together a 10-0 run beginning at the 5:57 mark of the third quarter to take its first lead of the game on a dunk by Jabari Craig on a pass from Jon Dunmeyer. The 30-29 lead was aided by four consecutive free throws from Dunmeyer after a foul and technical on Miller Grove just before Craig’s dunk.
Devanta Reynolds hit a pair of free throws with 5:07 to play to give the Tigers their largest lead of the night at 46-39.
The Wolverines went to a press and started forcing the Tigers into turnovers (9 in the fourth quarter) while Gilbert and then Walker took control.
Gilbert drove the lane to start the 12-0 with a floater over a Tucker defender and then hitting a pair of free throws to cut the lead to 46-43. Earl Bryant’s layup trimmed it to 46-45 with 3:45 to play.
Walker then scored the next six points getting inside to benefit from a pair of nice feeds from Keith Pinckney and a tip in over a Tucker defender as Miller Grove regained the lead at 51-48 with 2:06 to play. His play was also aided by the Wolverine defense which forced a 10 second call on the Tigers brining the ball up the court and then a five second call on an inbounds play for two of the nine Tucker turnovers in the period.
Another Craig dunk and a Miller Grove turnover gave Tucker the ball trailing 57-52, but a turnover set up free throws by Walker and Pinckney to seal the victory.
Pinckney and Gilbert finished with 15 points leading Miller Grove while Walker collected 11 and had 9 rebounds. Devonta Reynolds had 15 points and Devante Fitzgerald and Jon Dunmeyer added 14 each for the Tigers.
The four-time Class AAAA state champions Wolverines move on to the Class AAAAA boys’ semifinals against the No. 3 Northside-Columbus (22-4)-Jenkins-Savannah (22-8) winner at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday at Kennesaw State University.
The No. 4 ranked Southwest DeKalb Lady Panthers (22-8) avenged an early season loss to fellow DeKalb and Region 6-AAAAA foe Stephenson in Stone Mountain by rallying from a 34-32 halftime deficit for a 67-60 victory over the No. 7 ranked Lady Jaguars (25-6).
Nicole Martin hit for 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds while Davion Wingate and Miaya Crowder added 15 points each in the victory.
Southwest moves into the state semifinals for the fifth time in six seasons and meets No. 5 Forest Park (24-7) in a game set for 7 p.m. at Kennesaw State University. Southwest defeated Forest Park 65-33 earlier in January and also knocked Forest Park out of the state playoff semifinals in 2010 on the way to their third consecutive Class AAAA state title.
In Class AAAA girls’ state tournament play, the No. 1 ranked Columbia Lady Eagles (25-3) reached the state semifinals for the fourth consecutive season with convincing 68-27 victory on the road over River Ridge (22-9).
Columbia advances to take on No. 4 ranked Jonesboro (26-4) a 51-39 winner over Howard (20-8), in the 7 p.m. contest at Fort Valley State University on Saturday.
The No. 3 ranked Redan Lady Raiders (25-3) had their season come to an end as Sandy Creek (24-6), the No. 4 seed from Region 5, continues its run in the postseason with a 50-47 victory at Redan.
DEKALB STATE PLAYOFF BASKETBALL RESULTS
Tuesday, Feb. 26
SW DeKalb (22-8) 67, Stephenson (25-6) 60, season over
Miller Grove (25-5) 50, Tucker (25-5) 40, season over
Sandy Creek (24-6) 50, Redan (25-3) 47, season over
Columbia (25-3) 68, River Ridge (22-9) 27
Miller Grove (28-3) 60, Tucker (20-10) 55
DEKALB STATE PLAYOFF BASKETBALL SCHEDULE
Wednesday, Feb. 27
Marist (23-4) at Columbia (25-3), 6 p.m.
Saturday, Mar. 2
Class AAAAA at Kennesaw State University
Miller Grove (28-3) vs. Northside-Columbus/Jenkins-Savannah winner, 8:30
Class AAAAA at Kennesaw State University
Miller Grove (25-5) vs. Effingham Co./Thomas Co. Central winner, 4 p.m.
SW DeKalb (22-8) vs. Forest Park (24-7), 7 p.m.
Class AAAA at Fort Valley State University
Columbia (25-3) vs. Jonesboro (26-4), 7 p.m.
Mark Brock is the Information Officer/Statistician/Web Manager for DeKalb County Schools Athletics
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