Thursday, February 19, 2009

Quick hitters from Wednesday's action


The pressure cooker was fired up on Wednesday as a host of teams had to step up and win or go home.

No. 3 Riverdale matched up with No. 6 Pebblebrook and No. 2 Westlake played host to No. 7 Morrow on Wednesday night and the higher seeds made it look easy.

Riverdale relied on the play of Judson Dillard, a 6-4 senior wing pictured above, to close the door on Pebblebrook 63-47. Dillard has been closing the door on a number of teams late in the season this year.

He scored 49 points against Mundy’s Mill in the regular season final. Scoring big numbers is nothing new, says Riverdale head coach Derrick Powell.

“He’s been putting up numbers consistently all year long and considering that it is his first year with us, that’s been impressive,” Powell said. “He’s accepted his role as they guy that we need to go to and he’s been comfortable with that. Judson is just a natural scorer.”

Dillard relied on his constant energy and hustle to outwork Pebblebrook for scores around the basket. He’s a tough player to defend and Dillard said he doesn’t want to miss a beat any time he’s on the floor.

“When it gets down to crunch time, I want to be in position to make a play. I think that’s what happens when you play hard all the time. Your teammates trust you,” Dillard said. “I’m going to try and play hard all the time. There are 32 minutes in a game and I want to make sure I’m playing hard in every one of those.”

Westlake relied on it’s depth and offensive balance. Javaris Bryant scored 20 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Jordan Brown, a junior guard, scored 10 points off the bench.

Westlake will play Riverdale on Friday at 5:30 in the semi-finals. Newnan will play Creekside at 8:30 in the other semi-final.


There are still a number of talented unsigned/uncommitted seniors in the state that coaches need to lay some eyes on.

J.J. Mann, Marist – The 6-6 forward had a monster night in a 71-50 win over Southwest DeKalb. Mann scored 31 points and grabbed 21 rebounds in the win that locked Marist into the state playoffs. The game before, Mann pumped in 31 points and 15 rebounds against North Springs.

Westley Hinton, Providence – Had a wow game against Greenforest Christian at the 7-A region tournament. The 6-8 big man put on a show in a tough defeat. His best basketball is ahead of him.

Blaise White, Lassiter – The complete competitor. The 5-8 point guard led his Trojans into several battles, set the tone with his hard-nosed play each and every night and earned the respect of basketball purists in Atlanta this season.

Ryan LeGates, Blessed Trinity – Always playing with great confidence and craftiness, the 6-2 senior has the Titans playing well once again. Try this number on: BT is 69-15 since LeGates sophomore year.

Tony Dukes, Morrow – The 6-foot shooting guard had his right wrist taped up and that limited his effectiveness. So what do good players do when faced with adversity? You make good with what you have. Dukes shot the ball with his left hand in the second half against Westlake. Gritty effort with a number of coaches watching.

Derek Zittaruer, South Forsyth – Nice effort against Northview, defending, scoring simple plays, running the floor and leading by example.

Obviously there are several other players out there worth mentioning. I’ll see a number of other seniors of note this week, including a four-game slate at Lithia Springs.


Alpharetta High School will be punched into quite a few GPS systems this weekend. The action at the school right off Georgia 400 will be the place to be on Friday and Saturday.

Wheeler will play Milton at 6 p.m. on Friday. Walton will play Centennial immediately after. The winners will then play each other on Saturday at 7:30 for the 6-AAAAA region title. Between the four teams, there are at least 15 Division I players in the games. That’s impressive.


- One very trusted source at the Dublin-Jefferson County game said the Irish are an absolute buzzsaw. Dublin won by a landslide thanks to the sharp-shooting of Sherrard Brantley, one of the top unsigned seniors in the state, Rashard Smith (a NC State football signee) and junior big man Tawaski King.

- Central Macon junior guard Matt Brabham knows how important this time of year is. The top scorer in Macon lived up to his reputation and scored 40 points in a 62-60 win over Southwest on Wednesday night.

"I just had this adrenaline rush and went into killer instinct mode,” Brabham told Jonathan Heeter of the Macon Telegraph after the game. “It’s just about having that belief that you aren’t going home. This is the postseason, and my team needed me. So I brought a little killer instinct.”

- South Atlanta center and all-world senior Derrick Favors is the lone Georgian on the 2009 McDonald’s All-American game. He will play on the East team. The game is on April 1 in Miami, Florida.

- Clemson freshman and former Wesleyan star Tanner Smith was featured on on Wednesday. Dana O'Neil penned a great story on Smith, who is one of the class act kids in the country.

- Marietta beat Cherokee, the No. 2 seed in the 5-AAAAA tournament, at home on Wednesday night. Paced by the speed and defense of senior guard Chris Tanzy, the Blue Devils will now play in the state tournament next week as the No. 7 seed in it’s region tournament.

- North Cobb beat South Cobb. Hillgrove makes it look easy against Rome. Harrison rolls past Kennesaw Mountain. Milton's youth knocks out Lassiter's experience and toughness. It's a shame that two teams from region 6-AAAAA won't make the state playoffs. Whitefield rolls through Walker.

Brookwood back in the state playoffs on a last second shot from Taylor Mann. Welcome to the state playoffs, Mill Creek. Peachtree Ridge is one step closer to the region finals. Collins Hill, Athens Christian and Loganville all move on.

- Johnson wins on a last second shot from Region POY Jareal Smith and Groves moves on. Camden County wins in overtime over Windsor-Forest.