Wednesday, March 11, 2009

AAAAA Final Four primer

Thursday at Gwinnett Arena
Newnan vs. Milton, 5:30 p.m.
Westlake vs. Wheeler, 8:30 p.m.

Why Newnan wins: Russell Powell. The senior point guard is the most successful winner in the state. He quarterbacked Newnan’s football team to the semi-finals, too. After watching him score 29 points and hand out seven assists against a good Valdosta team, Powell continues to play at the pace he’s been playing at all season. Newnan plays basketball like they are playing football. That’s a good thing, too.

Why Milton wins: Milton defends better than Newnan and has better star power. Head coach David Boyd has been to the big dance before and knows how to get the job done. He’s hungry for a win in the new era of hoops in the Peach State, too. Perhaps youthful exuberance comes into play, too. Julian Royal is coming off a monster game against South Gwinnett. Royal, Shannon Scott, Dai-Jon Parker and Evan Nolte should be a staple at the Gwinnett Arena for the next three years.

Why Wheeler wins: The Wildcats have too much firepower you can rely on. Richard Howell, one of the finalists for the Georgia Hoops AAAAA Player of the Year, Ari Stewart and Phil Taylor can all be the go-to player. Plus, the Marietta team is playing about as good as anyone in the state. Defensively, Wheeler is playing like old state championship teams, too.

Why Westlake wins: The Lions have had a bit of an up and down season but since the departure of star junior Jalen Kendrick, Westlake is playing very good basketball, founded on great defense and offensive balance. Wheeler will have it’s hands full with the big frontline of Westlake and the depth. Point guard is the only chink in the armor. Too much Javaris Bryant, Marcus Thornton (pictured above) and the rest of the size at nearly every position could frustrate Wheeler.

Georgia Hoops picks: Newnan over Milton, Wheeler over Westlake