by Mark Brock
Three more teams in DeKalb County won on Wednesday night in the second round of the GHSA state basketball tournament. Nine teams will play this weekend in the quarterfinals in their respective classifications.
The No. 9 Martin Luther King Jr. Lions (21-9) had four players in double figures to move past South Cobb (14-15) 77-61 into the Class AAAAA Elite Eight.
De'Aires Tate led with 17 points and 10 rebounds, including a pair of offensive rebounds for easy points underneath in the first half as the Lions built a 41-31 lead at the half.
Tate and Greg King, who had 15 points, both had dunks in the opening two minutes of the second half as the lead expanded to 47-33.
South Cobb's Devocio Butler had a game-high 19 points and led a South Cobb rally in the third quarter to cut the lead to nine at 52-43 on a basket with 1:36 to play in the quarter, but the Lions shut the Eagles down while scoring four points in the final minute for a 13-point advantage heading into the fourth quarter.
Tate opened the fourth quarter with his second offensive rebound and dunk, and Paul Jackson (13 points) drilled a 3-pointer from the right corner to keep the lead at 13 and South Cobb could get no closer than 12 the rest of the way. Tivius Guthrie scored 11 points while leading the offense and handling South Cobb’s full court pressure.
The Lions move on to face Harrison (22-7) in the quarterfinals at Fort Valley State on Saturday at 8:30 p.m.
Also in Class AAAAA, Stephenson battled No. 2 ranked North Cobb (26-4) to the end before falling 60-57 to close out their Cinderella postseason run. The Jaguars finish the year 9-21.
The only Class AAAA team in action on Wednesday was No. 4 ranked Southwest DeKalb. The Panthers (20-9) earned their second straight Elite Eight appearance with a 72-69 win at Cedar Shoals.
The Panthers advance to take on No. 6 ranked Chattahoochee (25-5), which knocked off No. 9 Douglas County (26-4) 91-65. The two meet at 5:30 p.m. at the University of West Georgia Coliseum in Carrollton on Friday.
In Class AAA boys games, Columbia defeated Dalton 71-54 and Towers (20-9) lost to Allatoona 50-39. Columbia (28-1) pulled away in the second quarter and led Dalton 65-45 with one quarter to play. The Eagles play No. 2 ranked Carrollton (26-3), which defeated North Hall 54-45, at 8:30 p.m. Saturday at the North Georgia Trade Center.
STATE PLAYOFF SCHEDULE
Friday, March 2 (Third Round)
Class AAAA at West Georgia (Carrollton)
(G) Chamblee (28-2) vs. SW DeKalb (19-11), 4 p.m.
(B) SW DeKalb (20-9) vs. Chattahoochee (25-5), 5:30 p.m.
(G) Miller Grove (22-4) vs. Rome (22-8), 7 p.m.
(B) Miller Grove (21-9) vs. Marist (20-7), 8:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 3
Class AAA at Dalton (North Georgia Trade Center)
(G) Columbia (21-5) vs. Troup (23-5), 7 p.m.
(B) Columbia (28-1) vs. Carrollton (26-3), 8:30 p.m.
Class AAAAA at Fort Valley State University
(B) M. L. King Jr. (21-9) vs. Harrison (22-7), 8:30 p.m.