Southwest DeKalb’s Chantz Cherry will direct the Lady Panthers’ offense against Winder-Barrow on Saturday in the Class 5A state title game. (Photo by Mark Brock)
Three DeKalb County School District basketball teams are vying for state championships this weekend in Macon and can extend the District’s string of consecutive seasons with a state basketball title to 13.
The No. 1 ranked Southwest DeKalb Lady Panthers step into the spotlight first as they face the unranked Winder-Barrow Lady Bulldogs, the only No. 4 seed to reach the championship round, in the Class 5A girls’ championship set for 7:00 pm at the Centreplex.
Southwest DeKalb (26-6) is making its seventh appearance in the state championship game in the past nine seasons, having won four titles in 2008-2010 and 2013 under the direction of Coach Kathy Walton.
The team presented Walton with her 300th career victory this season and has Walton sitting at 323-99 in 14 seasons at Southwest DeKalb. Walton can become the eighth Georgia girls’ basketball coach to win five state titles with the win.
Senior Daisa Alexander is leading the Lady Panthers in the playoffs averaging 22.8 points, 7.8 rebounds, 70% (28-40) from two-point distance and 28.6 (6-21) from three-point range in the four wins. She hit for 30 points in the 65-50 quarterfinal win over No. 7 Columbus. Alexander went over the 1,000 career point mark this season and has 1,334 for her career.
Junior teammate Jada Walton (922 career points) is providing ample support to Alexander averaging 10.5 points per game and junior Chantz Cherry is running the offense averaging 3.5 assists per game, 71.4% from the free throw line and being a force on defense tied with Alexander at 4.5 steals per game.
Junior forward Ogheneruona (Ruona) Uwusiaba (6.8 rebounds) and sophomore Michaela Bennefield (6.5 rebounds) are helped Southwest control things underneath the backboard.
Winder-Barrow (26-6) defeated three consecutive ranked teams to reach the championship game against Southwest DeKalb. The Lady Bulldogs defeated No. 9 Carver-Columbus (49-43), No. 10 Mays (51-46) and No. 4 Brunswick (65-52) in the semifinals.
Southwest DeKalb is averaging 61 points per game in the playoffs and allowing just 40.3 per contest while Winder-Barrow is scoring at 54.5 clip and allowing 43.3 per game. It is the first ever playoff meeting between the two teams.