Three victories in the first round of the state high school basketball playoffs on Saturday brings the Sweet 16 total for DeKalb County (DCSD) to eight teams more step in their March to Macon.
The No. 5 ranked Tucker Tigers (25-4) used a 16-0 run after falling behind Valdosta 3-0 early in the game to roll to a 65-49 Class 6A playoffs home victory on Saturday.
Tra Whitfield gave Valdosta (12-15) the early 3-0 lead with a long shot from the wing, but it would be the only lead of the game for the Wildcats.
Nate Ogbu scored on a short jumper in the lane on Tucker’s next trip to start a 16-0 run that the Wildcats could never recover from the rest of the way.
Freshman Raylon Barrian scored 10 of the 16 points and he followed Ogbu with an old fashioned three-point play and then a layup on a fast break as Ogbu got the rebound on the other end and fired an outlet pass up the court.
Nick Watson got a nice pass running up the floor from Jaquan Rush for another fast-break basket for the Tigers. Barrian followed with another fast-break layup on an assist from Watson and a three-pointer from the right corner.
A pair of free throws by Rush made it a 16-3 Tucker lead with 3:17 left in the first quarter.
Valdosta got a layup on an offensive put back by Frank Jones and Jones followed with a pair of free throws to break the Tucker run and make it a 16-7 game.
Ogbu came right back with a pair of baskets on a put back and another short jumper in the lane. Watson followed with a layup, Jermontae Hill swished a three-pointer and Braylen Seals drive and layup with seven seconds left completed an 11-2 run for a 27-9 lead heading into the second quarter.
Tucker quickly made it 31-9 early in the second quarter and never looked back. Jermontae Hill led the way with 21 points for the Tigers followed by Barrian with 13 and Nate Ogbu and Nick Watson chipping in 10 apiece.
Tucker moves on to the Sweet 16 to host Evans on Thursday, February 21 with the game time tentatively set for 7:00 pm
The Arabia Mountain Lady Rams set up a Sweet 16 rematch with No. 1 ranked Villa Rica (28-0) next week by knocking of Clarke Central (12-12) 47-39 on Saturday afternoon to advance. The Lady Rams were led by Kennedi Manning (11 points, 13 rebounds) and Jordyn Ward (12 points) in the win.
Arabia Mountain (20-5) lost a tough 67-66 game on the road at Villa Rica in the Sweet 16 a year ago and must return there with the chance to move into the quarterfinals.
The Lithonia Bulldogs (19-9) ran past Loganville (15-13) 68-46 to move into the Sweet 16 for the fifth consecutive season. Four players were in double figures led by junior guard Eric Gaines with 25, Justin Myles with 16, Brison Rockcliffe 14 and Zephaniah Corker with 13.
The Columbia Eagles (15-11) had their season cut short by Cedar Shoals (15-13) in a 75-65 defeat on the road.
The Redan Raiders and Cedar Grove Lady Saints seasons came to an end in the first round of the Class 3A state playoffs as both fell in road contests on Saturday.
Cedar Grove (13-11) fell 53-40 to Jefferson (24-3) in the girls’ game. Redan (14-15) came up on the short of a 69-51 score on the road at the hands of Morgan County (25-2).
DCSD FIRST ROUND STATE PLAYOFFS RESULTS
Saturday, Feb. 16
Jefferson (24-3) 53, Cedar Grove (13-11) 40
Arabia Mountain (20-5) 47, Clarke Central (12-12) 39
Morgan Co. (25-2) 69, Redan (14-15) 51
Cedar Shoals (15-13) 74, Columbia (15-11) 65
Lithonia (19-9) 68, Loganville (15-13) 46
Tucker (25-4) 65, Valdosta (12-14) 49
DCSD SECOND ROUND PLAYOFF SCHEUDLE
Wednesday, Feb. 20/Thursday, Feb. 21
Class 6A Girls
Stephenson (18-11) at Glynn Academy (25-4), TBA
Class 5A Girls
Cass (22-7) at Columbia (21-7), TBA
Rome (19-10) at SW DeKalb (22-6), TBA
Arabia Mountain (20-5) at Villa Rica (28-0), TBA
Class 5A Boys
Rome (17-12) at Lithonia (19-9), TBA
Class 3A Boys
Calhoun (16-10) at Cedar Grove (19-7), TBA
Wednesday, Feb. 20
Class 5A Boys
Carrollton (18-10) vs. SW DeKalb (22-6), TBA
Thursday, Feb. 21
Class 6A Boys
Evans (24-4) at Tucker (25-4), 7:00 pm