A 13-3 run to open second fueled a big second half for the No. 7 ranked Cedar Grove Saints on the way to a 61-45 victory over the Douglass Astros at Fort Valley State University on Friday afternoon and into next week’s Class 3A Boys’ State High School Basketball Championship game.
Cedar Grove and Douglass met for the fourth time this season in the with both coming out of Region 5-3A to take the court face-to-face in the Class 3A semifinal. Douglass led 26-24 at the half and
had led for 13 minutes and 54 seconds of the half including 17-9 heading into the second quarter on a 7-0 run that included a big three-pointer by Jacob Mickell.
An offensive put-back by Cedar Grove’s EJ Colson with 2:26 left in the first half tied the game for the first time since it was 2-2 with 6:46 to play in the second quarter. Douglass’s Evan Cambridge got a rebound and drove the length of the floor to give the Astros (16-14) the two-point halftime lead.
Drives to the basket by Jayden Adside and Nathiel Loyd in the first two minutes of the second half put the Saints in the lead for the first time since they scored less than 30 seconds into the game.
Douglass answered on a Gamble three-pointer, his last points of the game, with 5:46 left in third for the Astros’ last lead of the game at 29-28.
Cedar Grove (20-9) reeled off nine unanswered points started by a Darius Reynolds layup. Manny Green drove the baseline after a Douglass turnover to make it 32-29. Adside followed with an old fashioned three-point play and Green got out on a breakaway with a feed from Loyd for a big slam to make it 37-29 with 4:15 to play in the third period.
The Saints finished out the quarter with a 6-1 run as Green fed Loyd and Reynolds on nice passes underneath for layups and then drove to the basket with 13 seconds left to give Cedar Grove a 47-36 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Santel Durham benefitted from a battle for a loose rebound to open the final quarter to pull Douglass within single digits at 47-38, but it would be as close as the Astros would get the rest of the way.
Cedar Grove answered as Green and Adside traded off assists to each other for baskets to make it 51-38 with 3:32 to play. Douglass got a Josh Mickell drive to the basket before answered with a 6-0 spurt that included baskets by Reynolds and Colson sandwiched around an inbounds pass from Adside to Green for another slam as the lead went to 57-40 with 1:55 remaining.
Another basket by Reynolds on an assist from Colson and two free throws by Adside made it 61-42 with 34 seconds left. Douglass’ Jacob Mickell hit a meaningless three-pointer with three seconds to play to make the final of 61-45.
Jayden Adside finished with a game-high 18 points and 5 assists as the Saints put four players in double figures. Joining Adside with double figures were Darius Reynolds with 12 points and 12 rebounds, EJ Colson with 11 points and 6 rebounds and Manny Green with 10 points and 8 rebounds. Cedar Grove outrebounded the Astros 34-25.
Douglas got 11 points from Jacob Mickell and 10 points and 7 rebounds from Eddie Gamble.
The Saints move on to the 3:00 pm Class 3A state title game next Friday (March 10) against No. 2 ranked and fellow Region 5-3A foe Sandy Creek (25-6). It will be the fourth meeting for the foes who also met in the Class 3A football state championship game last fall as the Patriots defeated two-time defending champion Cross Creek 61-44 in the late game at Fort Valley.
DCSD BASKETBALL STATE PLAYOFFS RESULTS
Friday, March 3
CLASS 3A BOYS SEMIFINALS
FORT VALLEY STATE UNIVERSITY, FORT VALLEY
Cedar Grove (20-9) 61, Douglass (16-14) 45
DCSD BASKETBALL STATE PLAYOFFS SCHEDULE
Saturday, March 4
CLASS 2A BOYS SEMIFINALS
GEORGIA COLLEGE AND STATE UNIVERSITY. MILLEDGEVILLE
Columbia (29-1) vs. Westside-Augusta (23-7), 8:00 pm
Friday, March 10
CLASS 3A BOYS CHAMPIONSHIP
MACON COLISEUM, MACON
Cedar Grove (20-9) vs. Sandy Creek (25-6), 3:00 pm