The Cedar Grove Saints state playoff run came to an end in the Class 3A State Championship game as a poor shooting night led to a runaway Sandy Creek 66-38 win in the Macon Coliseum on Friday afternoon.
Cedar Grove was playing nip and tuck with the No. 2 ranked Patriots leading 14-13 after the first quarter before an 0-8 from the field second quarter turned the game in favor of Sandy Creek. The Saints never recovered after trailing 31-14 at the half.
Sandy Creek (26-6) outscored the Saints 18-0 in the second period to take control of the game led by Amari Brown (6 points) and P.J. Green (5 points). The Patriots also outrebounded the Saints 11-3 in the second period, including three on the offensive end.
Green hit a three-pointer with 21 seconds left to go up 31-14 at the half. The Saints finished the half shooting just 6 of 19 from the field, all six made baskets in the first quarter.
Cedar Grove put up 12 points in the third quarter with Darius Reynolds getting the opening basket of the half. From that point on the Saints would go 3 for 15 while Sandy Creek while Sandy Creek went 6 for 15, including three-pointers by Vic Newsom (2) and Green (1). Newsom would add two more baskets to push the lead to 45-22.
Another tough start in the fourth quarter for Saints (0-6 in the first four minutes) led to a 11-0 run by the Patriots for a 58-26 advantage with 3:51 to play. Smith started and ended the run with dunks for Sandy Creek.
Sophomore EJ Colson ended the drought with his three with 3:26 remaining and freshman Emmanuel Green followed with a drive and reverse layup as the Saints got a couple of quick scores after turnovers.
Cedar Grove’s Camron Ferguson got a dunk off a steal to end the scoring.
The game looked promising in the first quarter as the Saints rallied from an early 5-0 deficit to take the lead. Jeremiah Hardaway got a pair of layups on pinpoint passes from Reynolds under the basket and then Reynolds scored the go-ahead basket on a feed from Jaylen Adside to make it 6-5 with 3:30 left in the quarter.
Green hit a pair of three-pointers and Reynolds added another basket as the Saints led 14-13.
Cedar Grove went a combined 3-23 (13%) in the middle two quarters as Sandy Creek pulled away while hitting 13 of 30. The Saints finished the game at 29.8% (14-47 while the Patriots were 44.1 % (26-59).
Emmanuel Green finished with 11 points and 8 rebounds to lead Cedar Grove while Darius Reynolds had 10 points and 8 rebounds. Micah Smith had 17 points to lead four Sandy Creek players in double figures.
The Saints finished 20-10 on the season after winning just 4-16 a year ago and 18-46 over the previous three seasons with a second- round playoff appearance in 2020. Cedar Grove was making just its second state final appearance having won the Class 2A championship in 1997 88-65 over Greene-Taliaferro.