Tucker's Khayri Dunn (11) goes in for a layup following a steal during first half action of the Tigers' 72-40 Class 5A boys' state playoff win over Jonest County on Saturday. (Photo by Mark Brock)

Tucker’s Khayri Dunn (11) goes in for a layup following a steal during first half action of the Tigers’ 72-40 Class 5A boys’ state playoff win over Jonest County on Saturday. (Photo by Mark Brock)

A 21-1 opening quarter by the Tucker Tigers put them on the way to a convincing 72-40 Class 5A boys’ Sweet 16 victory over the Jones County Greyhounds at Tucker on Saturday afternoon.

It was a big reversal of last year’s meeting at Tucker in the same round of the state playoff in which the Greyhounds won 64-50 on the way to the state semifinals.

Tucker looked locked in at the very start to not let the Greyhounds win for a second year in a row reeling off 21 points in the opening frame behind a big nine points by center Jamar Graham who hit two three-pointers including one on the opening possession to get the Tigers (23-5) off and running.

Jakobe Williams also hit a pair of three-pointers and guard Khayri Dunn put the exclamation point on the opening quarter with a buzzer beating pull up jumper to make it 21-1 heading into the second quarter.

Tucker doubled their point total in the second quarter led by Josiah Lawson’s 10 points. Lawson hit back-to-back three-pointers in a 29-second span to keep things rolling as part of a 12-0 run. Dunn added six points in the period as the Tigers rolled into the half u 42-12.

Kaden Douglass had a big third for Jones (19-10), hitting for 10 points, but the Tigers tacked on 19 more behind the play of Corde Neyland (5 points) including an emphatic one-handed jam following a steal by Dunn. Williams and Lawson both had four points in the period to join in on the scoring.

Tucker took a 61-30 lead into the fourth period and cruised in for the win.

Lawson finished with 16 points and five rebounds to lead the Tigers with Dunn adding 14 while Williams and Graham each had 12 points. Jaden Stanley led Jones with 13 points and Douglass finished with 12.

Tucker moved on to the Elite Eight to host Maynard Jackson (20-8), 67-64 victor over Greater Atlanta Christian on Saturday. The game is set for 6:00 pm on Wednesday.

Tucker head coach James Hartry keeps edging closer to 500 wins as he collected his 487th career victory (487-205 overall).

Class 2A Boys
The Columbia Eagles held off a late surge by the North Cobb Christian Eagles for a 62-58 Class 2A boys’ road playoff win on Saturday afternoon to advance to the Elite Eight next week.

Trailing 15-13 after the first quarter Columbia (27-3) scored 21 second half points behind a 10-point output by Trevian Callaway to go into the half up 34 to 22.

Columbia held North Cobb Christian (20-7) to single digits once again in the third quarter to extend their lead to 46-30. Callaway added five more points to his total for the game and Quay Wallce added four more points for Columbia.

North Cobb Christian began its surge to close the gap behind Brock Bass-Bonner’s 13 points and five more from Xavier Butler.

Wallace helped stave off the rally by scoring 11 points in the final period and Callaway hit three of six from the line to aid the cause.

Wallace finished with 22 points to lead all scorers and Callaway was right behind with 21 points for Columbia. Bass-Bonner finished with 21 points to lead North Cobb Christian and Butler added 13.

Columbia goes on the road again next Wednesday with a trip to Macon to face Southwest (18-8), a 46-40 winner over Sumter County on Saturday. The game time is set for 6:00 pm at Southwest Macon.

Columbia head coach Phil McCrary is now sitting at 722 career victories (722-243).

Saturday, Feb. 24
Class 5A Boys
Tucker (23-5) 72, Jones Co. (19-10) 40
Class 2A Boys
Columbia (27-3) 62, North Cobb Christian (20-7) 58

Tuesday, Feb. 27
Class 5A Girls
Dalton (20-9) at Arabia Mountain (27-2), 6:00 p m
Class 2A Girls
Central Macon (25-4) at Columbia (24-5), 6:00 pm

Wednesday, Feb. 28
Class 5A Boys
Maynard Jackson (20-8) at Tucker (23-5), 6:00 pm
Class 2A Boys
Columbia (27-3) at Southwest Macon (18-8), 6:00 pm