GHSA boys state tournament basketball capsules (includes today's schedule)

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

Class AAA


Seed: Region 1, No. 2.

Record: 24-2.

Opponent: Region 4, No. 3 Spalding.

When/Where: 6 p.m. today, Albany.

What: First round of state playoffs.

Game analysis: Monroe doesn't need to change much -- if anything at all -- to face Spalding, no matter what it brings to the table in Albany tonight. There aren't very many two-loss teams in this year's state tournament seeded any lower than No. 1, so outside of two painful losses to city rival Westover, the Tornadoes haven't been beat, meaning whatever coach Marquis Davis is doing, they should just keep on doing it.

X-factor: Monroe's Robert Arnold. Arguably the best player in Southwest Georgia all season, Arnold can take over a game at any moment and no one is cooler under pressure than he is, winning three games this year in the final seconds by himself from the free-throw line, while averaging 22 points a game.

Coach says: Monroe's Marquis Davis has not spoken to the media since his team's Feb. 5 loss to Westover -- the team's first of the season and the first of two to the Patriots.

If win: Will play the winner of Region 2, No. 1 LaGrange and Region 3, No. 4 West Laurens on Tuesday.



Seed: Region 1, No. 3.

Record: 11-12.

Opponent: Region 4, No. 2 Eagles Landing.

When/Where: 7 p.m. today, Macon.

What: First round of state playoffs.

Analysis: Dougherty has come on as of late, but drawing Eagles Landing in the first round is a tough road to hoe for the Trojans. Eagles Landing barely lost, 48-46, in the Region 4-AAA championship game to South Atlanta -- the team which won the Class AAA state title a year ago. Of course, twice this season, Dougherty lost to one-time state No. 1 Monroe in narrow fashion -- four points both times, in fact. So the one thing that's in the Trojans' favor? Coach Donald Poole knows how to prepare his team to face the big boys.

X-factor: Arabian Williams. Like Robert Arnold at Monroe, Williams can simply take over a game when he wants to -- or has to. In the Region 1-AAA quarterfinals, Williams scored a season-high 31 points against Peach County, then after sitting out the entire first quarter in the boys third-place game against Crisp, Williams came in with his team behind and scored 16 points, swiped two steals, dished out four assists and grabbed a rebound to lead them to a 71-62 win.

Coach says: Dougherty's Poole: "(Eagles Landing) has a good team. They got big guys and we saw them play South Atlanta and lose at the buzzer, but South Atlanta was missing some of their key guys. (As far as whether we think we can beat them), we come to play every game thinking we're going to win. That's our take on basketball -- we're going to win -- and that's what we try to instill in our kids. And if we play together and work together -- we may not have a whole lot of superstars -- but when we're together, we do what we do."

If win: Will play the winner of Region 3, No. 1 Liberty County and Region 2, No. 4 Shaw on Tuesday.



Seed: Region 1, No. 1.

Record: 21-4.

Opponent: Woodland, Henry (17-11) No. 4 seed from Region 4-AAA

When, where: 7 p.m. today at Westover

Analysis: Nobody knows how to come crashing down after an emotional victory like Westover, which beat Monroe three weeks ago by 14 points and then lost four days later at Cairo. So how do the Patriots, who had their biggest emotional win of the year last week in an 80-61 romp over Monroe, handle the day after? Malcolm Sapp (26 points against Monroe in the region title game) needs to get hot early, and Onochie Ochie needs to stay out of foul trouble. Both teams have quick guards, so Shevren Keaton, who is coming off a monster game (19 points), and Anthony Ball will have to be a step faster all night. Chris Wheeler has been as solid as anyone in the county and Westover can count on another big night -- maybe a double-double.

X-Factor: It's the hangover effect of coming back after beating Monroe. You can almost hear coach Dallis Smith bringing up the Cairo letdown over and over this week.

Coach says: Westover's Smith: "I got a chance to see (Woodland) play Saturday, and they're pretty quick,'' Smith said. "They're not a real big team, but we're not a big team, either. This is what you live for -- the state tournament. You play all year to get to this point.''

IF WIN: Will play winner of Region 2, No. 2 Kendrick and Region 3, No. 3 Baldwin on Tuesday.


Class AA

Mitchell County

Seed: Region 1, No. 2.

Record: 15-9.

Opponent: Region 4, No. 3 Greene County.

When/Where: 6 p.m. today, Camilla.

What: First round of state playoffs.

Analysis: The Eagles have won six of their last seven and pushed state No. 4 Thomasville to the brink in the region championship game. The point is, Mitchell has had its ups and down this season (it started the year 1-3), but there aren't many teams in Class AA with more confidence right now -- especially compared to Greene County, which lost five in a row before making an unexpected run in the region tournament.

X-factor: Mitchell County's Kentavius Silas. Silas is the leader of the offense -- and the defense. And as coach Kenneth Harris put it: "Everything runs through him. Silas is the key." And although Silas is known as a scorer and a guy who can get others the ball so they can score, it will actually be Silas' play on defense that could decide this game. The Eagles have played great team defense coming in, but if Silas can dominate on both sides like he's been doing, Greene County could be one-and-done.

Coach says: Mitchell's Harris: "What do we know about Greene County? Well, they're good. They've got a couple of big guys who are 6-foot-3 and their guards are quick and can penetrate. Our keys are simple to stop them: Don't commit turnovers, make our free throws and stay out of foul trouble. When we've done that this year, more often than not we've won."

If win: Will play the winner of Region 2, No. 1 McIntosh Academy and Region 3, No. 4 Dublin on Tuesday.


Class A

Calhoun County

Seed: Region 1, No. 3.

Record: 14-9.

Opponent: Aquinas (19-6), No. 2 seed from Region 4-A.

When, where: 6 p.m. at Aquinas

Analysis: Calhoun is coming off a big win in the consolation game when the Cougars jumped out to a 26-3 start. The Cougars will need the same kind of fast start against an Aquinas team that lost to the No. 1 team in the state, Wilkinson, by only five points (66-61) in the region final. Calhoun needs a big game from senior Knyhiah Zackery, who has led the Cougars all season.

X-Factor: Being on the road against a bigger team will present all kinds of problems for Calhoun, but if the Cougars rebound well they can pull off the upset.

Coach says: Calhoun's Marcus Shaw: "They have size, but we've been playing bigger teams all year so it shouldn't be anything new to us. These guys are really focused, so I think we'll be ready to get the job done.''

If win: Meets the winner of Region 3, No. 1 Claxton and Region 2 and No. 4 Dooly County on Tuesday.


Miller County

Seed: Region 1, No. 4.

Record: 11-12.

Opponent: Wilkinson County (27-0) No. 1 seed from Region 4-A

When, where: 6 p.m. at Wilkinson County

Analysis: Miller couldn't have landed a tougher draw -- the top-ranked team in the state and a team that hasn't lost all year. Will Martin is the leader of this Pirates, and he will obviously have to have a big night, but Miller will have to swarm and get every loose ball and make every shot count against a bigger and quicker and more experienced team.

X-Factor: Anything can happen, and if Martin has a big night and the Pirates hang close all the pressure will shift to Wilkinson, which might take the No. 4 seed lightly. Wilkinson won the region title by only five points.

Coach says: Miller's Tim Martin: We're fighting Goliath. Everybody knows that. It's just our luck. But we will have them pumped up and ready to go. I don't want them to be intimidated. I don't want them to be scared. We've got a decent team to upset somebody.''

If win: Meets the winner of Region 2, No. 3 Turner County and Region 3, No. 2 Calvary Day on Tuesday.


Terrell County

Seed: Region 1, No. 1.

Record: 21-5.

Opponent: Region 4, No. 4 Hancock Central.

When/Where: 6 p.m. today, Dawson.

What: First round of state playoffs.

Game analysis: If the red-hot Greenwave, winners of nine of their last 10 including their fourth consecutive Region 1-A title, cane take down No. 5 state-ranked Lanier like they did last week in the championship game, 10-win Hancock Central should be a breeze for Terrell's talented team.

X-factor: Terrell County's Alre'k Brown. Brown didn't receive the preseason accolades Herald Super 6er Terel Hall did, but he's been playing like he should've. Plus, being that Brown is the only senior on the team and he continues to play each game for his aunt who died earlier this year, his ability to inspire and motivate the Greenwave to march to the state title in his final season will be the difference maker.

COACH SAYS: Terrell's John Davis: "I just told the kids coming into today, you can't pay attention to seedings -- who's No. 1, No. 3, or whatever. You have to look at the program -- not the team -- but the program. And Hancock Central has a great history of always being in the thick of it. And we can't overlook anyone."

If win: Will play the winner of Region 2, No. 2 Greenville and Region 3, No. 3 Metter on Tuesday.