GHSA STATE TOURNAMENT ROUNDUP: Randolph-Clay, Pelham boys advance; Westover, Dougherty, Calhoun, Early boys -- and Americus girls -- dropped in opening round

Photo by Scott Chancey

Photo by Scott Chancey

CUTHBERT -- Some said it could take years to restore the winning tradition for Randolph-Clay boys basketball left behind when legendary coach Joe Williams retired in 2008.

But new coach Oglesby Jackson appears on his way to doing it in a little less than a season.

The Red Devils won their GHSA Class A State Tournament opener Saturday night, 62-56, against Jenkins County to advance to the Sweet 16 on Wednesday on the road against Greenville, which beat Bacon County in Saturday's other semifinal.

"We're just proud as a team and proud for Red Devil Nation," said Jackson, a former Williams assistant coach who took over a 5-5 team in turmoil midseason last year and began to lay the foundation to turn things around. "The win is nice, but we just have to take it one game at a time from here."

Timothy Stringer-Davis led the Red Devils with 16 points, followed by 14 each from Shaquille Nunnally and Alkawan Sullivan.

Randolph-Clay actually trailed, 24-23, at halftime, but turned up the pressure in the second half.

"Their big man (6-foot-8 Tyrone Brown) was causing problems for us, so we had to start attacking him down low and their guards and creating some turnovers," Jackson said. "Dejuan Gilbert did a great job doing that. Brown fouled out before the game was over, so defense is what saved us in the second half."



PELHAM -- The Pelham boys basketball team is just going to have to do what the girls team couldn't.

One night after the No. 1 seed Lady Hornets were stunned at home in the GHSA Class A State Tournament opener by Emanuel County Institute, the Hornets put the "Boom!" back in the programs' slogan, "P-Town, Boom!" when they went on the road and upset No. 2 seed Portal in the first round.

Pelham advances to play Wednesday against the winner of Saturday's other opening-round game between Wilcox County and Brookstone.

Darius Thomas and Dominique Brown led the way with 14 points each as the Hornets grabbed the lead late in the fourth quarter by six points and never gave it back.



The Patriots' season came to an end Saturday night against a solid WACO team that Westover coach Dallis Smith said "outhustled us all night."

"We had a bad shooting night and the second half it just got away from us," said Smith, whose team ends the season in disappointing fashion with a 17-10 record. "Washington County was tough, but I thought this was a game we should've won."

Early on, it looked like the Patriots would. They jumped out to an 11-0 lead, but couldn't hold it, despite a game-high 21 points from Dequan Green and 15 from Herald Super 6er Malcolm Sapp.

Green, a junior, will be back, but Sapp -- one of five seniors who contributed heavily for the Patriots this season -- saw his high school career end Saturday.

"I just told the young guys that I was glad they got to experience being in a game like this and that I hoped it was something we would learn from going forward," Smith said. "And I told the seniors that I appreciated their effort all year and all that they gave us. Now, we just need to go and get ready and work hard this summer (so this doesn't happen again)."

Westover loses Joseph Harrell, Trent Brown, Anthony Melvin, Shenard Childs and Sapp.



Shortly before the Patriots got beat by WACO's boys, Americus-Sumter's girls also fell in a girls-boys doubleheader.

The Lady Panthers' season ends at 19-6 overall as they went from No. 2 seed in the region tourney to having to settle for No. 4 after losing both games of the tournament.

But coach Evelyn Wright said there was much to be proud of in 2010-11.

"I told the girls they gave a good fight and we played well with them for a half," said Wright, whose team was down by only four at halftime, before getting blown out in the second half. "But we've come a long ways. We won 19 games this year and we only won seven last year, so I'm proud of what we accomplished. Just came up a little short."



Calvary Day beat Calhoun's boys, 89-65, in Class A; Early County's boys lost to Swainsboro, 67-51, in Class AA; and Butler's boys beat Dougherty, 51-48, in Class AAA . Attempts by The Herald to reach each team's head coach on the road were unsuccessful.