GHSA BOYS STATE TOURNAMENT: Playoff capsules for Bainbridge, Pelham and Randolph-Clay

Photo by Scott Chancey

Photo by Scott Chancey

Class A

GAME: Region 1-A, No. 3 Pelham (15-14) at Region 2-A, No. 1

Wilcox County (22-2)

WHAT: Sweet 16.

WHEN: 7 p.m. today.

WHERE: Rochelle.

AT STAKE: Winner plays winner of Greenville-Randolph-Clay on Friday at Columbus State at 5:30 p.m.

X-FACTOR: Stopping Wilcox County's Nick Marshall. Marshall, who is headed to UGA next season for football and basketball, is the Patriots' offensive weapon, averaging more than 20 points a game. Pelham doesn't have anyone who can score like Marshall, but they've got three seniors with enough experience on defense to shut Marshall down and also score on offense. The Hornets' Darius Thomas, Dominique Brown and Raymondo Armstrong will be the keys to stopping Marshall and putting points up on the board if Pelham hopes to beat a Wilcox team that has won 12 games in a row.

ANALYSIS: Pelham drove four hours to Portal last week and beat the No. 2 seed. And if the Hornets weren't tired after getting off the bus for that trip, the 90-minute trek to Rochelle should have them feeling even fresher.

COACH SAYS: "They're absolutely loaded. They're very athletic and they shoot the lights outs. But it's mandatory that we rebound and control tempo. We can't get up and down the floor with them the way they run, so we have to play a half-court game and protect the 3-point line. If not, they'll shoot 'em all night and then crash the boards on us."

-- Pelham coach Laron Smith


GAME: Region 1-A, No. 1 Randolph-Clay (19-8) at Region 2-A, No. 1

Greenville (25-3)

WHAT: Sweet 16.

WHEN: 7 p.m. today.

WHERE: Greenville.

AT STAKE: Winner plays winner of Pelham-Wilcox County on Friday at Columbus State at 5:30 p.m.

X-FACTOR: Shaquille Nunnaly stopping Greenville's Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. In a situation quite similar to Pelham's, the key for the Red Devils is stopping another UGA commit in Caldwell-Pope. Terrell County did it last year, but Greenville's not only better this year with the 6-6 Caldwell a year older, but he's averaging close to 30 points a game for the Patriots, who haven't lost since Dec. 30 and haven't been beaten by a Class A game all year. Randolph-Clay will give the defensive assignment to Nunnally and he not only has to contain Caldwell-Pope, but the entire Red Devils defense has to make another player beat them, or else Caldwell-Pope can take over a game.

ANALYSIS: The Red Devils have seen scorers like Caldwell-Pope this year -- Devon Baulkmon of Bainbridge and Robert Carter of Thomasville -- and both times have let them get more than 20 points. And even if that happens again with Pope-Caldwell, someone for the Red Devils needs to have an equally big game, like leading scorer Tim Stringer-Davis (20.9 ppg) or Nunnally (17 ppg average).

COACH SAYS: "Everything on that team goes through (Kentavious) -- and he's a smooth, smooth player. But we've been good at not letting one man beat us this year and I think as long as we contain him, we should be OK. Our key on offense is to make sure our (big guys) get some touches in our half-court game and we don't get into a run-and-gun, helter-skelter game with them."

-- Randolph-Clay coach Oglesby Jackson


Class AAAA

GAME: Region 4-AAAA, No. 2 Lovejoy (23-4) at Region 1-AAAA, No. 1 Bainbridge boys (27-2)

WHAT: Sweet 16.

WHEN: 7 p.m. today.

WHERE: Bainbridge.

AT STAKE: Winner plays winner of Banneker-Fayette County on Friday at Fort Valley State at 8:30 p.m.

X-FACTOR: Devon Baulkmon. It's simple: If Baulkmon, a Super 6er, plays his game that's helped the Bearcats win 24 straight, Bainbridge will make it 25 in a row. Sure, Lovejoy has a 6-8 monster in Justin Tuoyo, but there hasn't been a defense all year that can contain Baulkmon, while Bainbridge's defense has shown it can shut down opposing team's star players one after another. Baulkmon is averaging 20.9 points a game and is also the team's assist and steals leader.

ANALYSIS: Even in a game where Baulkmon is doubled, the Bearcats have not one -- but two or three -- answers. Their names are Rodney Glenn, Rohan Gaines, Shawn Samuels, Ronald Crawford and Jamar Cosby. Each of these guys have had individual big games for The Herald No. 1 Bearcats this season, and can really complement Baulkmon on offense.

COACH SAYS: "I went up to Atlanta last Saturday and watched (Lovejoy play) and they're good. They've got a great shot blocker in (Tuoyo) and they've got a couple good guards and shooters on the wing. It's going to be a challenge for us. They controlled their game from the beginning just like we like to do. We just have to keep playing good defense and keep them out of a full-court game. They're real good in transition, We need to make them play 5-on-5."

-- Bainbridge coach Rickey McCullough