Westwood, Crisp girls and Deerfield boys open state today as teams to beat
No one was sure the last time Westwood won a region title following the Lady Wildcats’ win over the weekend against Terrell Academy.
But Westwood’s girls aren’t that worried that no one can remember — because they plan on winning state and starting some history of their own.
Led by Morgan Singleton’s double-double (20 points, 11 rebounds), Westwood cruised to the region title, 70-36, and now enters today’s GISA Class AA state tournament as a No. 1 seed and one of the favorites to win it all.
Westwood (19-3) comes in on a 15-game winning streak and will face Covenant in the first round today, while just up the road in Cordele, the Crisp Academy girls and Deerfield boys will be favorites to win the titles in A and AAA, respectively.
Crisp (23-2) has won 19 in a row, as well as the past two state titles. The Lady Wildcats will open today Nat Greene.
Deerfield’s boys are 21-3 and winners of 16 in a row. The Knights open Thursday against Weber.
The Class A state basketball rankings came out Tuesday, and barring a last-minute appeal, eight local teams have qualified for the state playoffs.
Teams have 24 hours to appeal the rankings, which are based on records and strength of schedule.
To no one’s surprise, The Herald No. 1-ranked Randolph-Clay girls team finished as the top-ranked team in the state and will be at home in the playoffs until the Final Four. Mitchell County, which finished second to Randolph-Clay in the Region 1-A tournament, are ranked ninth. Only the region champions and top 16 teams qualify for the playoffs, and the Seminole County girls (No. 14) and the Calhoun County girls (No. 15) will both make the playoff, barring an appeal from a team ranked below No. 16.
The Terrell County boys team is hoping no one appeals the boys rankings. The Greenwave are ranked No. 16. Mitchell County’s boys, who have been ranked No. 2 for weeks, hung onto the No. 2 spot despite losing to Seminole County Indians in the Region 1-A title game. Seminole enters the playoffs at home as the region champ and No. 4 team in the rankings. Randolph-Clay, which was ranked 20th three weeks ago, climbed all the way to No. 12 to make the playoffs.
WOODLAND GIRLS 73, AMERICUS-SUMTER 67: Americus seniors Kayla Bowens and Kahler Fletcher combined for 41 points, but it wasn't enough in Tuesday's opening round game of the Class AAAA state tournament.
The Lady Panthers pulled to within three points in the final minutes after falling behind 38-24 at halftime but came up short to end the season with an 18-8 record.
Bowens led Americus with 22 points, while Fletcher added 19 points and seven rebounds. Dekayla Blackshear, a junior, added 14 points for the Lady Panthers.
MCINTOSH GIRLS 76, LEE COUNTY 41: The Lady Trojans couldn't stop red-hot McIntosh in the second quarter on Tuesday and never recovered in the Class AAAAA state opener.
McIntosh, the No. 2 seed out of Region 4-AAAAA, outscored Lee County 27-14 in the second quarter to extend its lead to 19 points at halftime.
"In the second quarter we just didn't execute like we needed to," Lee County coach Tondra Davis said. "They are a great, fundamentally sound team. They hit 3 after 3 after 3 in the second quarter even after we changed up to man-to-man defense. It got away from us there, and from then on we were playing catch-up."
Briana Scott, one of three Lee County seniors, led the way with 16 points. Other seniors playing their final game for the Lady Trojans, who ended the season with 8-20 overall record, were Paiton Cromer and Nicole Polk.