By Seth Coleman
The Maynard H. Jackson girls will represent Atlanta Public Schools in one of the 14 state championship basketball games hosted in Macon, beginning Thursday, at the Macon Coliseum.
Jackson (30-1) will play for the Georgia High Schools Association Class AAA title against Morgan County (27-3), Saturday, March 5, at 3 p.m. The Lady Jaguars, the Class AAA Region 4 champions, advanced to the state championship game by defeating Beach of Savannah, 72-63, last Saturday at Augusta State University. Jackson held the lead for almost the entire game, and at one point led by as many as 19 points before Beach made a late push.
The Lady Jaguars were led by their senior trio of Erica Gibbons, Kayla Mayfield and Kemiesha Walker. All three have signed to play college basketball: Gibbons at Alabama State University, Mayfield at Tuskegee University and Walker at Eastern Michigan University. A win on Saturday would give Jackson its first state championship in girls basketball.
Morgan County, the Class AAA Region 8 champs, earned its way to the title game with a 65-49 win over Johnson of Savannah. The Lady Bulldogs are led by seniors Alexis “Pumpkin” Brown and Jatariea Bryant, and junior Tatyana Davis.
Both teams will go into the game on long winning streaks. The Lady Jaguars have won 28 games in a row, while Morgan County has won 24 straight. The Lady Bulldogs won the state title in 1983.
The season came to an end over the weekend for the four other APS teams that advanced to the state quarterfinals:
Henry W. Grady (boys)
The Grey Knights, the Class AAAA Region 6 champions, edged Westover (19-12) of Albany, the No. 1 seed from Region 1, 54-52, on Friday at Fort Valley State University to advance to the semifinals. But Grady was defeated Saturday by two-time defending champion Jonesboro, 77-49. The Grey Knights finished the season with an outstanding 28-4 record.
Benjamin E. Mays (girls and boys)
The Mays girls team (22-8), the No. 2 seed from Class AAAAA Region 6, lost a close game to Winder-Barrow (26-6), 51-46, Thursday at Columbus State University. Winder-Barrow, located near Athens, is the No. 4 seed from Region 8, and eventually advanced to the state title game against Southwest DeKalb, the No. 1 seed from Class AAAAA Region 6.
The Mays boys team (13-13), the No. 3 seed from Class AAAAA Region 6, was eliminated, 66-45, in the quarterfinal round by Cedar Shoals (29-3) of Athens, the No. 1 seed from Region 8, last Thursday at Columbus State University.
South Atlanta (boys)
The Hornets (24-6), the No. 3 seed from Class AAA Region 4, defeated Central-Macon (27-3), the No. 1 seed from Region 2, 92-79, on Thursday at Augusta State University. But South Atlanta was eliminated the next day in the semifinals by Morgan County, the Class AAA Region 8 champions, 64-61.