LaFayette got 21 second-half points from Aidan Hadaway on Saturday, helping the Ramblers pull away for a 61-46 win against Oconee County in the opening round of the GHSA Class AAAA boys' basketball state tournament.
Playing without all-region post player Asa Deal due to injury, the Region 6 champion Ramblers (24-2) led just 23-21 at halftime, but Hadaway, who finished with 26 points and 12 rebounds, and DeCameron Porter (17 points, 16 rebounds) made up for Deal's absence with strong second halves.
"It took us a while to find any rhythm," LaFayette coach Hank Peppers said. "In the second half we found better shots, and defensively we did a great job all night. Jalen Ramsey held their leading scorer (Aaron Birston) to three points, and we controlled the boards, which helped us get out in transition to get a few fast-break points."
The Ramblers will host McDonough, a 85-49 winner over Howard, in this week's second round.
Also in GHSA boys' first-round games Saturday, Region 6-AAA tournament champion Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe's magical season ended with a 53-31 loss to Hart County. The Bulldogs (23-5), the regular-season champions out of Region 8 who wound up a No. 4 seed, trailed 11-9 after the first quarter but went ahead in the second and never looked back.
"Their length just really hurt us, and we couldn't get to the rim," said LFO coach Josh Laney, whose team ends its season at 23-5. "We also didn't do a good job of shooting outside."
Also in AAA, Franklin County edged Calhoun in two overtimes, 65-63. Caleb Boone led the Yellow Jackets (17-11) with 15 points, with Dylan Faulkner adding 12 and Gage Maffetone nine. Murray County (18-8), the classification's at-large bid recipient, was eliminated at Windsor Forest, 79-56.
In addition to LaFayette hosting McDonough in Class AAAA, second-round games involving area boys' teams include Chattooga traveling to Thomasville in Class AA and Christian Heritage hosting Trinity Christian in Class A private.
In girls' action Saturday, Elite Scholars Academy upset Trion, 45-43, in Class A public's first round. The Lady Bulldogs (16-11) were led by Shelby Carlock and Chloe Murdock with 12 and 10 points, respectively.
In second-round girls' games involving area teams, Northwest Whitfield will host McDonough at 6 p.m. Thursday in AAAA, Sonoraville will host Jackson in AAA as Ringgold travels to Rutland, Chattooga visits Early County in AA and Christian Heritage travels to Hebron Christian in Class A private.