There may not be a Tennessee Mr. Basketball candidate from the Chattanooga area this season, but the combination of senior guards Marcus Long and Darwin Randolph is extremely tough to beat.
Class AAA's sixth-ranked East Hamilton Hurricanes love the pair of playmakers who have combined to average 36 points, 12 assists and a dozen rebounds per game this season, helping their team to a 15-3 overall record and a 10-2 mark in District 5-AAA.
"Darwin and Marcus have worked extremely hard to get where they are," East Hamilton coach Andy Webb said. "No one has worked harder in the classroom (both have 3.6 GPAs) and on the court. They play both ways and get after it defensively, too. They are both winners, and you want them to have the ball in their hands at the end of the game."
The Hurricanes were electric as they gave the home crowd a show in the first quarter of Thursday's 52-26 district win over Bradley Central, with Jordan Harris and Jaxon Flemmons tossing perfect alley-oop passes off the backboard for dunks by Cade Pendleton and Randolph. Meanwhile, Harris knocked down a 3-pointer along with Haynes Eller, who added two blocked shots. Long also stole a pass and dunked to help build an 18-5 lead.
Long finished with 17 points, eight rebounds and four assists. Randolph had 12 points, seven assists and four steals.
"Our kids are very mature and senior led," Webb added of a team that had all five starters named to the all-district regular-season team. "We did a great job of setting the tone defensively and turned that into transition buckets. They were really relentless and got the crowd going tonight."
Baylor 71, Rabun Gap 58: The Red Raiders responded from a 28-26 halftime deficit as the guard play of Al Peciulis (24 points), Troy Boynton (20 points) and Robert Morton (14 points) led a high-scoring second half in which Zane Restelli added seven points.
Cleveland 71, Ooltewah 44: Senior guard Kley McGowan scored 23 points and made four 3-pointers to lead the Blue Raiders to a District 5-AAA victory. AJ Hyndman led the Owls with 17 points and made five from beyond the arc.
Boyd Buchanan 48, Silverdale Baptist 47: Freshman standout Ace Bailey hit the winning basket at the buzzer to advance the Buccaneers to the Division II East 2A District championship game. Bailey scored a team-high 14 points, and Ryan Lopez added 12. Silverdale had three scorers in double figures: Owen Neal (15), Sam Bambrey (12) and Cameron Mullins (10).
Polk County 56, Tellico Plains 46: Junior guard Caleb Milen scored 21 points, including 13 on free throws, while adding five assists to help the Wildcats improve to 10-9. They also clinched their fifth straight winning regular season under coach Jon Tucker, who improved to 3-2 all-time in games against his dad, Tellico Plains coach David Tucker.
Sequatchie County 52, Grundy County 43: Ella Edgmon scored a game-high 18 points and had five steals, and Dylan Belk had 14 points, 11 rebounds, six steals and three blocks to lead the Lady Indians to victory.
A late Thursday night rally by Sonoraville came up just short at the GHSA state traditional tournament in Macon.
The Phoenix, the 2020 Class AAA champions, started the night with an individual championship win by Eli Knight at 132 pounds and trailed North Hall by two points and second-place Rockmart by a half-point midway through the consolation and championship finals. Third-place finishes from Davin O'Neal (145 pounds) and Gavin Harper (182) helped the effort, but a 7-5 loss by Jebb Knight (195) kept them within four points.
Jaxx Knight then won the 285-pound title with a pin over previously undefeated Adam Lamar from Central Macon to briefly put Sonoraville in first place. Rockmart, however, used a pair of third-place finishes at 220 and 285 to win the title, 202.5 points to 197 for Sonoraville and 194 for North Hall.
Also in Class AAA, LaFayette's Avery Sullivan was the 132-pound runner-up, with Karson Ledford third at 152. Coahulla Creek's Adonis Sanchez and Jesus Sanchez netted fourth-place finishes, as did Sonoraville's Colt Weaver and Zac McAfee.
In Class AAAA, Four northwest Georgia wrestlers made the championship round, including at 220 pounds, where Region 7 rivals Zach Brown from Heritage and Southeast Whitfield's Jose Leon will meet for the title. Southeast has another finalist in 126-pound Riso Webb, while Northwest Whitfield will be represented in the title round by Daiman Banta at 195 pounds.
Northwest, currently tied for sixth place with region foe Central-Carroll at 77 points, has seven wrestlers alive in the consolation bracket. Southeast, in eighth place with 73 points, has three in the consolations, while Heritage, in 10th with 61 points, has five alive in the consolation bracket and gives Region 7 four top-10 teams.
Jefferson is running away with the team title with 231 points, well ahead of North Oconee with 129. The quarterfinal and semifinal rounds of consolation competition will begin at 7 p.m. Friday, followed by the third-place matches and the championships.
In Class AAAAAA, Dalton's Hunter Noland, a 2020 individual champion, is in the finals at 145 after the first day of competition for the Catamounts and their classification. David Garcia (170) and Stryker Woods (220) lost in the semifinal round and remain alive in the consolation bracket. Like Class AAAA, the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds of consolation competition will begin at 7, followed by the third-place matches and the championships.
Compiled by Patrick MacCoon and Lindsey Young. Contact MacCoon at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @PMacCoon. Contact Young at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @youngsports22.