ALPHARETTA, Ga. – The Alpharetta Raiders captured the Region 6-AAAAAA boys’ basketball championship on their home court last Saturday, Feb. 16, leading a 1-2-3 finish in the tournament for North Fulton schools.
The Raiders defeated Chattahoochee 79-70 in the title game. Centennial took third place with a 60-48 victory over Lambert. All four teams will play in the state tournament, which begins Wednesday, Feb. 20.
First round winners will play Saturday, with the games hosted by the higher-seeded team.
Alpharetta (19-9) and Chattahoochee (21-7) tied for first in the region with 12-2 records, with the Cougars seeded first in the tournament thanks to their two regular season wins over the Raiders.
In the championship game, Alpharetta jumped out to a 26-12 lead after the first period, and still led by 12 before the Cougars closed within two points late in the third quarter.
The Cougars again pulled within two of the Raiders three times in the final period, but a trio of three-pointers by Connor Ramsey and Carlos Burse answered Chattahoochee scores.
Ramsey hit five three-pointers in the game and led the Raiders with 23 points, while Burse connected on all three of his three-pointers in the second half and scored 21. The two combined for 29 points in the second half.
Ty Toney added 13 for the Raiders and Bjorn Walker scored all 12 of his points in the first half and was strong inside following his recent return from injury.
The Cougars played without injured Trey Archambeau, the team’s primary inside player. Senior guard Carlos Terry led Chattahoochee with 27 points, but was hounded all over the floor by Alpharetta’s defense.
Marcus Sheffield scored 15 of his 21 points in the second half for the Cougars, with Jordan Wilkins contributing 11 points and Jordan Turman nine.
In the third place game, the Knights got 23 points from Will Perry, including 11 in the opening period, as Centennial took a 17-7 lead. The Knights (17-11) tied Lambert for third in the region at 10-4 and were seeded fourth in the tournament.
In the semifinals, Alpharetta coasted past Lambert 75-53, and Chattahoochee held off Centennial 54-48.
Toney scored 30 for the Raiders, while Burse added 17 points and Walker 11. Burse and Walker also combined for 18 rebounds.
The Chattahoochee-Centennial game slowed down considerably when both teams went to zone defenses after the Cougars took a 19-15 lead at the end of the opening period. Centennial outscored Chattahoochee 10-3 in the third quarter to take a 33-32 lead, but Terry hit a three-pointer midway through the fourth to put the Cougars ahead, and scored again seconds later to give Chattahoochee the lead for good.
Terry scored 20 points and Sheffield 17 for the Cougars, who also got two key late free throws from Turman and a clinching basket in the final minute from Wilkins.
In the opening round, Alpharetta easily defeated Johns Creek 70-41, Chattahoochee struggled to get past No. 8 seed West Forsyth 47-42 and Centennial won 48-37 over North Forsyth.
Toney had 12 points, 11 assists, eight rebounds and five steals for the Raiders, with Burse leading the scoring with 18.
Terry scored 30 of the Cougars’ 47 points, with Chattahoochee trailing by eight points at the half and tied with the Wolverines heading to the final period.
In Wednesday’s first round state playoff games, Alpharetta hosts Collins Hill (17-11) and Chattahoochee is at home against Meadowcreek (10-17), which upset state-ranked North Gwinnett in the first round of the Region 7-AAAAAA tournament, then beat Collins Hill in the third place game
Centennial plays Wednesday, Feb. 20, at Peachtree Ridge (19-9).
If Alpharetta defeats Collins Hill, the Raiders will play either Roswell (17-11) or Berkmar (16-12). The Raiders reached the semifinals of the state tournament last year.
Chattahoochee would play at Region 5 champion Wheeler (18-8) or be at home against Dacula (19-9). Centennial would likely play at Region 8 champion Shiloh (22-6) if the Knights knock off Peachtree Ridge.
Lady Raiders capture another region title
Smith, Brown lead team into state tournament
By MIKE BLUM
ALPHARETTA, Ga. – The Alpharetta Lady Raiders captured a second straight region championship at home last Saturday night, Feb. 16, fighting off a challenge from North Forsyth to score a 35-27 victory in the 6-AAAAAA title game.
The Raiders, who defeated North Forsyth 38-27 in last year’s championship game, went undefeated in region play for a second straight season. Alpharetta won all 14 region games and added three tournament wins to take a 24-4 record into the state playoffs.
Alpharetta was scheduled to host Duluth (18-10) on Tuesday, Feb. 19. If the Raiders win, they would play at home on Friday against seventh-ranked Woodstock (21-7) or Central Gwinnett (18-10).
North Forsyth gave the Raiders a battle, scoring the last seven points of the second quarter to take a 16-15 halftime lead and led by six until Alpharetta made a run late in the third period.
The game was tied 23-23 after three quarters, but the Raiders held North Forsyth scoreless for more than four minutes to start the final period, and did not allow a field goal in the fourth quarter.
North Forsyth, which played very deliberately on offense against Alpharetta’s aggressive man-to-man defense, was scoreless for the first six minutes of the second period before taking the lead with a late 7-0 burst.
The Raiders struggled offensively against North Forsyth’s zone, managing just one field goal in the second period and four baskets in the second half. At least half the team’s field goals came in transition following turnovers.
Region Player of the Year Kylee Smith did not make a field goal for Alpharetta, but went nine of 14 at the foul line. Lauren Brown had three of the team’s four second-half baskets and scored 11 points, including two clutch fourth quarter field goals, both on assists from Smith.
Vas Perry had the other second-half basket for the Raiders, a three-pointer to tie the game late in the third period.
Alpharetta won its first two games in the tournament handily. Smith scored 18 points and Brown 17 as the Raiders rolled past South Forsyth 63-38 in the semifinals. Smith and Brown outscored Johns Creek in the opening round, netting 35 and 21 points respectively in a 76-51 victory.
The Raiders, ranked fifth in AAAAAA, have lost in the second round of state each of the last two years. If they win their first two games, No. 1-ranked North Gwinnett (25-1) awaits in the third round. North Gwinnett defeated Alpharetta 76-50 in January.