ALPHARETTA, Ga. – After winning the Region 6-AAAAAA championship in overtime against Lambert, Alpharetta drew a first round state playoff game at home Feb. 21 against the No. 4 team from 8-AAAAAA.
The Raiders were unable to turn home court advantage into a victory, losing 60-52 to Dacula. The Falcons took the lead at 4-3 and never trailed again. They led by as many as 15 points early in the fourth quarter, and the Raiders got no closer than six after that.
Alpharetta finished 21-8. Had the Raiders won, they would have hosted Norcross, the 2013 and 2011 state champion, in the second round.
The Raiders trailed 25-21 at the half, struggling offensively as Dacula frustrated 6-foot-6 junior Devontae Cacok, Alpharetta’s primary scoring threat. Cacok managed just one field goal and four points in the first half.
By the time Cacok got going offensively in the final period, when he scored 12 of his 21 points, it was too late. The Falcons closed out the third quarter with three straight three-pointers to stretch a three-point lead to 12.
Dacula hit another three-pointer to open the final period, and connected on 12 of 13 free throws to stave off the Raiders’ rally.
Bryan Roberts and Afam Maduka both connected on three three-pointers for the Raiders, with Roberts scoring 12 points and Maduka 11.
Alpharetta defeated regular season champion Lambert 65-55 in the region tournament finals earlier last week. Cacok scored 18 points, and Roberts, Mafuka and Mark Eze added 13 points each, with Mafuka hitting a late three-pointer to send the game into overtime.
The Raiders were one of four North Fulton teams to lose in the first round of the AAAAAA tournament Saturday, Feb. 22.
Milton lost 49-36 at Norcross, with the Blue Devils breaking open a close game with an 11-1 run in the fourth quarter. No Milton player scored more than eight points, with the Eagles limited to 11 points in the first half.
The Eagles (18-10) finished third in the Region 5-AAAAAA tournament, losing 66-65 in the semifinals when Walton scored a basket with less than one second on the clock. A victory would have given Milton a home game in the first round against a lesser opponent.
Johns Creek gave Region 8-AAAAAA champion Berkmar a battle, losing 49-40. The Gladiators trailed by 16 points before a 14-3 run in the third quarter pulled them within five late in the fourth quarter.
Eli Smiley scored 10 points and Wesley Anderson added nine for the Gladiators, who made their first appearance in the state playoffs.
Chattahoochee also lost in the first round, falling to Shiloh 80-54. The Cougars, who took third in the 6-AAAAAA tournament, were within 13 points after three quarters, but Shiloh began the fourth period on a 7-0 run to pull away. Marcus Sheffield had 25 points for the Cougars and Avery Ward scored 15.
Blessed Trinity reached the second round in AAA with a 56-41 victory over Hart County. The Titans played at Buford in the second round earlier this week.
Revue and News 02-26-14