3 of 4 Cobb Teams Through to State Title Games in Macon


This past weekend was a busy time for playoff basketball as the Final Four rounds were being played all around the state. Four Cobb teams participated and three advanced to the 5A and 7A Finals in Macon later this week.

Despite a 14-0 run in the first half, the McEachern Indian ladies could not slow Brookwood in their Final Four appearance at Georgia State on Saturday. Taking a four-point lead into halftime, 25-21, the Lady Indians needed answers for the Brookwood offense. Juniors Kalise Hill and Jada Bates combined for 37 points, but the Broncos had the edge in the second half. The Indians fell to Brookwood, 58-53, ending a remarkable season just one game short of the Big One. The Lady Indians will have the majority of their starters back next season and should be an early favorite for title contention. Great season, Lady Indians and Coach Phyllis Arthur!

On Friday night, the Kell Longhorns had both their girls and boys teams in the 5A Final Four round held at University of West Georgia. The Lady Longhorns ended Maynard Jackson's season, by handing them their first loss of 2023. The Jackson gameplan was to key on Kell's Crystal Henderson, which was effective in the first half. Henderson scored only a single basket in the first half, which was good news for Jackson. The bad news was that doubling, and sometimes tripling up on Henderson, left Jada Green and Jamiah Gregory largely uncovered. The two combined for 11 points in the first half, more than half on Kell's total of 19. Green and Gregory were tough on the defensive end as well, holding the Region 5 champ Jaguars to a dismal 12 points in the first two quarters.

Henderson came alive in the second half, scoring 20 points. The stingy Longhorn defensive effort remained, allowing only 9 Jaguar points in the third quarter. It was all-Longhorns in the final two quarters, extending their lead to nineteen points before the final buzzer mercifully ended it for Jackson, 56-37. If there were any doubts that the Lady Longhorns are in it to win it, this Final Four performance should erase them. These girls are on a 13-game win streak and show no signs of letting up. They will now face Warner Robins in the 5A state title game in Macon on Thursday. The last time these girls were in Macon was in 2020, losing a heartbreaker to Buford for state runner-up. They have no intentions of bringing home a second-place trophy this year.

"We did not have our best game offensively Friday, but fortunately we played good defense," said Head Coach Kandra Bailey. "Warner Robins is a very good team so we will need to be clicking on all cylinders Thursday. They have been very successful all season, so I know it will be a great game."

The Kell boys are in a similar position. Having lost only two games this season, the Longhorns are on a 14-game win streak and also headed to the 5A state title game in Macon. They will face an extremely talented Eagle's Landing team, a game that will likely be the highlight of the state tournament. The Eagles are 30-1 and ranked second in the state, while the Longhorns are 26-2 and ranked third. The Eagles only loss came at the hands of Dutchtown in late January, a team that the Longhorns eliminated from the state tournament last week with a dominant final quarter. Eagle's Landing will be a much tougher assignment though.

To get to Macon, the Longhorns had to get through the Chapel Hill Panthers, a game that was really never in doubt for the fans at UWG. A very low-scoring second quarter for both teams allowed the Panthers to fight back to within three points at halftime, 22-19. Kell's big man, 7-footer Peyton Marshall, sat the entire second period with two fouls. Marshall's presence was welcomed in the third as Kell took command of the game, outscoring Chapel Hill 17-3 in the quarter, widening the Longhorn lead to 17 points, 39-22. The Longhorn dominance continued in the fourth, and the game ended with a lopsided Kell victory, 54-33. CJ Brown was the top scorer for Longhorns with 23 points, including back-to-back jams in the fourth.

"Our guys adjusted well in the second half of the game," said Head Coach Jermaine Sellers. "We were able to lock in defensively which led to some easy offense. The key for Thursday is to get off to a better start defensively and our half-court execution."


Another team that adjusted well in the second half was the Wheeler Wildcats. After leading the Grayson Rams in the first quarter, the Wildcats let Grayson creep back into the game and tie the score (27-27) at halftime in their 7A Final Four matchup. Acting head coach Darnell Shepherd trusted his team to outlast the Ram push in the third quarter. The teams spent a large part of the quarter on the foul line as the refs called an even game—albeit a tight one—to prevent momentum and emotion swings in such an important moment for both sides. Wheeler gained a slim two-point lead heading into the fourth, which will henceforth be known as the Ricky McKenzie quarter. After a relatively quiet first three quarters, McKenzie came to life in the fourth, dropping ten points late in the game to secure the Wildcat victory, 67-55. The dynamic duo of USC-committed Arrinten Page and Isaiah Collier combined for 38 points to reserve their third Finals appearance in four years.


"We've been fighting adversity all season," said Coach Shep after the game. "Hats off to our kids for continuing to fight and getting the win. We have a very strong leadership with our seniors, starting with Naismith Player of the Year, Isaiah Collier. They make playing and coaching a lot of fun. It's easy to get buy-in when everyone is playing for the same goal of a state championship."

"At Wheeler, if you don't win a championship you had a bad year. With that level of expectation and pressure, our guys seems to thrive. We're looking forward to representing Holt Road in a positive manner!" Coach Shep said in conclusion.

375 Holt Road (Wheeler's address) will be represented by the Wildcats in the 7A state title game in Macon this Saturday evening. They will be facing a familiar opponent, fellow Region 5 rival Cherokee. The Warriors enter the game on a four-game win streak and 25-6 overall record. Cherokee lost only three Region games this season, and all three came from the Wildcats. Any coach will tell you that it's difficult to beat a team four teams in a season, much less three, but Wheeler will be ready. Coach Thompson will be back on the sidelines and Cobb basketball fans can expect a show from these talented senior leaders, now on a 17-game win streak. Get your tickets for all the Macon games here.

Good luck Longhorns and Wildcats! We'll see you in Macon...