Through the years, the four big Macon private schools have played a number of big-time games against each other in the GISA playoffs.
Come Tuesday, two of those programs will get their first taste of playoff rivalry in the GHSA.
Stratford secured its spot in the GHSA Class A private school quarterfinals with a 43-32 win Saturday over Our Lady of Mercy. The win creates a Stratford-Tattnall matchup Tuesday at Tattnall, with the winner advancing to the semifinals Saturday at Kennesaw State’s Convocation Center.
“That kind of thing happens when you have power ratings,” Stratford head coach Ed Smith said in reference to what will be the teams’ fourth meeting of the season, with the first three games won by Tattnall. “Both teams have had a good season, and Tattnall is the top team right now, deservedly so.
“We’re fortunate to get another chance at them. They are the top team in the region for a reason.”
Stratford (21-6) got off to a quick start against Our Lady of Mercy, opening with an 8-0 run that secured a lead that stood the rest of the way against the Bobcats (17-11).
Our Lady of Mercy, which beat Tattnall in a holiday tournament in December, was counting on 6-foot freshman Morgan Jones to fuel its offense. The team’s top scorer finished with 12 points, but she struggled to find the basket early, hitting just 2-of-9 shots in the first quarter.
Stratford led 15-4 after eight minutes and had a lead that hovered between 10 and 15 points the rest of the way.
“We made some shots early, and we moved well against their zone,” Smith said. “We executed well, hit shots and got things inside.”
Taylor Reese had 17 points and 12 rebounds to pace Stratford.