High School Sports

Semifinal notebook: Stratford boys run up against familiar opponent

After defeating the team with the most power rating points among GHSA Class A private schools in North Cobb Christian, the Stratford boys basketball team now has to face the No. 1 seed.

The task, pun intended, will be a tall one.

For the second straight season, Stratford will face Greenforest Christian in the Class A Private School Tournament. Coming off Thursday's 67-57 win over North Cobb Christian, the stakes are higher this time: a semifinal matchup this time, as opposed to a quarterfinal game last year.

They meet at 4:45 p.m. on Saturday at Kennesaw State's Convocation Center, with a trip to the Macon Coliseum on the line.

Greenforest Christian, which routed Stratford 66-23 a year ago, is still a team that towers above most opponents, with five players at the same height or taller than Stratford's tallest player, 6-foot-7 Nate Brooks.

This year, however, Stratford has shown more in the way of scoring balance. No longer is Quintez Cephus, who scored a program-record 53 points in the first round of last season's Class A Private School Tournament, carrying the load by himself. O'Showen Williams has put together some big scoring nights, including a 28-point effort against North Cobb Christian, while James Mitchell has emerged as a strong 3-point shooter.

Greenforest Christian is looking to complete a sweep of the three Macon schools that made the Class A Private School Tournament. The team opened with a 78-40 win over FPD and followed that up Thursday with a 78-48 win over Tattnall Square. Justin Forrest scored 25 points against FPD and 26 against Tattnall.


Granted, any team still playing is on some sort of a hot streak, but Wayne County is a bit hotter than Veterans.

The Yellow Jackets enter Saturday's quarterfinal against the Warhawks on a 14-game winning streak, two wins more than Veterans.

Wayne County (25-5) hasn't lost since falling 47-46 to visiting Brunswick on Jan. 12, the second time the Pirates topped Wayne County this season. The Yellow Jackets have six wins of 10 points or fewer since then, including 38-35 over West Laurens -- a Region 2-AAAA rival of Veterans -- in the first round.

Wayne County won the Region 3-AAAA regular-season with a 12-0 record -- as did Veterans in Region 2-AAAA -- and is 3-0 on neutral courts. The Yellow Jackets' other losses were to Class AAAAAA Camden County twice and Class AAAAA Coffee.

Tania Ward, a 5-7 senior guard, had 17 points in the win over Bainbridge while Amiah Height, a 5-10 senior forward, added 16. Height missed a chunk of the season with an injury.

Wayne County, located northwest of Brunswick in Jesup, lost only one starter from last year's team, which finished second in the region tournament and lost 43-39 to Mt. Zion of Jonesboro in the first round.