This state playoff thing is starting to be commonplace for Harlem High School athletic teams.
In baseball, of course, the Bulldogs have, for decades, been a fixture in the Georgia High School Association state playoffs, and last fall Harlem's football team made its second straight trip to state.
Maybe there's something in the water, because now the Bulldogs' basketball team has punched a state playoff ticket.
Second-year coach Kim Chambers has taken the Dogs from a four-win season a year ago and challenged for a Region 3-AAA championship this season. Harlem came up just short in the region title game last weekend with a loss to the Laney Wildcats.
Laney had the luxury of playing on its home court, and that was enough of an advantage to top Harlem 62-51. Domonique Brown paced the Bulldogs with 15 points, but poor outside shooting and foul problems were too much for Harlem to overcome.
Finishing second, however, and earning a state playoff bid was a nice consolation prize.
In first-round playoff action this Saturday at Effingham County High School, Harlem will square off with Liberty County, the No. 3 seed from Region 2-AAA. If Harlem can come out with a win, the Bulldogs would advance to second-round playoff action at the Augusta State University Athletic Complex next week.
Panthers, Pack nearly pull upsets
Both the Lakeside and Greenbrier high school basketball teams came very close to earning state playoff berths last week.
As the No. 8 seed in Region 3-AAAA, the Panthers had to take on Glenn Hills in a region play-in game just to secure a spot in the region tournament. Lakeside squeezed by the Spartans 67-64.
Lakeside's reward was facing perennial power Statesboro High School in a first-round region playoff game last week at Glenn Hills High School.
The Blue Devils were in search of their fifth consecutive region crown, but the Panthers didn't back down. Statesboro, however, beat Lakeside 65-50 to end the Panthers' season.
Greenbrier, meanwhile, came close to sending retiring coach Danny Black out in style. The Wolfpack had No. 2 seed Butler on the ropes in first-round region playoff action Thursday, but Butler managed to survive with a 74-71 victory.
May has hot start
The Augusta State University baseball team is off to a great start on the diamond, as the Jaguars improved their record to 9-2 following a three-game sweep of Frances Marion last weekend.
One of the key reasons for the Jags' early success has been the hot bat of former Harlem baseball standout Matt May. The ASU left fielder leads the team with 17 base hits and a .531 batting average. Also, May struck out only once in his first 32 at-bats.
The left-handed junior, and his Jaguars, will next be in action this Saturday, when Augusta State plays host to North Florida. The double-header begins at noon, and the teams wrap up the three-game series on Sunday.
May's not the only Columbia County product playing baseball at ASU - Greenbrier graduate Alan Cannell and former Evans star Wes Ward also are on the Jags' roster this season.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.