Evans (24-5) vs. Douglas County (25-5) at Columbus State, 5:30 p.m. Friday
The Knights seem to be enjoying their role as the underdog. However, at 24-5, it seems likely that teams must realize by now that the Knights can play. You are not among the final 16 teams in AAAA in Georgia if you cannot.
Tempo will be a key to this game. Douglas County averages nearly 84 points per game and has scored more than 90 points at times. They have topped the century mark on four occasions. In the opening round, Douglas County knocked off a solid Upson-Lee squad 88-71.
The Tigers are led by 6'5 senior guard JuJuan Jones. The athletic wing player poured in 26 points against Upson-Lee and is being recruited by Cincinnati, Georgia Tech and North Carolina State. Jones is regarded as the No. 3 prospect in Georgia and the No. 66 prospect in the nation according to scout.com.
"Jones is an athlete that can take it to the hole or hurt you from three-point range. He is also a very underrated passer," scout.com's Dave Telep said.
The Knights, however, are coming off a terrific performance in round one with their 88-78 win over a very athletic Lee County team. Jerome Manuel led the way for Evans with 26 points, while Brandon Durr chipped in with 20.
The 88 points for Evans are the most points they have scored all season. The Knights have scored 80 or more points only twice all season.
So if the Evans guards can control the flow of the game, and the Knights can stop JuJuan Jones' teammates from having big games, Evans could be headed to the Elite Eight.
Greenbrier (26-3) vs. Hardaway (13-15) at Columbus State
4 p.m. Friday
Another year, another assortment of school records for the Lady Wolfpack. Garret Black's crew took care of Bainbridge in round one 69-54, despite a lackluster performance overall.
Junior point guard Michelle Swiec paced Greenbrier with a game-high 25 points.
Swiec made quite a splash last season in the state tourney, and if she plays the way she is capable of playing, Greenbrier will be tough to beat.
She could really improve her recruiting stock with a few solid outings as well.
Of Greenbrier's three losses this season, two came to the state's top team (Jones County), and after last season's run to the final eight the Pack should not fold under the state tournament pressure.
Their opponent, Hardaway, was a surprising winner in round one. The Lady Hawks squeaked into the state playoffs, but they took care of Woodward Academy 63-57 in the first round. Hardaway had four players in double figures, led by Kelly Ellison, who scored 18 points.
Also, Hardaway will definitely be the home team at Columbus State as their campus is just a brisk walk from the Lumpkin Center, where the game will be played.
Greenbrier should be able to cruise into round three.
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