Though not fantastic, fourth seed allows b-ball teams to advance to Class AAAA state tourney

The Southerner

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BY JOE LAVINE

The Grady boys and girls basketball teams both qualified for the GHSA Class AAAA State Basketball Tournament by placing fourth in their respective region tournaments.

The Lady Knights played the Redan Raiders on Friday in a regional semifinal game for a chance to clinch a top-two seed going into the state tournament. The girls fell 59-34 to the Raiders, and after losing a close game 56-52 to Marist on Saturday, the team settled for a fourth seed. Head coach Kathleen Washington described her team’s poor play in the semifinal game against Redan.

“We didn’t do too well,” Washington said. “We made a lot of bad passes; [we] didn’t do the simple stuff that we needed to do to win.”

The Lady Knights (18-9) open state tournament play tonight against River Ridge (20-8), the No. 1 seed from Region 7. Tip-off is at 7 p.m. at River Ridge High School.

“My expectation is to win today,” senior forward Ectasee Crane said. “Today we were scouting one of their shooting guards, so if we stop her, we might have the game in the basket.”

In Friday’s regional semifinal, the boys team lost 64-62 to the No. 8-ranked team in the state, Columbia. The Knights could not stop senior guard Tahj Shamsid-Deen, an Auburn signee. Shamsid-Deen scored 17 first-half points and finished with 29 for the game. The Knights clawed their way back in the second half, but they simply ran out of time. Junior Tyrius Walker’s half-court heave in the final seconds was off the mark, and the team fell short of the regional championship game.

“If we had another possession, we would have won,” junior guard Chandler Organ said.

The Knights (18-8) needed much more than just one extra possession in Saturday’s 60-29 loss to Marist, which resulted in them taking the fourth seed from Region 6 into the state tournament. The setback does not affect the team’s confidence that it can beat its first round opponent, Northwest Whitfield (23-3), at 7:30 p.m. at Northwest Whitfield High School in Tunnel Hill. Organ described his expectations.

“A ‘W,’” Organ said. “That’s all. We’re gonna blow them out.”

Correction: Earlier versions of this post listed the start time of the Wednesday boys game at 8 p.m. The correct start time is 7:30 p.m.

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