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Time to look great!

VOLUME 10 ISSUE 9

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MARCH 7-13, 2014

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YOUR SOURCE FOR SPORTS IN GEORGIA

Ahead of the Curve | Pg. 4 Falcons play analytics game well, says columnist Jay Underwood.

State Finals | Pg. 8

PANTHERS TOP SUN BELT Georgia State wins first conference championship since 2001-2002 | Pg. 5

Hoops season comes to an end in Macon this weekend.

saturday, mar 15 @ 7:30pm


LAST YEAR SHE HAD THE WINNING

COMEBACK STORY. WHO WILL IT BE THIS YEAR? Know a young athlete who overcame a serious injury or illness? Nominate them for Comeback Athlete of the Month at choa.org/comeback. ©2013 Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Inc. All rights reserved. For official contest rules, visit choa.org/comeback.

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Vol. 10 Iss. 9 | March 7-13, 2014

STARTING LINEUP PUBLISHER/EDITOR I.J. Rosenberg

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COLUMNISTS

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ON THE COVER

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INSIDE THE PREPS

GENERAL MANAGER Melanie Snare

ART/CREATIVE DIRECTOR DJ Galbiati Blalock SENIOR MANAGING EDITOR Stephen Black

BUSINESS MANAGER Marvin Botnick

ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Marcus Nabors

BEAT WRITERS Ricky Dimon (Braves) Joe Deighton (Gladiators) Jay Underwood (Hawks) Brian Jones (KSU) Joe Deighton (UGA) Craig Sager II (Falcons) Stephen Black (Tech) Jay Underwood (GSU) STAFF WRITERS Ryan Caiafa Alex Ewalt

TO ADVERTISE IN SCORE ATLANTA:

404.256.1572

Copyright 2014 Score Atlanta Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved. Score Atlanta is published in print every other week on Fridays and a digital version is posted to ScoreAtl.com in-between print issues. Views expressed in Score Atlanta are not necessarily the opinion of Score Atlanta, its staff or advertisers. Score Atlanta does not knowingly accept false or misleading editorial content or advertising nor is Score Atlanta responsible for the content or claims of any advertising or editorial in this publication. No content (articles, photographs, graphics) in Score Atlanta may be used for reproduction without written permission from the publisher.

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SCORE LIST | NUMBERS GEORGIA STATE | KENNESAW STATE GEORGIA | GEORGIA TECH BRAVES | FALCONS HAWKS | GLADIATORS

COVER PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE ATLANTA FALCONS, TY FREEMAN AND GEORGIA STATE ATHLETICS DEPARTMENT.

ON THE INSIDE AT SCORE Score Atlanta is looking for writers. Please e-mail Stephen Black at sblack@scoreatl.com or call 404-256-1572 for more information. The GHSA State Basketball Championship games will be televised live on Georgia Public Broadcasting. The AAASP Wheelchair Championship will air tape-delayed Saturday at 9:30 AM on GPB TV. All games are available online live and on-demand at GPB.org/sports and NFHSNetwork.com/ghsa. DVDs can be ordered at NFHSNetwork.com.

STAY CONNECTED! /SCOREATLANTASPORTS @SCOREATLANTA WWW.SCOREATL.COM WWW.GAPREPNEWS.COM

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SCORE ATLANTA | www.ScoreAtl.com

CUP OF JOE

TOO LITTLE TOO LATE FOR JACKETS, BUT NOT FOR PANTHERS BY JOE DEIGHTON | JDEIGHTON@SCOREATL.COM

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he month of March always brings with it the excitement of postseason college basketball and the start of the NCAA Tournament. It is called “March Madness” for a reason and we can’t get enough of it. We love filling out those brackets in the office pools. We love skipping work to watch those first-round games. We love trading in the everyday turkey sandwich for a basket of hot wings and anticipating the next upset. We love championship week and to see which teams can sneak into the “Big Dance”. Georgia is a team that is on the cusp of sneaking into the field of 68. Despite losing to Arkansas last Saturday, the Bulldogs are in good shape to make a postseason run. They should be one of the top four seeds in next

week’s SEC Tournament at the Georgia Dome, which could put them into the quarterfinals against one of the conference’s bottom-dwellers. If the Bulldogs can defeat either Kentucky or Florida, they would have a real shot at an NCAA Tournament bid. Georgia State’s tournament hopes look a little more solid. The Panthers have had a terrific regular season, as they already clinched Sun Belt regular-season title with a 16-1 conference record. GSU is a high-scoring team that is hot going into the most important week of the year. R.J. Hunter and Manny Atkins are capable of scoring 25-30 points apiece against anybody. Look for the Panthers to win the Sun Belt Tournament and snag maybe a No. 14 seed in the Big Dance. After that, anything can happen.

JAY’S JOURNAL

FALCONS ON TOP OF NFL’S ANALYTICS TREND BY JAY UNDERWOOD | JUNDERWOOD@SCOREATL.COM

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his past week, MIT hosted the Sloan Sports Analytic Conference in Boston, Mass. Two of the headline speakers were Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith and general manager Thomas Dimitroff. Since taking over the sidelines and front office in 2008, this duo has been successful in all but one year, and much of this success can be attributed to its calculated gambles in the draft, attempting to find the diamond in the rough, or sometimes seeing a star and making the move to take him. In order to do this, Smith and Dimitroff have developed chemistry between themselves and the scouting department to develop a system of evaluating players’ current abilities and their future potential.

ANALYTICAL ATLANTA … To do this type of evaluation, the Falcons have developed an analytical system that allows them to judge a player not only based on how he performs versus competition, but also how he will fit into the locker room. While this doesn’t quite fit the model of the mathematically-based conference, it is still an important aspect of constructing a team that some organizations have yet to grasp. The Falcons struggled this past season, but you would be hardpressed to hear much negativity coming out of the locker room because of Smith’s policy of handling everything internally. His partner, Dimitroff, was also a speaker this year and he spoke about using a blend of analytics while also using the eyeball test. When

STUNNING UPSET … One local team that will not be invited to the NCAA Tournament, much less the NIT, is Georgia Tech. That didn’t stop the Yellow Jackets from scoring a huge 67-62 upset of Syracuse at the Carrier Dome on Tuesday night. Syracuse went into the game ranked seventh in the nation and many have picked it to make a return trip to the Final Four. Last month, the Orange were the top-ranked team in the country with a spotless record. This may be the biggest upset of the regular season to this point. No one gave the Jackets a chance. Not even the most die-hard Georgia Tech fan had confidence of winning in the Carrier Dome, where almost no visitor emerges victorious. According to ESPN, the Jackets’ chances of an upset were 4.9 percent, but they did it. Senior Daniel Miller was big on both ends for Tech. Miller scored 15 points to go along with a game-high six blocks and six rebounds. It was an inspiring performance; one not lost on head coach Brian Gregory. “I thought our guys did a great job of executing the game plan in terms of taking care of the basketball, moving the basketball, getting it underneath the zone and making plays for each other,” Gregory told the AP. “We’ve had some tough times this

year. This was a total team effort.” As tough a year as it’s been for Georgia Tech, it can look back on this game and say it beat one of the best teams in the country and possibly the eventual national champions.

watching a player play you can see things that he is doing well and what needs to improve on, but sometimes the little things are missed while focusing on the big picture and that is where the analytics can be useful. They show how a certain player affects the game as a whole, while maybe not directly affecting every play. In his tenure as the Falcons’ general manager, he has been aggressive when pursuing a target in the draft, which has allowed him to get players that he, along with the scouting department, think will fit with the personality of the team and coaching staff. When a player isn’t happy or comfortable, he isn’t going to perform up to his potential and that is something that the Falcons have tried to limit during the Smith-Dimitroff era. Analytics are taking over the sporting world because of their ability to evaluate vast quantities of data and present various scores to compare players and units. Being able to turn raw data into usable information allows scouting departments and coaches to make decisions even faster and more accurately. This also allows for teams to develop a competitive advantage based on their own calculations and formulas to interpret the data and scores. This is why the Sloan Conference is beginning to become less about sharing knowledge and methods, but more about talking about how teams utilize and procure analytics to make decisions.

BOLD MOVES … This season look for the Falcons to capitalize on their position in the draft, making bold moves to bolster their roster while filling holes along the lines and in the pass rush. They are currently slated to select sixth in the first round, but as the past has shown, Dimitroff is not afraid to move around to generate the most value, whether that is to move up to select a player that they deem a “can’t miss” or move down, collecting more picks and taking a player that they feel other teams are undervaluing. There is a strong possibility that the Falcons will be very active on draft day, positioning themselves in the proper place to select players they have highlighted on their board. They will do this with a mixture of game film as well as an organization-specific approach of breaking down a player’s ability to be compared to his peers. Whatever the strategy is, the Falcons have been one of the best in the league at retaining their drafted players, which is currently at 73.9 percent since 2008, good enough for second in the league. You can bet that they will keep their exact method for rating players inhouse to keep this advantage going, but it is good to see that the Falcons are at the forefront of the newly-changing area of sports. Photo of courtesy of the Atlanta Falcons.

GOODBYE, JASON … In a bit of a stunner, Falcons’ running back Jason Snelling has decided to retire from the NFL at the age of 30. Most backs don’t last as long as the reliable Snelling and the Falcons were actually fortunate to have him around as long as they did. The seven-year veteran was due approximately $1.8 million next season in the last year of his contract. Snelling’s 2013 season was marred by an arrest on marijuana charges and he missed one game. It was somewhat of a sad ending for Snelling; he gained 164 yards rushing and scored one touchdown in 14 games. Over the course of his career, Snelling was one of the most reliable third-down backs in the NFL. His best season came in 2009, when he gained 641 yards and scored four touchdowns. Gaining big yards was never a realistic goal due to his lack of carries, but the Falcons could always look to Snelling to pick up a first down when they needed it. Photo courtesy of Georgia State Athletics.


Vol. 10 Iss. 9 | March 7-13, 2014 therTalk.com, a fan site for GSU sports. Moore attended GSU and practiced with the 2000-01 Panthers team that set a record for wins at 29 and won the only NCAA Tournament game in GSU history, a 50-49 victory over Wisconsin in the NCAA first round in Boise, Idaho. “For the Arkansas State game, coach Ron Hunter sat his son, R.J. Hunter, a guy who’s averaging nearly 19 points per game and is one of the best pure scorers in the Sun Belt,” Moore continued. “He didn’t play at all, and this team still beat one of the top teams in the Sun Belt.” Instead of crumble under less-than-ideal conditions, the Panthers got a career day from senior Manny Atkins, who poured in 30 points on the strength of a 5-for-10 shooting performance from behind the arc. The 6-foot-5 Virginia Tech transfer also pulled down 11 rebounds to lead the team. GSU won 79-76 in overtime.

ON THE COVER

GSU HOOPS

PANTHERS HAVING A SEASON TO REMEMBER BY ALEX EWALT | AEWALT@SCOREATL.COM

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ith the Sun Belt Conference regularseason title already in hand, and a 20-1 record since Dec. 7, the 23-7 Georgia State Panthers (16-1 Sun Belt) continue to blaze new trails for GSU basketball. POSTSEASON CLINCHED … The Panthers are already headed for just their fifth trip to the postseason ever, as they’ve already earned a guaranteed NIT berth on the way with the Sun Belt regular-season conference title. But the Panthers are gunning for more, namely, an NCAA Tournament berth with a Sun Belt tournament title. It would be just the second NCAA berth in Panthers history. The 2000-01 team paved the way under legendary coach Lefty Driesell. GSU may be uniquely suited for the pressures of a conference tournament, one that will, fortunately, only consist of two games at the most for the Panthers (Georgia State earned a double-bye in the Sun Belt’s quirky format, and will play on Saturday in the semifinals against the winner of the game between

the No. 4 seed and the No. 5 or 8 seed). GSU is used to playing games in quick succession after long layoffs after a bizarre winter that saw two postponed home games and several difficult out-of-town trips. During Atlanta’s infamous February winter storms, the Panthers played four games in eight days during one stretch. Just this Tuesday, the Panthers had to navigate another ice storm, this time in Jonesboro, Ark., taking a circuitous bus route from San Marcos, Texas (where they played Saturday against Texas State in a road victory), to Shreveport, La., to Memphis, Tenn. The team arrived just 45 minutes before tipoff in its game against Arkansas State, a team that is still fighting for a top-two spot in the standings. The odds were against the Panthers, as Ron Hunter was resting his son and leading scorer, R.J. Hunter, who was nursing a sore knee. Shorthanded and out of its routine, the team competed and beat Arkansas State 7976 in overtime. “I think it’s a warning to the rest of the Sun Belt,” said Ben Moore, administrator for Pan-

ARSENAL OF PLAYERS … Though the win was next to meaningless in the standings, the victory at Arkansas State proved again that the Panthers have enough weapons to be a tough out come the postseason. What has instilled faith in the Panthers fan base, however, has been the coaching of Ron Hunter. His 2013-14 team has found creative ways to win at the ends of games and has pulled out a few miracles during the team’s program-best 20-1 run. “It’s about being able to make adjustments within the game, whether it’s because we came out a little flat or we had a crazy schedule,” Moore said. “But you’ve just seen some crazy [scoring runs]…we’ve just smoked teams. Who are you going to stop?” The “four-headed monster,” as Moore calls it, consists of senior point guard Devonta White, Hunter, Atkins, and junior guard Ryan Harrow, a Kentucky transfer who is second on the team in scoring. Atkins is shooting 46.7 percent from three this season, just outside the top 30 nationally. He’s averaging 14.8 points and has been a force when the team’s feature players, Hunter and Harrow, have been off. TRANSFER HAVEN … A team of transfers (Harrow via Kentucky, Atkins via Virginia Tech and center Curtis Washington via USC), the Panthers have recently garnered some national attention with

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their success. “Having this program vault into the limelight and get national recognition is great. We were in the New York Times this past weekend. That’s incredible,” said Moore, referring to a piece about Ryan Harrow’s transfer to Georgia State from Kentucky, which was made possible through an NCAA family hardship waiver. Moore still considers the 2000-01 roster to be the most talented in school history, with Georgia Tech transfer Kevin Morris, Georgetown transfer Shernard Long and a deep bench that as athletic as anyone in the country (the team beat Georgia in the season’s opening game, and the Bulldogs finished the season under coach Jim Harrick as the No. 26 team in the RPI that year). But this team’s starting five has the capability for a deep March run with four legitimate stars. The Panthers don’t know who their opponent will be for the Saturday matchup in the Sun Belt semifinals in New Orleans March 15, but the prolific Georgia State offense will be ready. “If you’re not scoring 75 to 80 points in a game, you have no shot to beat Georgia State,” Moore said. The Panthers’ last home game is this Saturday against Western Kentucky, currently the second-place team in the Sun Belt and a likely opponent in New Orleans. Georgia State drew 2,890 fans — which would be a modest number for, say, neighboring ACC program Georgia Tech — to their latest home game against Louisiana-Lafayette on Feb. 22, an 80-77 win. The attendance total is the fifth highest in the history of the GSU Sports Arena, and with one home game left, the Panthers are on track to break the all-time season attendance record for men’s basketball. The game against their conference rival will be a tune-up for the big prize, an NCAA Tournament bid. The Panthers would likely receive a 14 or 15 seed in the NCAA Tournament. A long shot to advance past the first round in March, but not an impossible task. “Coach Hunter knows how to prepare his teams for first-round matchups, ” Moore says. Georgia State, which finished 0-12 this past season in football (and 1-10 the season before), has been looking for a rallying cry. The Panther basketball team has provided it this season. Photos courtesy of Georgia State Athletics Department.


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Georgia State

Freddie Freeman

Georgia Tech was 13-16 and 4-12 in the ACC going into the Carrier Dome on Tuesday, while Syracuse was 26-3 and 13-3 in conference. Those records were thrown out the window, however, when Tech scored a 67-62 upset of the nation’s No. 7 team. Trae Golden scored 16 points and Daniel Miller added 15 for the Yellow Jackets.

An overtime conference win may not seem particularly impressive when you’re dominating league play with a 15-1 record. However, Georgia State was without R.J. Hunter on Tuesday and it was visiting an Arkansas State team that was previously 9-6 in the Sun Belt. The Panthers won in overtime and they’ve locked up the conference tournament’s top seed.

It’s only spring training, but Freeman is picking up where he left off last season and is showing no signs of slowing down after signing a franchise-record contract this winter. Through 13 at-bats in his first five Grapefruit League games, Freeman was hitting .462 with two RBIs, two doubles and two runs scored. The Braves, however, started 1-6.

By Ricky Dimon

WHO’S HOT

Surprise at Syracuse

SCORE LIST By Brian Jones

MARCH TO MACON

It’s that time when the Georgia high school basketball world travels to Macon for the state championships. The games started on Thursday and will continue through Saturday. The one I’m looking forward to is the Wheeler boys taking on Tift County. I think Wheeler will win, giving the Wildcats their first state title since 2009.

FINISH THE DRILL

The Georgia men’s basketball team will participate in the SEC Tournament this week and the Bulldogs need to reach the semifinals or better to even think about an NCAA Tournament bid. It has been a solid year for the Bulldogs and even if they don’t make it to the Big Dance, the NIT is waiting for them.

PANTHER PRIDE

Georgia State, on the other hand, has a really good chance to make the tourney. All the Panthers have to do is win the Sun Belt Conference Tournament, which should not be too much of a challenge because they won the regular-season title at 15-1. I hope they do it because I think damage can be done in the NCAA Tournament.

FOOTBALL TRYOUTS

KSU football coach Brian Bohannon announced he will hold football tryouts for students on March 22 at the Sports and Recreation Center. The coaching staff is still looking for talent to add to its growing roster. Man, I wish I was still going to KSU because I would love to go out there and see if I still have it.

SNELLING RETIRES

Falcons’ running back Jason Snelling announced on Tuesday that he will retire from football, effective immediately. Snelling had been with the team since 2007 and he tallied 1,420 yards and eight touchdowns. He was selected in the seventh round of the 2007 NFL Draft. Snelling was an absolute class act and he will be missed.

WHO’S NOT

SCORE ATLANTA | www.ScoreAtl.com

Hawks Defense

Retirements

B.J. Upton

The Hawks gave up 129 points in a loss at Phoenix last Sunday. Unfortunately, that is nothing new. Atlanta has allowed at least 100 points in their last eight losses and has lost its last eight games when opponents have reached the century mark. The Hawks are now giving up more points per game than any other current playoff team in the East.

The Falcons were always planning on heading into the 2014 season without Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez. Jason Snelling’s retirement, on the other hand, came as a relative surprise on Tuesday. The sevenyear running back and former University of Virginia star spent his entire career in Atlanta and rushed for 1,420 yards while scoring 17 touchdowns.

Much more than a team’s record, individual performances are an important part of spring training. Early returns on the older Upton brother are not encouraging. The center fielder, who hit .184 in his 2013 debut with the Braves, was 2-for-13 (.154 batting average) in his first five preseason games with just one RBI and five strikeouts.

NUMBERS

OUR TWO CENTS

By Craig Sager II

Our email newsletter is something we take a lot of pride in at Score. If you aren’t familiar with it, it is a high school sportsheavy publication that we produce each day to fill in our readers on the latest happenings in Georgia prep sports. We send it out Monday through Friday throughout the year and Monday through Saturday during the fall. Not only do we cover popular sports like football, basketball and baseball, we also cover every other varsity sport the GHSA fields. If you like Georgia high school sports at all, sign up for our email newsletter by visiting www.tinyurl.com/scorenewsletter and enter your email address(es) that you’d like added to the distribution list.

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TRIVIA QUESTION

WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME BOTH TECH AND GEORGIA FINISHED THE SEASON WITH WINNING RECORDS IN MEN’S HOOPS? ANSWER ON PAGE 14

SANITY AT LAST

“No. I told you I planned on it.” Georgia Tech senior center Daniel Miller on if he was shocked at the Jackets’ 67-62 upset win at No. 7 Syracuse.

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Total touchdowns scored by Jason Snelling during his seven years with the Falcons

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Points by Trae Golden (a game high) in Tech’s 67-62 stunner over No. 7 Syracuse

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Schools in Georgia history that have won both the boys and girls state basketball titles in the same year

6 36.6 3 24 5

Defending state champions playing in this year’s state finals Average margin of victory posted by the McEachern girls this postseason

Weeks until the Braves open their season in Milwaukee Weeks until the Metro PCS Corky Kell Classic kicks off high school football season Weeks since the Hawks last posted back-to-back wins


ERIC BERRY | DB

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CJ SPILLER | RB

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AAA this weekend and it will present two incredible matchups. The Buford girls will have to compete against defending state champion St. Pius X and the boys will square off with Morgan County, a team they split with in the regular season. The boys matchup between the Wolves and Morgan County is also the only championship game out of the 14 total this weekend that pits two teams looking for their first state titles.

STATE HOOPS FINALS

SWEEPING CHAMPIONSHIPS A RARE FEAT BY CRAIG SAGER II | CSAGER@SCOREATL.COM

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inning a state championship in the state of Georgia is already hard enough, but it pales in comparison to the difficulty of sweeping state titles and bringing home the boys and girls state championships in the same season. The GHSA began crowning boys and girls state champions in 1945, but only 13 times in the past 68 seasons have we seen a school sweep titles. SWEEP CITY … In 1958, Jeff Davis became the first school to claim both titles and Roopville High School did it the following year. Four seasons passed before Hart County completed the sweep in 1963 and GAC kept the trend alive in 1972. A 15-year drought followed GAC’s sweep until Clinch County pulled it off in 1987. More recently, Wesleyan, Columbia and Norcross joined even more elite company by becom-

ing the first schools in the state of Georgia to sweep state titles twice. No school has ever done it in back-to-back seasons. Norcross was the only team to successfully sweep titles last season even though multiple teams shared the opportunity. Entering the quarterfinals, 18 schools still had their boys and girls teams playing and Miller Grove, Columbia and St. Francis all sent both squads to the finals where they would come up one state champion short. Class AAA Buford is the lone wolf this season with a chance to sweep. The girls are familiar with the podium, having won three straight titles from 2009-2011, whereas the boys will be searching for their first-ever state championship on Saturday. The possibility of witnessing a Buford sweep is arguably the biggest storyline in Class

Class AAAA

Final Score Atlanta Wrestling Rankings Class AAAAAA

Class AAAAA

1............................. Archer 2...............Camden County 3....................... Collins Hill 4................Chattahoochee 5.................. North Forsyth

1...................... Cambridge 2......................... Allatoona 3................................ Pope 4.......... Woodland-Bartow 5.......................Creekview

6......................... Parkview 7......................McEachern 8..........................Lowndes 9...........................Marietta 10...................... Mtn. View

CLASH OF THE TITANS … Winter weather forced the state tournament to complete 370 games in just nine days through its March 1 semifinals. The result was nonstop action and the fastest four rounds since the tournament went to 32 teams in each classification. All 14 defending state champions were back in the playoffs this season and six battled their ways back to Macon with a chance to repeat. Miller Grove, Greater Atlanta Christian and Wilkinson County are back for the boys and Southwest DeKalb, St. Pius X and Wesleyan return for the girls. The Miller Grove boys have a shot to win their sixth straight state title and tie a state record on Friday, but not if the Wesleyan girls can break the record first in their 3 p.m. tipoff. The Wolves have already won six straight championships and are looking for their seventh

1..............................Gilmer 2........................Alexander 3.................................Cass 4..............Lumpkin County 5........................ Carrollton

Class AA 6.............................. Marist 7...................Locust Grove 8..................West Laurens 9........... Heritage-Catoosa 10......................... Lithonia

Class AAA 6................South Paulding 7............................... Rome 8....................Ware County 9................................... Ola 10......... Effingham County

1............................. Buford 2..................Banks County 3.......Woodward Academy 4...................Elbert County 5........................ North Hall

straight. A Wesleyan win would top a 20-yearold record set in 1989-1994 by Hart County and would also give the Wolves their 11th state championship. There is a shortage of Cinderella’s in this year’s state finalists, but a surplus of red-hot teams and perennial powers. In Class 2A-6A boys and girls, the No. 2 seeded Tucker girls are the only one of 20 finalists not wearing a No. 1 seed. Last season, we saw four No. 2 seeds reach the finals on the boys side and three No. 2 seeds and a No. 4 seed (Sandy Creek) reach the state finals on the girls side. Four of the state title games feature teams that already faced one another in the regular season. In Class AAAAA girls action, Tucker and Southwest DeKalb split in the regular season, but Southwest DeKalb came out victorious in their most recent tilt, a 63-56 win in the Region 6 championship. In Class A-Public, the Randolph-Clay girls have beaten their finals opponent Mitchell County three times this season, but all three games have been decided by five points or less. The two boys rematches will be Buford and Morgan County in Class AAA and Whitefield Academy and St. Francis in Class A-Private. Photos courtesy of Ty Freeman, Buford HS and Brian L. Morgan.

1.........................Jefferson 2............................Bremen 3....................Social Circle 4................Toombs County 5..................................GAC

6...............................Lovett 7...........................Spencer 8............................. Vidalia 9....................... Monticello 10..................Westminster

Class A 6.........................Rockmart 7.......................... East Hall 8................ Blessed Trinity 9......................Sonoraville 10..............Oconee County

1.......................Commerce 2......................Gordon Lee 3............. Athens Christian 4..................Turner County 5...............Holy Innocents’

6.............. Mt. Zion-Carroll 7....................... Darlington 8.................................Trion 9.......................St. Francis 10.............................. ELCA


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SCORE ATLANTA | www.ScoreAtl.com

Score Atlanta/AJC Pre-Playoff Basketball Rankings AAAAAA Boys

1.......................... Wheeler 2............... North Gwinnett 3.......................Tift County 4.........................Norcross 5...................Pebblebrook 6.........................Westlake 7.............. Douglas County 8......................... Berkmar 9.............................Walton 10............................Luella

AAAAA Boys

1.........................Allatoona 2....................Miller Grove 3...........................Jenkins 4................ Clarke Central 5............... Warner Robins 6.................... Stephenson 7.............................Tucker 8............................... Drew 9.......................... Osborne 10................... Sprayberry

AAAA Boys

1........................ Columbia 2....................... Alexander 3...................... Glenn Hills 4.........................Westover 5......Johnson-Gainesville 6.......................Jonesboro 7........................... Rutland 8................Fayette County 9..............Eagle’s Landing 10...................River Ridge

AAA Boys

1........Johnson-Savannah 2........................Savannah 3........ Washington County 4.....................Cartersville 5.............................Buford 6...............Morgan County 7....................Cedar Grove 8........................ St. Pius X 9................Blessed Trinity 10................Elbert County

AA Boys

1................................. GAC 2.............................Vidalia 3..............................Laney 4...........................Calhoun 5...........Northeast-Macon 6........................ Jefferson 7............................Pelham 8.................... Manchester 9..............................Model 10.......... Crawford County

A Boys

1.....Greenforest Christian 2...................... St. Francis 3....... Landmark Christian 4......North Cobb Christian 5.......Whitefield Academy 6...........................Treutlen 7.............Athens Christian 8.............................. Portal 9........... Wilkinson County 10............ Holy Innocents’

AAAAAA Girls

1..................... McEachern 2.............................Archer 3......................... Hillgrove 4.........................Norcross 5.........................Parkview 6..................North Forsyth 7.........................Westlake 8.........................Lowndes 9.............. Douglas County 10..............Mountain View

AAAAA Girls

1..........Southwest DeKalb 2............................... Drew 3.............................Tucker 4..............................Salem 5................ Clarke Central 6.......................... Osborne 7..... Northside-Columbus 8...........Effingham County 9.....................Forest Park 10....................Greenbrier

AAAA Girls

1..............................Redan 2....................... Columbus 3........................ Columbia 4....................Cross Creek 5.............South Effingham 6........................... Monroe 7.........................Chestaee 8.................Mary Persons 9................Fayette County 10...................River Ridge

AAA Girls

1........ Washington County 2.............................Buford 3........................ St. Pius X 4..............................Beach 5...............Morgan County 6...............Central-Carroll 7................Tattnall County 8................. Dodge County 9..................... Sonoraville 10.................. Pike County

AA Girls

1.........................Kendrick 2........................ Wesleyan 3................................. GAC 4..............................Laney 5............................Pelham 6........................ Pepperell 7...............Putnam County 8.............................Vidalia 9...........................Calhoun 10...................... Jefferson

A Girls

1.............. Holy Innocents’ 2...................... St. Francis 3........George Walton Aca. 4...Southwest Atlanta Chr. 5............... Randolph-Clay 6.................... Calvary Day 7.......................Darlington 8............................Claxton 9............................Paideia 10...............Turner County


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UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA

DAWGS WALK OFF ON TECH; LADY DOGS SEC BOUND BY JOE DEIGHTON | JDEIGHTON@SCOREATL.COM

he baseball game between the Bulldogs T and Georgia Tech remained scoreless into the ninth inning at Foley Field on Tuesday night

before Brandon Stephens delivered a gamewinning single to drive home pinch-runner Sean McLaughlin. The teams battled cold temperatures and even colder bats as they combined for a total of 11 hits and one run. Designated hitter Zack Bowers seemed to be the only player unaffected by the conditions, as he had three hits. Freshman starting pitcher Robert Tyler threw a great game, giving up just two hits, no runs and one walk while striking out five Jackets. The win was the fourth straight for Georgia and moved the Bulldogs’ record to 6-6. UGA will play its next 10 games at home. This weekend will see the Dawgs go up against Buffalo on Friday, North Florida on Saturday and Western Carolina on Sunday. SEC BOUND ... The Lady Bulldogs began the SEC Tournament on Thursday at Gwinnett Arena as the

GEORGIA STATE

PANTHERS INTO CONFERENCE TOURNEY WITH DOUBLE-BYE BY JAY UNDERWOOD | JUNDERWOOD@SCOREATL.COM

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he Panthers are two wins away from the Big Dance and are traveling to the Big Easy next weekend to try and punch their ticket to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2001. By finishing the season in first place in the conference, the Panthers are awarded a two-round bye that already pushes them into the semifinals without even having to play a game. This is beneficial for a team with a short bench, which would be an Achilles’ heel if the Panthers were required to play multiple backto-back games while advancing through the tournament. The double-bye means that only two games stand between this team and a place in school history. SHORT-HANDED WIN … This past Tuesday saw the Panthers win one of their more impressive games of the season. With R.J. Hunter sitting out to get some rest during the long season, the Panthers were able to score a road win over Arkansas State,

ninth seed against eighth-seeded Vanderbilt (results were not available at press time). It had been 13 years since the last SEC Tournament title for the Bulldogs. UGA has won four SEC championships since 1983. In the 12 matchups with Vanderbilt in postseason play, the teams have each won six games. Sophomore Shacobia Barbee has been the most consistent player on the team for UGA this season. Barbee leads the Bulldogs in points (12.9 per game), rebounds (8.2), assists and steals. She is the only player in the SEC to lead her team in all four of those statistical categories. Barbee has led Georgia to a 19-10 overall record this season and will be looking to add a few more wins before the year is over. TRACK AND FIELD … The NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships get underway in a couple of weeks in Albuquerque, N.M. Ten UGA athletes from both the men’s and women’s teams have been invited to compete. From the women’s team, seniors Lucie Ondraschkova (pentathlon) and Megan Malasarte (800-meter run), juniors Morgann Leleux (pole vault), Carly Hamilton (mile) and Quintunya Chapman (pentathlon), sophomore Chanice Porter (long jump) and freshmen Leontia Kallenou (high jump) and Kendell Williams (pentathlon) have been invited. Each is ranked in the top 16 in her respective event. From the men’s team, sophomore Maicel Uibo (heptathlon) and junior Nick Vena (shot put) both made it.

which was sitting third in the conference going into the night. They did it in overtime without their best player and with a starter (guard Rashaad Richardson) fouling out in regulation. It would not have been possible without a career night from Manny Atkins. Atkins scored 30 points to go along with his 11 rebounds, three steals and three assists. He was helped by Ryan Harrow and Devonta White, who pitched in 18 and 13 points, respectively. Markus Crider played 29 minutes, whereas no other reserve saw more than four minutes of action. He contributed four points, six rebounds and blocked one shot. Crider continues to provide solid production off the bench, which has been a lift for team that was getting tired as the season moved along. In his past five games he is averaging eight points, which is more contribution than the bench was presenting early in the season. This will be important to follow in the tournament. BRACKETOLOGY … According to Joe Lunardi’s ESPN Bracketology (as of March 3), the Panthers are projected as a No. 14 seed in the NCAA Tournament with a matchup against No. 3 seed Iowa State in the first round. Beating Western Kentucky in the regular-season finale on Saturday and winning the Sun Belt Tournament would probably move the Panthers up a seed of two, but regardless of their possible seed it is an exciting time for Georgia State.

GEORGIA TECH

JACKETS UPSET SYRACUSE IN CARRIER DOME BY STEPHEN BLACK | SBLACK@SCOREATL.COM

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he Jackets did it again. With the season winding down and a road trip to a top-10 opponent, not many fans expected Georgia Tech to beat Syracuse in the vast and vaunted Carrier Dome in western New York. But like last year, when Tech travelled to ACC champ Miami, coach Brian Gregory’s Jackets pulled off a near-miraculous victory with the odds stacked against them Tuesday night. Senior guard Trae Golden made 8 of 8 free throws and scored 16 points as the Jackets shocked Syracuse 67-62. Six of Golden’s free throws came in the final minute, when Tech iced the game. With the win, the Jackets ended a four-game losing streak and improved to 5-12 in the ACC and 14-16 overall with just a home game against Virginia Tech remaining. Center Daniel Miller scored 15 points and had six rebounds and four assists while forward Robert Carter, Jr. scored 12 points and had a team-high nine rebounds. Tech had 18 assists as a team and turned the ball over only nine times.

KENNESAW STATE

OWLS LOSE MARATHON, BOUNCE BACK TO BEAT GEORGIA STATE BY BRIAN JONES | BJONES@SCOREATL.COM

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fter splitting a four-game series with Gardner-Webb and winning a big game against Georgia Tech, the baseball team looked to keep the momentum going at Jacksonville State this past weekend. The Owls won the first game 10-1, but lost the second contest 1-0 and the third by a score of 9-8 in 17 innings. In the marathon finale, Jacksonville State went up 5-0 early. The Owls, though, scratched their way back and tied the score at 6-6 in the eighth inning. Kennesaw State took an 8-6 lead in the top of the 12th when Kal Simmons scored on a wild pitch followed by Justin Motley driving in his third run of the day. The Gamecocks tied things up in the bottom of the 12th when Griff Gordon drove in two runs. They ended up winning it five innings later when Mica Bishop hit a walk-off single. The 17 innings marked the longest game played by the Owls in the Division I era. Georgia State was next up on the schedule for KSU and it did not take the Owls long to

BEES-BALL … The Ramblin’ Wreck dropped to 7-5 on the season after a 1-0 walk-off defeat by Georgia Tuesday night in Athens. The Jackets totaled just three hits as Georgia starter Robert Tyler tossed eight innings of two-hit ball and Jared Cheek earned the win in one inning of relief. For Tech, Alex Cruz pitched five innings of shutout ball giving up five hits and a walk while Jonathan Roberts threw three innings of twohit ball. Tanner Shelton earned the loss after throwing just two-thirds of an inning and giving up a walk and an earned run. The loss to the Bulldogs ended a threegame winning streak that began after a 5-3 extra innings loss to Kennesaw State last week. Over the weekend, the Jackets swept Bowling Green 3-2, 8-3 and 8-5. Next up for Tech is the ACC-opening series against Wake Forest at Russ Chandler Stadium this weekend. Friday’s series-opener kicks off a seven-game home stand. NEWS AND NOTES … The men’s tennis team fell to 6-4 after a 4-1 loss to Tennessee in Knoxville Tuesday. … Senior Tyaunna Marshall of the women’s hoops team was voted to the all-ACC first team while freshman Kaela Davis was named to the allACC second team and the All-Freshman team in news announced Monday. Marshall is the first Lady Jacket to make the first team twice.

get back in the win column with a 3-0 victory on Tuesday. Brennan Morgan hit a go-ahead RBI double in the bottom of the sixth while the pitching staff struck out 13 batters. Kennesaw State will be back in action on Friday when it hosts Columbia for a threegame series. First pitch on Friday will be at 4 p.m. FOOTBALL TRYOUTS … Head football coach Brian Bohannon has announced the date for the first-ever football tryout on Tuesday. Bohannon and his coaching staff will host a group of 100 students at the Perch, which is located at the KSU Sports and Recreation Center, on March 22 at 8 a.m. Students who attend the tryout will be required to take part in the 40-yard dash, the pro agility test and participate in position drills. Those who make the team will be on hand for the team’s first set of practices starting this fall to get them ready for the season opener on Sept. 3, 2015. In other news, the Owls will host their annual 5k Walk/Run on Saturday at the Sports and Recreation Center. This year, Kennesaw State’s 5k is supporting The Owls Fund and Friends of Jaclyn Foundation, a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to improve the quality of life in children who are battling brain tumors. For more information, contact www. friendsofjaclyn.org.


Vol. 10 Iss. 9 | March 7-13, 2014 ATLANTA HAWKS

MUSCALA DEBUTS AS HAWKS CONTINUE SLIDE BY JAY UNDERWOOD | JUNDERWOOD@SCOREATL.COM

ike Muscala joined the Hawks Thursday M after previously playing overseas. Muscala scored four points in 17 minutes of action

in his debut against the Suns last Sunday. He also hauled in five rebounds while blocking two shots. Muscala will primarily be the backup to Pero Antic and Elton Brand the rest of this season while gaining experience toward his development. The former Bucknell standout and 2013 second-round draft pick will look to improve his game in all areas during the Hawks’ current five-game road trip along the west coast. With no true center on the floor when Muscala was out against Phoenix, Brand and Mike Scott both played big. Brand had 13 points, six rebounds and two blocks while Scott put up 20 points and grabbed five boards. INJURY REPORT … Gustavo Ayon is out for the season with a shoulder problem as the Hawks continue to weather the storm of injuries that have be-

ATLANTA BRAVES

LOSSES PILING UP IN EARLY SPRING BY RICKY DIMON | RDIMON@SCOREATL.COM

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he Braves finally got in the Grapefruit League win column with their first springtraining victory on Tuesday afternoon. Kris Medlen started and went three innings while striking out three and allowing only one hit as Atlanta beat National League East rival Washington 8-4. Phil Gosselin hit a bases-loaded triple in the eighth inning to break open what had been a competitive, back-and-forth contest. Andrelton Simmons drove in two runs and Justin Upton went 2-for-2. “This lineup’s no fun,” Medlen told the team’s website, referring to the Nationals. “They’re going to be a good team this year. It felt great…. Secondary pitches were there for me and fastball location, as well. For the most part, I was just trying to attack guys with fastballs like I’ve done every spring.” Still, though, the Braves were a mere 1-6 as of Wednesday afternoon. Among their losses was a 16-15 defeat at the Nationals’ hands last Saturday. Atlanta belted out 25 hits and

sieged them this season. They are holding onto the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, which may come as a shock—in a bad way—after they had been entrenched in the No. 3 position almost all season before going on an eight-game losing streak and dropping 11 out of their last 12. Paul Millsap continues to work his way back from a knee injury that held him out for the past week. He is expected to work his way back into action on the road trip, which will hopefully give the Hawks a needed boost. The offense has been present during the rough patch, but the defense has lacked the intensity that it had early in the season. It appears that players are losing their assignments easier and failing to provide help defense and switch properly on screens. This has allowed numerous open shots on the outside, which has hampered the Hawks’ ability to come back with their own outside shooting. BACK IN ACTION … Lucas Nogueira, a first-round pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, is back in action in the Spanish league after missing time with knee problems. He is easing himself back into action, while still working on keeping his body healthy. The Hawks are pleased with his development as a basketball player this season even if injuries have prevented him from appearing in as many games as they would have liked.

Washington made a ridiculous five errors, but it did not matter in terms of the game’s overall outcome. Jordan Schafer, Tommy La Stella and Matt Lipka all had three hits in that contest and Lipka finished with four RBIs. Schafer (5-for-14 with three extra-base knocks) and La Stella (7-for-17 with five runs scored) have been two of the bright spots so far this spring. Freddie Freeman also appears to be back in fine form, having batted safely six times in 13 at-bats with two doubles, two RBIs and two runs scored. Dan Uggla is a relatively encouraging 3-for-10 with four RBIs and he has as many walks as strikeouts (three). At the other end of the spectrum, B.J. Upton is still struggling with just two hits in 13 at-bats. BATTLE FOR NO. 5 … Veteran righty Freddie Garcia and up-andcoming lefty Alex Wood appear to be locked in a battle for the fifth and final spot in the starting rotation. Wood made 20 relief appearances and 11 starts last season while compiling a 3.13 ERA in 77.2 innings. In the bullpen, Wood would satisfy a Braves’ need for another lefthanded reliever. General manager Frank Wren, however, sees the 23-year old as a starter. “I look at Wood as a starter,” Wren told the Atlanta Journal Constitution. “I don’t look at him as anything other than a starter. Now that may change in the future, but for now I think that’s how we’re going to approach it.”

ATLANTA FALCONS

SNELLING RETIRES, FREE AGENCY LOOMS BY CRAIG SAGER II | CSAGER@SCOREATL.COM

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he retirement of Jason Snelling on Tuesday came as surprising news. “I have decided to retire after seven years in the NFL to spend time with my family,” Snelling said in a statement. “I want to thank [owner Arthur] Blank, Thomas Dimitroff and head coach Mike Smith for providing me the opportunity to play for the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons are a first-class organization run by a first-class owner and I am grateful that I got to spend my entire career in Atlanta.” The 30-year-old running back made a career of contributing in any way the Falcons needed him. Snelling played fullback, stepped in as a feature back and flew down the field on special teams. The Virginia product and 2007 seventh-round pick has been referred to as “The jack of all trades” by both head coach Mike Smith and quarterback Matt Ryan. Snelling finished his career with 363 carries for 1,420 yards with eight touchdowns while also compiling 168 receptions for 1,249

GWINNETT GLADIATORS

GLADIATORS FINALLY HEATING UP ON ICE BY JOE DEIGHTON | JDEIGHTON@SCOREATL.COM

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he Gwinnett Gladiators are coming off one of the best weeks of hockey that they have had all season. Three wins in four games have given the Gladiators something to hang their hats on in the midst of a losing season. The Glads started with a home win over former head coach Jeff Pyle and the Evansville IceMen, 4-1 last Tuesday. Marshall Everson, Bobby Hughes, Kurtis Bartliff and Joey Haddad each had a goal. Next, Gwinnett defeated Florida twice in front of the home crowd at Gwinnett Arena. Entering the third period of the first contest against the Everblades last Friday, the Glads trailed 2-0. Dirk Southern scored twice and Haddad added a goal and an assist in helping the Gladiators mount a comeback win, 4-2. In the second game in two nights against Florida, Gwinnett again came back to win in the third period, 5-4. Hughes scored two goals and three of his teammates had multi-point performances. The three wins, which were followed by

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yards and nine touchdowns out of the backfield. Snelling ran for one touchdown in 2013 and hauled in three scores. Tony Gonzalez was the only player on the team with more touchdown receptions (eight) than Snelling last season. The 2014 season would have been the final year of Snelling’s contract and once he is officially placed on the reserve/retired list, the Falcons will save $1.375 million this year with his departure. Five-year pro Antone Smith will likely see his role increase this season in the Atlanta backfield. In 2013, Smith carried the ball five times for 145 yards and two touchdowns. Smith broke free for runs of 45, 50 and 38 yards in his limited action. DEFENSIVE DEALS … Free agency begins March 11 and the Falcons will definitely be in the market for depth on the defensive side of the ball. Starting safety Thomas DeCoud was released last week and a free-agent pickup for the next starting safety is in consideration. On the defensive front, tackle Corey Peters signed a one-year contract Tuesday. The 2010 third-round pick had a careerhigh five sacks and 46 tackles last season in 15 games. Peters tore his Achilles’ in December and it is unknown if he will be ready by Week 1. With Peters re-signed and plenty of cap space available, attention will next be shifted to freeagent defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux.

a 5-3 loss to the Everblades last Sunday, improved the Gladiators’ record to 21-31-2-2 and raised their total to 46 points. PLAYER OF THE WEEK … Haddad has been the star of the Gladiators for the last two seasons. Last week, the forward showed that he is a legitimate star in the ECHL. Haddad ended the week with three goals and three assists in leading the Glads to their 3-1 record. That was good enough for the 25-year-old to be named Sher-Wood Hockey ECHL Player of the Week. Among Haddad’s goals was a short-handed tally against Evansville. The dynamic Haddad leads the Gladiators in points with 31 (13 goals, 18 assists) in 50 games this season. UPCOMING SCHEDULE … The Gladiators are making a road trip to Florida for two more games against the Everblades this weekend. Gwinnett has won five of its eight games against Florida during the 2013-14 campaign. In the five victories, the Glads are averaging 5.6 goals per game, the most against any opponent this year. Last weekend, Gwinnett found a way to crack Florida goalie Trevor Cann for seven goals on 44 shots in two games. Everblades’ backup goalie Connor Knapp allowed four goals on 29 shots. It will be interesting to see if Cann or Knapp gets the starts against the Glads on Friday and Saturday, or if they split the two games.


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Score Atlanta Vol 10 Issue 9  
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