This weekend will feature two state title basketball games for Cobb County School District. The Kell Longhorn girls are facing the Buford Wolves in the 5A finals, and the Wheeler Wildcat boys are matched against the Grayson Rams in the 7A final. Both games will be played at the Macon Centreplex. Kell on Friday (3/6/20) and Wheeler on Saturday (3/7/20).
The Lady Longhorns are looking to keep their undefeated season unblemished with one last win. It will be a huge challenge against the Wolves, who are ranked #1 in 5A and #6 in the state. Kell is ranked #2 in 5A and #10 in the state. Head Coach Tony Ingle’s Longhorn team will need to be focused to win this game.
The Longhorns are 32-0 this season and 16-0 in their region. They have beat most of their opponents by double-digits, even during the playoffs. The only team that gave them serious competition this year has been region-rival Carrollton. But they will be tested for certain against Buford; the Wolves beat Carrollton in the quarterfinals by 11 points.
In their path to the finals, Kell has beaten Lithonia, Bainbridge, Jones County, and Eagles Landing. Buford’s path was through Grady, Wayne County, Carrollton, and Woodland-Henry. This is Kell’s first appearance in the finals, while Buford has appeared in eight of the last ten. Second-year coach Ingle will have his hands full against a veteran coach like Gene Durden.
In 7A, the Wildcats are looking to finish the season strong, appearing in the finals for the first time in five years. Wheeler outmatched #2-ranked Milton in the semifinals to earn their trip to Macon. The Wildcats led the game starting with the first basket and never got behind in an exciting game played at Buford Arena last Saturday (2/29/20).
“We have got a resilient group,” said Head Coach Larry Thompson. “They play hard and they’re unselfish. Milton beat us at home earlier in the year, so we’ve progressed. Offensively we still have some work to do, but defensively we are playing our best ball right now.” This is not an understatement. The Wildcat defense has held two potent offenses to under 50 points in the playoffs: Milton to 47 points and Berkmar to 43.
The Wildcats will be facing the #1 team in the state in the Grayson Rams. The Rams beat reigning state-champ McEachern at Buford last Saturday to move to the finals. With Wheeler’s defense coming on strong, and their offensive prowess gaining steam, this will be a great game to watch. Senior Point Guard Nash Kelly and senior bigs Sam Hines, Jr. and Prince Davies have a great on-court chemistry that is difficult to defend. And when junior forward Ja’Hiem Hudson is on the court the Wildcats can score from all directions and lengths.
Kell plays at 6PM on Friday and Wheeler at 7:30 on Saturday. Make plans to head to Macon to support these CCSD schools in their state-championship quests. Good luck Longhorns and Wildcats!