Anything can happen

By Anthony Rhoads

Since I have been at the News-Daily/Daily Herald, one of the most memorable basketball games I have covered was the 2001 Region 4-AAAAA championship game.

It featured some of the best basketball players and all-around athletes to ever come out of Clayton County including North Clayton's Anthony Rice and D.J. Shockley and Riverdale's Josh Powell and Chris McFarland.

The game certainly lived up to its billing as it was a battle from the beginning. The game went into overtime and Riverdale's George Annan became the hero.

Annan, a senior who had gotten very little playing time throughout the season, came off the bench that night to provide the biggest shot for Riverdale that year.

At the buzzer in overtime, Annan made a 3-pointer to give the Raiders a 76-74 victory and a region championship.

With all the superstars on the floor that night, it was really neat to see Annan come through for his team and it goes to show you that anything can happen in the playoffs.

It's a clich? but in the region and state playoffs, anybody can win on any given night.

Back in 2001, the Lovejoy boys headed into the region tournament favorites in their opening round game against an Eagle's Landing team that had won only six games in the regular season. Eagle's Landing shocked the Wildcats and advanced to round 2 before being knocked out by Mt. Zion.

In 2002, the Riverdale girls were ranked No. 1 in the state and played Jonesboro, a team that barely were .500 going into its region tournament matchup against the Lady Raiders.

But a lay-up by senior Hannah Mathes with a few seconds left, gave Jonesboro the victory in what was one of the biggest upsets statewide that year.

The Lady Cardinals advanced to state and made it all the way to the Sweet 16 before finally being eliminated.

This year, the Morrow Mustangs shocked a lot of folks by beating Stockbridge. The Tigers were 24-1 going into the region tournament game while Morrow was seeded No. 8 and had to win a play-in game to face Stockbridge.

But the Mustangs came through to beat Stockbridge. Morrow eventually advanced to the Region 2-AAAAA title game where they beat Henry County.

After the Henry County game, Morrow head coach Jay Livingston, gave us one of the best quotes of the year.

"We survived the knockout punch and we are still standing," said Livingston. "We have never worried about other teams and what others are saying. We knew we were capable of doing this."

Heading into this weekend, the Morrow boys join several other Clayton County teams in state tournaments.

In addition to the Morrow boys, other teams who will be playing at state this weekend are the Jonesboro boys and girls, the Mt. Zion girls, the Lovejoy boys and Riverdale boys and girls.

In Henry County, two teams will be playing at state including Henry County and Union Grove.

Out of all those teams, probably the Riverdale girls have the best chance of going the deepest into the playoffs and they could make their second straight Final 4 appearance but who knows what will happen?

That is why they play the games.

Anthony Rhoads is a sports writer for The Daily and his column appears on Wednesdays. He can be reached at arhoads@news-daily.com or sports@news-daily.com.