By Anthony Rhoads
GRAY ? The North Clayton girls are going to the Class AAAA Sweet 16.
The Lady Eagles beat Cross Creek 54-42 Saturday in the first round of the Class AAAA state tournament at Jones County High School.
"This is the first step," North Clayton head coach Kimleon Turner said. "This was all set up by the program last year. We worked hard and paid the price last year. Our region is pretty tough. Don't take anything away from Region 4 because the region prepared us for this."
North Clayton (20-8) led 13-8 at the end of the first quarter, 31-19 at the half and 43-30 going into the final quarter.
"The key tonight was defense," Turner said. "We put pressure on their main player and made them rely on other people and that was the key."
Shaleece Bradberry led North Clayton with 13 points.
"We talked to Shaleece last week about making the short lay-ups," Turner said. "That was something she had problems with in the Woodward game (for the region championship). She worked on it and paid off for her."
Senior Ashley Johnson scored 10 for the Lady Eagles.
"What can you say about Ashley? It was another solid game," Turner said.
Other leading scorers for North Clayton were Jasmine Sykes with nine and Michelle Keith with six.
Butler 75, North Clayton 57 (boys): It just wasn't North Clayton boys' night Saturday when they took on Butler, the No. 2-ranked Class AAAA team in the state.
Butler (27-2) led the entire contest and jumped to a 9-2 lead to start the game.
Butler led 19-5 at the end of the first quarter and led 37-18 going into halftime.
Early in the third quarter, Butler took a 21-point lead (39-18) led by as many as 26 (49-23, 52-26). Butler led 54-31 going into the fourth quarter.
The Bulldogs' biggest lead of the game with about 3:36 remaining when they led 68-40.
North Clayton battled back in the final three minutes and went on a 17-8 run to end the game.
Josh Brewster led North Clayton with 18 and Jonathan Bolston added 13.
Butler's Tyrese Harris led all scorers with 20 points.
North Clayton's season ends with an 18-11 record in Steve Cole's first year as head coach.
From Staff Reports
TIFTON - Down 15 points in the second quarter against the Coffee High Trojans, the Henry County Warhawks staged a big second half comeback.
However, the rally fell short as Coffee eliminated the Warhawks from the state Class AAAAA basketball playoffs with a 72-69 victory.
Coffee advances to the second round of the state tournament Thursday in Macon. The Trojans will face Windsor-Forest at 5:30 p.m.
Up 16-11 at the end of one quarter, Coffee raced out to a 34-19 lead with 2:25 left in the first half after a free throw by Devon Edwards.
However, Henry ended the second quarter on a 5-0 run and the Warhawks were only down 10, 34-24, at halftime.
Then in the third quarter, Henry outscored Coffee, 18-12. That put the Warhawks down 46-42 going into the fourth quarter.
After a basket by Henry's Cornelius Edwards made the score 46-44 with 7:35 left in the fourth, Coffee went on a 6-0 run.
The Warhawks responded by scoring nine of the next 13 points and were down 56-53 on another basket by Edwards with 3:54 left. A three-point play by Coffee's Kevin Harris extended the Trojan lead back to six, but Henry's Carvelle Taylor hit a three-pointer with 3:30 left to cut the lead back to three.
Taylor then hit a basket and was fouled on the play by Coffee's Maurice Edmondson. With a chance to tie the game at 59-59, Taylor missed the free throw with 3:08 left.