By Doug Gorman
The first round of the Georgia High School Association state basketball tournament is in the books, and for five local teams, there's still a chance to bring home a state title.
With victories in the first round, the Morrow and Riverdale girls' advance to the Sweet 16 in the Class AAAAA portion of the tournament, while Jonesboro moves on in the girls' Class AAAA tournament.
The Lady Cardinals next play Friday night at the Trade Center in Dalton.
In the boys' half of the Class AAAA bracket, the North Clayton Eagles advanced with a first-round victory. North Clayton also plays its second-round game in Dalton on Friday night. North Clayton is the only boys team from Clayton County still playing.
Jonesboro: In their 74-51 victory against Rome in Friday night's first-round game, the Jonesboro Lady Cardinals put together one of their best offensive performances of the year.
Scoring 27 points in the first quarter, Jonesboro took visiting Rome out of its game early en route to the 23-point victory.
The Lady Cardinals led 45-29 at the half, and although Rome cut the lead to nine at one stretch of the contest, Jonesboro was in control the whole way.
Jonesboro now prepares to play Lakeside-DeKalb in Friday's second round. Lakeside advanced with a 58-54 victory against Rockdale County in its first round game.
For Jonesboro, which spent half of the season as the top-ranked team in the Class AAAA state poll, beating Rome gave the team a four-game winning streak and 26-2 overall record.
Jonesboro is playing in the state tournament for the fourth straight year.
"It's an awesome feeling being one of the 32 teams in the state tournament and to go for four years in a row," senior guard Shad? Smith said. "I think this is the best team we've had so far."
Morrow: The Morrow Lady Mustangs have moved on to the Sweet 16 party at the Class AAAAA state tournament starting Thursday in Macon.
Morrow kept its season going Friday night with a 60-42 victory against Starr's Mill.
Jasmine Parker scored 20 points and Jordan Greenleaf added 14 to pace the Lady Mustangs.
The victory in the first-round game sets up a contest with Beach High School from Savannah.
Beach advanced to the second round with a victory against Tift County.
Riverdale: The Riverdale Lady Raiders have a 4 p.m. date with Glynn Academy scheduled for Thursday at the Macon Coliseum in the second round of the Class AAAAA state basketball tournament.
The Lady Raiders advanced to the second round of the state tournament with a 59-44 victory against Fayette County Friday night in opening round of the Class AAAAA tournament.
The Lady Raiders used a tough defense against Fayette County to advance to the second round of state.
Freshman Laura Broomfield scored 22 points to lead Riverdale and Antoinette Williams scored 16.
Glynn Academy advanced to Thursday's contest with a win against Coffee County.
North Clayton (boys): The North Clayton Eagles might have found a home away from home in of all places the Trade Center in Dalton.
After beating Gordon Central 72-59 in the first round of the Class AAAA tournament, the Eagles return to the venue Friday night for a game against Etowah High School.
Against Gordon Central, North Clayton led 23-9 before the Eagles stormed back.
Anthony Harvey, who hit two 3-point shots in the third quarter, finished the game with a game-high 24.
Friday night, the Eagles face an Etowah team which played one of the longest games in the history of the GHSA tournament Saturday in its first round game, beating Eastside of Newton County in five overtimes.