Montrell McKenzie, Johnson: Averaged 22 points, 18.5 rebounds in two games last week.
Matt Hollis, Johnson: Averaged 20.5 points in two games last week.
Ty Odem, Johnson: 17 points and 11 rebounds in a win over Chestatee.
Cole Morgan, Chestatee: 28 points in a loss to Johnson.
Tyswon Cantrell, West Hall: 28 points in a loss to Lumpkin County.
Austin Montgomery, Lakeview: 29 points in a win over George Walton Academy.
Skylar Evanson, Jefferson: 26 points in a loss to Banks County.
Carly Gilreath, Dawson County: Averaged 22.5 points in two games last week.
Kaelyn Gattis, West Hall: 16 points and 10 rebounds in a win over Lumpkin County.
A.J. Davis, Buford: Scored 31 points and 10 rebounds in the Region 6-AA tournament semifinals, and another 20 points and 12 rebounds in the quarterfinals.
TJ Shipes: 19 points and 10 rebounds in a win over Maynard Jackson.
Kelsey Gilbert, Lakeview: 25 points in a loss to George Walton Academy.
JC Hampton, East Hall: Averaged 24.6 points in three games last week.
Austin Thompson, Jefferson: Scored 22 points in both the semifinals and finals of the Region 8-AA tournament.
Jacy Ramey, Flowery Branch: 18 points and 12 rebounds in a win over Clarke Central.
Alexis Rebollar, Chestatee: Four goals in a win over Clarke Central.
Josh Martin, Johnson: 15 saves in a shutout of Northview.
Julio Avila, East Hall: Three goals and an assist in a win over Oglethorpe County.
Saul Lopez, East Hall: Two goals and an assist in a win over Oglethorpe County.
Lauren Dunn, Flowery Branch: 11 saves in a shutout of West Hall.
Liza Carpenter, Gainesville: Three goals in a win over Lakeview.
Hartley Carter, Gainesville: Three goals in a win over Lakeview.
Anna Youmals, Gainesville: Three assists in a win over Lakeview.
Frankie Vasquez, West Hall: Six saves in a shutout of Flowery Branch.
Jonathan Beltran, Flowery Branch: 10 saves in a shutout of North Forsyth.
Julia Sienkiewicz, Flowery Branch: Three goals in a win over North Forsyth.
Tyler Marinelli, Jefferson: Won a Class AA state title in 126-pound weight class.
Forrest Przybysz, Jefferson: Won a Class AA state title in 182-pound weight class.
Cody Legg, Commerce: Won a Class A state title in 113-pound weight class.
Chance McClure, Commerce: Won a Class A state title in 220-pound weight class.
Chip Ness, Buford: Won a Class AA state title in 170-pound weight class.
Zach Moore, Jackson County: Won a Class AA state title in 120-pound weight class.
Trent Reddish, Commerce: Second in Class A 152-pound weight class.
Chase Piperato, Jefferson: Second in Class AA 106-pound weight class.
Kyle Kashuba, Jefferson: Second in Class AA 113-pound weight class.
Isaac Kelly, Jefferson: Second in Class AA 132-pound weight class.
Clay Richardson, Jefferson: Second in Class AA 138-pound weight class.
Jack Dollar, Jefferson: Second in Class AA 145-pound weight class.
Cain Finch, Jefferson: Second in Class AA 152-pound weight class.
Aaron Anderson, Jefferson: Second in Class AA 220-pound weight class.
Jake Sherman, Jefferson: Third in Class AA 160-pound weight class.
Zack Stroud, Towns County: Third in Class A 152-pound weight class.
Chris Harvey, Riverside: Third in Class A 120-pound weight class.
Nick Thompson, Riverside: Fourth in Class A 138-pound weight class.
Andy Voss, North Hall: Fourth in Class AAA 132-pound weight class.
Thomas Sweeney, Commerce: Fourth in Class A 170-pound weight class.
Bryan Whitfield, Commerce: Fourth in Class A 195-pound weight class.
Bryan Burnette, Jackson County: Fourth in Class AA 145-pound weight class.
Tyler Kratzer, North Hall: Fifth in Class AAA 138-pound weight class .
Cam Howell, North Hall: Fifth in Class AAA 220-pound weight class.
Dylan Brock, Chestatee: Fifth in Class AAA 195-pound weight class.
Timothy Collier, Towns County: Fifth in Class A 138-pound weight class.
Tyler Hoffman, Towns County: Fifth in Class A 160-pound weight class.
Daivon Leford, Jefferson: Fifth in Class AA 160-pound weight class.
Flowery Branch senior Nick Lankford had arguably his toughest draw in the Class AAAA state tournament last week not in the finals, but in the second round against a very familiar opponent.
The Falcons’ 132-pounder had already beaten 2011 state runner-up Ulises Ponce of fellow Region 8-AAAA squad Rockdale County three times during the season, but that didn’t make a fourth win any easier.
“I was really looking forward to that match,” Lankford said.
Lankford held on to win the match 3-2 at the Gwinnett Arena in Duluth, and his path to a second state title started to become clear.
“After he won his quarterfinal match — and to beat a guy four times in one year, that’s hard to do — we definitely liked his chances going into the semifinals match,” said Flowery Branch coach Shane Millwood.
Lankford saw the opening as well.
“I was like, there’s no one left in the bracket who can stop me,” Lankford said. “I wrestled real smart, real aggressive, and was not giving up any stupid points.”
That didn’t mean his final two matches were easy, he just had the confidence that the 132-pound weight class was his to lose.
“I went into the tournament thinking I could win it,” Lankford said. “I was bound and determined to go to the finals.”
The Falcons senior defeated Ryan Cole (Paulding) 4-2 in the semifinals and then rallied from a 4-1 hole to top Lambert’s Michael Nelems 6-4 in the championship match to his second state title and first in Class AAAA (he won at 103 as a freshman in Class AAA).
For his efforts, Lankford is The Times Athlete of the Week.
“From the very beginning of the season, the expectation is you always want to win your last match,” Millwood said. “For him to take that momentum now going into college, it will lead right in to his freshman year at Newberry.”
Lankford, who finished fourth last year as a junior at 119 pounds, made a run to the title despite not feeling all that well the past three weeks.
“I was sick for three weeks, all through area, sectionals, state,” Lankford said. “I knew I wasn’t going in there with as much strength.”
With that in mind Lankford didn’t go right for the pin in the state tournament, sticking to the Flowery Branch wrestling motto: Score first and score as many points as possible.
The strategy worked perfectly in winning 16-0 on a technical fall in the opening round.
But in the finals match Lankford had to come from behind.
He was down three points in the fourth, but got an escape and then scored a pair of near falls, the second, he said, on a tilt to go ahead by two with under a minute remaining.
“He chose bottom and Nick put the hammer on him,” Millwood said.
After that, all Lankford had to do was what he does best according to his coach — ride it out.
“I knew I could ride him out on top,” Lankford said. “I was trying to score as many points and then ride it out.”
Not bad for a wrestler battling a fever and a stomach bug, and not a bad way to end a high school career either.
“This tournament just meant more because it was the last year,” he said. “I wanted to go out on top.”