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Maynard Jackson claims first state title in historic championship game

On Thursday, the Georgia High School Association basketball state championship tournaments continued and in the girls Class 5A title game, the Maynard Jackson Jaguars and the Midtown Knights would meet for the fourth time this season with the Jaguars having won all three of their previous matchups. Thursday's meeting also marked a historic moment in Atlanta Public Schools history as it was the first time two programs from the district faced one another in a state championship game.

The opening quarter would get off to a sluggish start for both teams as they each had shooting struggles early on as they game remained tied up 2-2 for nearly the first three minutes of the period, but the Knights would go on a 10-2 run to take a 12-4 lead, however that Jaguars would respond with a quick 6-2 run to close out the quarter trailing 14-10.

In the second quarter, the Knights would open up on a 5-2 run and take a 19-12 lead, but the Jaguars defense would begin to make their presence felt forcing several Midtown turnovers and go on a 16-3 run to take a 28-22 lead by halftime. In the third quarter, Maynard Jackson would extend their lead, as they would go up by as many as 14 points, but foul trouble and turnovers by the Jaguars would help the Knights get within six points as they trailed 36-30 before a jumper from Taliah Cornish would give the Jaguars a 38-30 lead by the end of the quarter.

In the fourth quarter, the Knights would close the Maynard lead and trail 38-35 after back to back baskets by Devin Brockman, who led all players with 23 points, but despite foul troubles continuing for the Jaguars, they stuck with their defensive pressure and took advantage of the Knights shooting struggles to close out the quarter outscoring Midtown 20-6 to pick up the 58-44 win and claim their first GHSA state title in program history. "It feels amazing. My teammates have been working all year for this, I've been working since my ninth grade year for this. This is what I've been waiting for" Maynard Jackson senior, Taliah Cornish, who also celebrated her birthday on Thursday, said after the win.

Cornish, who finished with 11 points, credited her teammates for battling through adversity in Thursday's win as foul trouble plagued them throughout the night. "We're a very aggressive team and we get to fouling real fast, so my teammates being able to step up was a big thing for us and I'm so proud of them," Cornish said as the Jaguars bench was able to step up when Maynard Jackson began to get into foul trouble.


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