Decatur High’s boys and girls basketball teams ran into a tsunami Thursday night at Greater Atlanta Christian.
The girls shot 23 percent from the field, including 0 for 15 from three-point range, in losing 53-34. But matters only got worse as the evening wore on, with the GAC boys dismantling Decatur 76-42.
“Part of it, this was a great team we played tonight,” said boys coach Charlie Copp. “We’ll play a lot of good teams this season, but [GAC] was a great team, and I can’t imagine we’ll play anyone one better.
“They basically have three really good players,” he added, “then a bunch of outstanding role players, which has been their formula for the last few years.”
Those three players were point forward Isaiah Wilkins, who scored 21 points, point guard Collin Swinton, who also had 21, and thick-bodied shooting guard Delano Spencer who had 11.
Particularly impressive was the 6-6 junior Wilkins, adoptive son of Atlanta Hawks great Dominique Wilkins. He hit three three-pointers, had two dunks including one off a lob, and for the heck of it threw in a couple mid-range jumpers, including one nifty step-back move.
GAC ran off the game’s first nine points and never looked back, though Decatur climbed within 19-18 two minutes into the second quarter before the Spartans scored another seven straight.
GAC combined precision ball movement, an occasional fast break and suffocating defense that forced Decatur into 26 turnovers.
The Bulldogs made 15 of 41 shots from the field for 37 percent. Senior point guard Kendall Ford came off to bench to lead Decatur with 10.
“This game made us realize we aren’t nearly as good as we thought we were,” Copp said. “It really advertised our weaknesses, particularly our inability to concentrate for long periods. We’d play good for a stretch, then soon as we’d lose focus they’d run off eight straight points. This game was a series of eight-point runs.”
It was the worst boys loss in at least a decade. You have to go back to Feb. 19, 2005, a 76-43 state playoff loss to Josey, to find anything close.
The girls likewise had a disastrous evening, even though they out-rebounded GAC 46-44. But poor shooting and no offensive cohesiveness – 22 turnovers and only two team assists – doomed the Lady Bulldogs on this night.
Jordan Dillard had 18 points and seven rebounds, senior post Alana Johnson had seven points and 10 rebounds while point guard Brianna Nixon had a career-high nine rebounds.
Both the girls and boys are 3-1. GAC’s boys are 4-0, girls 4-1.
Decatur now gets a sneak preview of Region 6-AAA, with four consecutive region games beginning next Tuesday against Woodward at the Spike. The girls play at 5:30, the boys at 7:00.
Decatur then plays at Blessed Trinity, at McNair and at home against St. Pius X on Dec. 14, and doesn’t return to regional play until Jan. 8.