NORCROSS — The only scary moment for the defending state champion Greater Atlanta Christian boys in their opener came in the final seconds of the first half.
It was enough, though, to turn Bradford Gymnasium completely silent.
His team already ahead by 33 points, A.J. Davis went up for a dunk with a Lovett defender underneath him and lost his balance. Flipping in the air, he came crashing to the floor, landing on his shoulder and back of the head.
Fortunately, Davis wasn’t knocked out nor did he suffer any broken bones. But the 6-foot-6 sophomore remained in the locker room during the second half as GAC completed the 83-35 rout of Lovett in a Region 6-AA game Friday.
“He has a headache, but I think he’s going to be OK,” Spartans coach Eddie Martin said. “That was a scary fall. He’s fortunate.”
With the graduation of inside force Trent Wiedeman, GAC needs a breakout season from Davis to repeat as Class AA champion. Before he was hurt, Davis had eight points, seven rebounds and a blocked shot.
“There’s a time to try to dunk and a time not to,” Martin said. “When there is a player under you, it’s not the time.”
GAC, ranked No. 1 again in the preseason coaches poll for Ga.PrepCounty.com, scored off the opening tip and kept pulling away from outmanned Lovett, which was missing six football players.
Virginia signee Malcolm Brogdon, the reigning Gwinnett Daily Post player of the year, had 15 points, eight rebounds and eight assists despite leaving the game early in the third quarter. Paul Dawson, a four-year starter at point guard, had 13 points and four assists, while Morgan Ingram came off the bench to score 12 points.
Lovett’s only offense came on 3-pointers. Drew Brown hit six from behind the arc and scored a game-high 20 points. Andrew Wilson had 11 points for Lovett (0-2) and hit the Lions’ other two 3-pointers.
GAC made seven 3-pointers, with Dawson hitting three of them. The Spartans also excelled at the foul line, going 12-for-13.
But it was on the boards where GAC really dominated. The Spartans had 43 rebounds to 15 for Lovett.
The game was moved to 4 p.m. to allow Lovett fans to attend the Lions’ state semifinal football game at Buford and change in time forced a switch from the Long Forum. But that was the only obstacle for the Spartans.
“For an opener, I was pleased,” Martin said. “We were a little sloppy, but we shot the ball very well.”
Things get tougher for GAC next weekend, with games against Region 6-AA challenger South Atlanta and defending Class AAAAA state champion Milton, ranked No. 1 nationally by USA Today.
The Spartans get one more tune-up. GAC plays Therrell in a Region 6-AA game on Tuesday. Davis’ status is the Spartans’ biggest question.