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Alabama power routs shorthanded GAC boys

DECATUR -- Greater Atlanta Christian would have been overmatched against unbeaten Alabama power Wenonah even with Delano Spencer.

But Spencer didn't play Wednesday in the first round of the Converse Invitational at Columbia and he won't play for the Spartans the rest of the season.

Already out with an ankle sprain, the 6-foot-3 senior guard is academically ineligible for the second semester.

The loss of Spencer, who had signed with Georgia Southern in November, is a blow to GAC's hopes of a third Class AA state title in four years.

But the Spartans (9-2) aren't thinking about that at the moment. Coach Eddie Martin will just try to use the rest of the Converse Invitational to get his team back on track after an embarrassing makeup call.

Wenonah (13-0) jumped on GAC early and never let up, going 15-for-26 from behind the 3-point arc in a 92-56 rout.

Martin had some great Norcross teams while winning four Class AAAAA state titles. But he may not have had one any more talented then Wenonah, which has won back-to-back Alabama Class AAAAA state titles and is a heavy favorite to make it three straight this season.

Isaiah Maston, who has signed with South Alabama, hit four 3-pointers en route to 16 points against GAC and the guard was just the Dragon's fourth option on offense.

Derunnya Wilson, a 6-foot-6 senior who was runner-up for Alabama's Mr. Basketball last season, had 22 points, 10 rebounds and four assists. Justin Coleman had 20 points and six assists, while fellow junior Marcus Williams hit six 3-pointers en route to his 20.

Meanwhile, 6-foot-11 senior Artis Cleveland blocked five shots to show that the Birmingham team wasn't just about offense.

"Only two teams have come within 25 points of us and we won those games by 15 and 12," Wenonah coach Cedric Lane said. "The guys that hit those 3-pointers usually hits them. It isn't a big surprise when we shoot like that."

GAC committed nine turnovers while falling behind 24-8 after one quarter. It was 44-21 at halftime and 71-42 going into the final quarter.

Isaiah Wilkins had 14 points, nine rebounds, four blocked shots and three assists for the Spartans, but bright spots were few and far between. Justin Lewis scored 11 points and Cam Boyd had a trio of 3-pointers for nine.

The loss was the second straight for GAC after a 9-0 start. The Spartans made it to the title game of the Carrollton Christmas Tournament without Spencer, but lost 61-54 to the host Trojans.

Now GAC must regroup to play defending Class A state champ Whitefield Academy in a consolation game at 11:30 a.m. today. The Wolfpack lost 66-65 in overtime to Bartow, Fla., on a basket by 6-foot-9 Christopher Perry at the buzzer.

Whitefield had sent the game into overtime on Braelen Phillips' last-second 3-pointer. Eric Lockett had 20 points for Whitefield (5-5) and Perry scored 22 for Bartow (9-1).