Staff Photo: John Bohn Peachtree Ridge players Cole Romaguera (14) and Brandon Jack (33), at right, join their teammates while showing their emotions during the final moments of their game against Alpharetta, in a second round Class AAAAA boys basketball game Wednesday. Alpharetta defeated Peachtree Ridge 80-69.
SUWANEE -- Sporting a nine-game winning streak, Peachtree Ridge came into Tuesday night's second round playoff game with Alpharetta playing about as well as anyone in the tournament.
As it turned out, Alpharetta had a hot streak of its own going on.
The Raiders, in the playoffs for the first time in their eight-year history, rode Ty Toney and Carlos Burses' offensive performances as Alpharetta stunned the Region 7-AAAAA champs 80-69.
Toney, who led all players with 36 points, got off to a strong start with 11 in the first quarter and never slowed down, eventually helping fend off a late charge by the Lions with 14 more in the fourth.
Burse was also steady all night, following up with 25 points, including nine in a second period that saw Alpharetta take control.
"We got behind and had to put a lot of effort into coming back," Peachtree Ridge head coach Keith Arrington said. "We had our chances but just couldn't come back. That's the nature of the game."
The Raiders (18-12) led 18-16 after the first and opened the second quarter with a 10-2 run in building a 28-18 lead.
By halftime, the Lions were in a 42-31 hole.
Midway through the third, the Lions began to slowly but surely claw their way back, getting as close as 52-48 with 1:30 left in the period off a bucket by Brandon Jack.
But Toney and Burse combined for the next five points, giving the Raiders back the cushion they had built earlier in the game.
Down 57-50 at the start of the fourth, the Lions looked to Jordan Capps for offensive support and received it as Capps, who led the Lions with 26 points and nine rebounds, scored seven in the period.
His dunk with just over five minutes left brought Peachtree Ridge to within three at 63-60, while Cole Romaguera hit one of two free throws just seconds later to get within two at 63-61.
But the Lions would get no closer. Toney continued to do his damage, especially from the free throw line as he hit 12 of 16 in the fourth quarter alone to help keep the Lions at arm's length.
Free throws played a huge part in Alpharetta's win as the Raiders converted 32 of 45 attempts, while the Lions were just 8 of 24.
"They got there and they made them," Arrington said of Alpharetta's free-throw performance. "They did a much better job than we did. (Alpharetta) played well and did a good job."
Bjorn Walker helped in the win for the Raiders with 10 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.
Peachtree Ridge guard Benny Johnson also had a solid game, scoring 12 points with seven assists and seven rebounds, while Jack finished with 10 points and six boards. Romaguera finished with nine points.
The Raiders, now winners of five of their last six, advance to the Class AAAAA state quarterfinals next Saturday at the University of West Georgia.
"This win is humongous for us," Alpharetta head coach Fredrick Hurt said. "We've been trying to get things turned around for us and this is a big win for us. we're in the Elite Eight for the first time and it's amazing."
For Peachtree Ridge, its playoff run came to an end after a surprising run in the Region 7-AAAAA tournament.
"We put a lot of effort into this season," Arrington said. "At midseason, no one even gave us a chance of winning our region. This was a great group of kids and coaches and I'm fortunate to have had them."