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Grayson defeats McEachern to win first boys basketball championship in team history

For the first time in program history, Grayson boys basketball is atop the Georgia state championship throne.

The Rams took down McEachern and five-star recruit Ace Bailey by a final score of 51-41 on Saturday night to win the Class 7A state title. Entering the weekend ranked No. 8 in the country on the Super 25 national rankings, Grayson finishes its season with a record of 30-2 — bookended with a season-opening win and championship both over McEachern.

Jacob Wilkins, a four-star wing committed to Georgia, posted 12 points and a dozen rebounds for Grayson, according to the Atlanta-Journal Constitution. He led the charge on the glass, as Grayson outrebounded McEachern 47-27.

As important as the rebounding was 6-foot-2 guard Anthony Alston’s defense on Bailey, a 6-foot-8 wing committed to Rutgers. Bailey scored 14 in the first half before Alston told Grayson head coach Geoffrey Pierce to let him go one-on-one for defense instead of zone, according to the AJC.

“Alston was the defensive player in our region this year for a reason,” Pierce said to the outlet. “He’s one of the best defenders I’ve ever coached. He came to me at halftime and said, ‘Don’t go zone anymore. I’ve got him.’ So, hats off to him for that.”

Thanks to Alston’s physical defense, Bailey scored only four points in the second half.

McEachern led by two near the end of the first half before Grayson ended the first half on a 6-0 run and then started the second half on another 6-0 run, quickly switching the small deficit to a 10-point lead.

The Rams held on, winning the game by 10.

It’s been a long time coming for Grayson, who has advanced deep into the playoffs for years but had been unable to win the title. The Rams reached the quarterfinals six of the previous eight years, getting to the Final Four four times and the title game once, and that heartbreaking, one-point championship loss in 2020 was as close as you could come to grasping the trophy without touching it.

This year, they grabbed the trophy and would not relinquish it. The Grayson Rams have won the championship.

Story originally appeared on High School Sports