Frankquon Sherman leads Grovetown to 1st basketball title
MACON, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Frankquon Sherman took over in the 6A championship Friday, leading Grovetown to a 60-53 win over Buford, its first state title in program history.
The offense started a little slow as Buford jumped out to a 5-0 lead. Things started to pickup, and the former Lincoln County Red Devil got the energy flowing with a fast break dunk to give the Warriors their first lead of the ball game.
Buford played a 2-3 zone early on, letting Grovetown get open looks from three point range. The Warriors connected on three of nine attempts from beyond the arc in the first quarter, and the teams were knotted at 12 after one.
Grovetown coach Darren Douglas has been here before. He won a state title with Aquinas in 2018, the Irish’s first championship. In the second quarter, he did what championship coaches do. He took what the defense was giving him. Douglas put in sharpshooter EJ Kency, and Kency made Buford’s zone pay. The junior went on a solo 9-0 run, sparking the Warrior offense.
Grovetown took a 32-19 lead into the half.
“I just kind of knew, knowing [Buford head coach] coach Wood and his background that they were going to push and try to fight,” Douglas said.
That’s exactly what Buford did in the second half. Grovetown’s Malik Ferguson got into foul trouble in the third quarter. Without their primary ball handler, Grovetown’s offense struggled, and the Wolves came scorching back, tying things up at 43 with a minute to go in the third quarter.
When the going got tough, Sherman got going. He became a force at both ends of the floor. He used every bit of his 6′6″ frame to impose his will on offense, and protect the rim on defense. Sherman finished the game with game highs in points (23) and rebounds (13), an encore to his 20-10 performance from the state semi-final. He shot 7/13 from the floor, 1/2 from deep, and 8/11 from the line. He punctuated the win with a poster dunk over Buford’s David Burnett that nearly blew the roof off the Macon Coliseum.
“I haven’t had a guy like that since [Cleveland State’s] Tre Gomillion at Aquinas, where we knew if we got him the basketball he was going to score or he was going to the free throw line,” Douglas said after the game. “Most teams don’t have that.”
When asked how he was able to perform so well on the biggest stage, Sherman credited the guys around him.
“It’s great to be able to play like that, but you can’t do that without your teammates. It all starts with the team,” he said. “Everybody shares the ball. We don’t worry about [individual performances]. We just worry about getting the win as a team.”
Behind Sherman’s monster game, Grovetown held on to win, earning the first state title in program history. After being ranked just once all season--a #10 ranking in week 5--the Warriors were the last boys 6A team standing.
“They better know now,” said sophomore Derrion Reed. Reed fouled out in the fourth quarter, but still finished with 11 points. “They disrespected us at the beginning. They learned now. They’re going to put some respect on GT’s name.”
As they soak in the moment, the best may still be yet to come. The Warriors only graduate two seniors, Jose Rodriguez and Jaden Cobb. Cobb didn’t play in Friday’s championship, but Rodriguez played 15 solid minutes, and iced the game with two free throws to put Grovetown up four in the final seconds.
But Sherman, Ferguson, Kency, and Reed will all be back next year. As will Markel Freeman (8 points in 29 minutes) and Khaleed Haywood (5 points in 19 minutes off the bench).
As good as Sherman was in the state title run this year, Douglas thinks he has another level.
“He’s really just naturally gifted. I think he’s going to be even more scary next year when he has an offseason under him, because he was kind of hurt this offseason,” Douglas said.
The thought of this core coming back even stronger has these guys ready to get back after it. Reed’s response to the question, “How soon do you think about a repeat?” sums it up.
They’ll focus on next year when the time comes. For right now, Douglas wants his guys to enjoy the moment. He’s going to.
“I’m going to go watch all these TV shows like Ozark,” Douglas said when asked what the next thing for him is. “I don’t watch TV during basketball season, so I just got all of it. I looked at my Netflix before I left my house this morning and I was like, ‘oh yea baby I’m on it.’ I’m going to catch up on all of that.”
Grovetown makes it three state championships for the CSRA in Macon, joining the Westside boys (2A) and the Cross Creek boys (3A).
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