When he looks back over the course of the 2010-2011 boys’ basketball season, Greater Atlanta Christian Schools Head Coach Eddie Martin says he knew early on that his defending state champion team would be able to compete with anybody.
In the third game of the season, South Atlanta High School traveled to the Spartans’ home court as one of the top teams in the state. But, a convincing 94–80 victory showed that Greater Atlanta Christian Schools had what it took to go all the way again this season.
“When we played South Atlanta over at our place, they were on paper and in real life one of the teams to beat in AA this year – they were loaded,” Martin said. “The fact that we were able to play them early in the season and beat them at our place proved to myself as well as our players that we could play with anybody.”
Malcolm Brogdon, one of the Spartans' top players, also said defeating the vaunted South Atlanta squad is one of his favorite memories of the season.
“They were ranked so high and we beat them twice,” Brogdon said. “We were better the second time.”
As the season progressed, so did the Spartans. In December and January, the squad traveled to two out of state tournaments, one in Myrtle Beach and one in Springfield, Missouri. Playing with some of the top competition in the country helped the team to find its identity.
“We had two out of state tournaments and played against very good competition and played in a couple showcase events,” Martin said. “When I look back, that’s what helped prepare this team to make a postseason run.”
The remarkable streak the team had when they returned from Missouri proved just how good of a team Greater Atlanta Christian had. Including the final game of that tournament, the team won 19 of its last 20 games and ended the season on a 15-game winning streak.
“We were getting into the last third of the season and everyone was starting to understand their role a little bit better and the team chemistry was starting to come together,” Martin said. “As a coach, that’s what you want. You want everything to start coming together that last part of the season.”
After cruising through the playoffs, the championship game was set March 12 in Macon. The Spartans were set to take on the Buford Wolves, a team they had seen earlier in the season. Back on Jan. 8, the Spartans defeated Buford on the road, but it was a closely contested game with a final score of 60–54.
This time around, though both teams were well prepared going into the game, Martin said his team’s 76–36 rout of the Wolves was one of those inexplicable instances where everything just went right.
“We were hungry,” he said. “We wanted that title again and everything seemed to fall into place for us on that particular night.”
All season long the Spartans were a team that relied on its perimeter play and outside shooting, but in the championship game strong contributions were made in the post by sophomore AJ Davis who had 14 points and senior Trent Boyd, who had 13.
The GAC team is losing four strong seniors in Boyd, Brogdon, Paul Dawson, and Morgan Ingram, but those seniors have learned valuable lessons as two time state champions.
“I’ll leave high school knowing that you can’t win by yourself,” Brogdon said. “It always takes a team.”
And now with two state championships in hand, the Spartans are still hungry and will be looking to hoist the trophy for a third consecutive year in 2012.
“We’re satisfied with the outcome of this season,” Martin said. “Give us about a month to relax and enjoy it and then we’ll go back to work preparing for next year.”
Editor's note: The team was originally referred to as the Trojans and not the Spartans. Our sincere apologies for this blaring mistake.