No. 22-ranked Upson-Lee (Thomaston, Ga.) will have a tough time winning its second consecutive state title and defending its 62-game winning streak because three of its players will not play after being arrested.
As reported by Atlanta TV station WXGA, varsity players Ja’Corey Smith, Rodney Raines, and Otis Javeon Walker were among four people arrested by Thomaston police for marijuana possession and criminal trespass. The players were arrested Saturday night, a day after they defeated Sandy Creek (Tyrone) 52-51 in a 4A semifinal.
The policy of Thomaston-Upton County Schools is to prohibit participation in school activities following an arrest until the investigation is complete, which would keep the three out of the state championship game this weekend.
The Knights are 30-0 and have won 62 games in a row, fourth-best all-time in Georgia, and are going for their 63rd consecutive victory on Saturday, when they play St. Pius X (Atlanta) in the 4A state championship.
Zyrice Scott, a guard for Upson-Lee was among the players acknowledging the reports on Twitter:
The Knights will still have leading scorer Tye Fagan, who has signed with Middle Tennessee State.
The arrests could have implications beyond the state championship as the Knights are among the teams being considered for the GEICO High School Basketball Nationals postseason tournament in New York.
Follow Jim Halley on Twitter: @jimhalley