Pieces come together to push McEachern to second state title
by Adam Carrington
acarrington@mdjonline.com
March 10, 2014 04:00 AM | 2421 views | 10 10 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
McEachern’s Taylor Gordon gets a hug from coach Phyllis Arthur after the Lady Indians won their second state title in three years on Saturday.
McEachern’s Taylor Gordon gets a hug from coach Phyllis Arthur after the Lady Indians won their second state title in three years on Saturday.
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The wait was worth it for McEachern senior forward Taylor Gordon.

After Gordon was ineligible to play last season due to transfer rules, she was cleared this season to play at McEachern after playing her underclassman seasons at North Cobb.

She’s always lived in McEachern’s district but attended North Cobb for its magnate program. When the decision was made to return to her intended high school, she had to sacrifice a year of varsity basketball.

Upon returning for the 2013-14 season, she helped the Lady Indians win their second title in three years with an 82-61 win over Archer in the Class AAAAAA state championship Saturday at Macon Centreplex.

The first half was a battle with McEachern was holding on to a four-point lead at the break, but the Lady Indians exploded in the third quarter and outscored Archer 25-11 to get the separation they needed.

“She was very emotional,” sophomore guard Jada Lewis said of Gordon. “It was amazing to win a state championship for her and all the seniors.”

Gordon, a Wake Forest, signee played her part against Archer by scoring nine points and going 5-for-6 from the free throw line. Caliya Robinson, a former Kell player and one of the nation’s top junior prospects, led with 20 points and 11 rebounds. Te’a Cooper added 17 and Lewis finished 14.

After winning its first state title in 2012 with a perfect 33-0 record, McEachern becomes Cobb County’s first Georgia High School Association’s multi-state champion in girls basketball since the tournament’s inception in 1945. Marietta (1951), Sprayberry (1971), Wheeler (1998) and Pope (1999) are the other local winners.

Although the Lady Indians (28-2)

didn’t go undefeated this year, they were flawless against in-state opponents.

The return of Cooper and Jada Lewis helped, and both of them are expected to be in a McEachern uniform next year. The additions of Robinson and Aunesha Williams, who transferred from Cherokee, also helped.

With the new faces on the roster, and Gordon joining the team after a year of ineligibility, it took the first month of the season for the Lady Indians to get comfortable playing together.

It showed against Archer on Saturday when Klin Tisha Martin, Declaria Daniels and Ziendrea Bridges made contributions off the bench in the second half when Cooper and Robinson were on the bench with multiple fouls.

“When you look at the X’s and O’s, we were favored, but I talked to the girls before the game and that we had to go in there, play hard and hold our own,” McEachern coach Phyllis Arthur said. “At the beginning of November, they weren’t doing that. They’ve grown up so much since then.”

McEachern cruised through the state tournament bracket, winning games by an average of 36.7 points, but Archer made the Lady Indians prove they were the superior team in the second half against Archer.

While McEachern held the lead in the first half – it reached 10 points toward the end of the first quarter – it had difficulty shaking Archer. The Lady Tigers managed to tie the game at 27-all in the second quarter by hitting a variety shots inside, beyond the arc and layups.

“They had some parts we weren’t used to seeing,” Arthur said of Archer. “Some teams would have good guards or good inside games, they had the total package. It was just a young package.”

In the second half, Arthur said McEachern put more emphasis in relaxing and running the floor. The Lady Indians finished the game with 28 points off turnovers and had 16 fast break points.

Comments
(10)
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Reply to ugliness
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March 13, 2014
To Pretty Sure and Exactly: You don't know me and you don't know what my relationship is to MHS or the girls basketball team but yet you think you know everything. You are an example of just why I posted what I did. GO AWAY!! I will leave you with this and by the way, GROW UP!

Congratulations Girls! Don't listen to any negative comments! You deserve what you got and we are SO proud of you!!

get it straight.
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March 13, 2014
deep down coach arthur is not a bad person. she allowed herself to be used by omar cooper. omar cooper does not care about coach arthur, mceachern high school or the children he is recruiting. he is only using them to turn te'a into a star. the recruitees deserves what they get. but they should realize that they are being used for omar cooper's daughter.
Nice Things to Say
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March 11, 2014
Congratulations Girls! Don't listen to any negative comments! You deserve what you got and we are SO proud of you!!
Pretty Sure
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March 11, 2014
I am pretty sure the McEachern girls aren't reading the paper. These posts are for the corrupt adults like you who are teaching their kids that cheating is okay if you win and don't get caught. Nice parenting! Just rememeber that you are the one that taught your daughter these lessons.
Exactly
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March 12, 2014
That si thing I don't understand. Are these parents so sad that they are willing to do anything for basketball games? Basketball games! They are teaching their daughters to turna blind eye to cheating when it benfits them. Soon they will wonder why their baby girl is in prison. Well, it is because they taught their daughter cheating is okay if you don't get caught. They never teach them whats happens when you do get caught. This is truly hard to stomch.
Cmon Now
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March 11, 2014
Saying McEachern has the strongest team in the state is fine because they do. Saying Te'a and Caliya are great players is fine too because they are. However, let's not exaggerate. First of all, several of their players were recruited, not developed by Coach Arthur. There Jr. program is not that great as is evidenced by their results at that level so let's not say the junior program is the key to their success when the key players on their team this year never went through that program. Third, let's not say Caliya Robinson moved to McEachern because Kell didn't care about her grades. They bent over backwards for her. Fourth, let's not say Caliya's mom asked Mr. Cooper to take Caliya in when the evidence submitted proves otherwise. The county records show that!

I am happy for the girls and their success but I will not glamorize what they did and ignore how they did it! Truth be told, Omar Cooper is really the won who deserves a State Championship ring because without him, they wouldn't have won a thing.
Move on!
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March 11, 2014
After the article on Caliya and the game on GPB, there is no way McEachern is going to get in any type of trouble. When good people are scared to speak up, these type of things happen. It happens all the time in Washington and everywhere for that matter. This is much easier to get away with though becasue it is just girls basketball. you all would be better off moving on and recruiting your own players instead of griping about it all the time and accomplishing nothing.
Yeah Right!
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March 11, 2014
"The pieces acame together." Another typo by the MDJ. What it was supposed to read was "The pieces were brought together durinng the off-season." If Coach Arthur has done anything it has been getting a group of recruited all-stars to play together. Of course, that wasn't even that hard when 4 of them score in double digits every game. Players seem to get along and play nice when they all can score.
Facts Straight
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March 10, 2014
Destiny Gibbs (Southwest Dekalb) played for AOT, Taylor Gordon (North Cobb) played for AOT, Caliya Robinson (Kell) played for AOT, Audrisha Williams (Cherokee) played for Cherokee, and Aunesha Williams (Cherrokee) played for Cherokke. AOT is coached by Omar Cooper, father of Te'a Cooper. He talked all five of these players and players's families to transfer to McEachern to play with his daughter. He uses McEachern's facility free of charge to train his athletes and then pursuades them to come to McEachern. He has two sons that play for the McEachern junior program. He will do the same for the boys in two years if not stopped now. Recruiting is illegal by GHSA. GHSA needs to stand by their constitution and by laws and uphold the standards for all programs. There is no balance to high school sports right now. If you don't recruit you don't win. Look at the last 10 state champs in girls and boys basketball (highest level). All are recruiters.

I truly don't blame them. People are going to do what the system allows you to do. The bottom line is if you try to develop players others will try to come and get them. Very sad side of high school sports!
The Truth
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March 11, 2014
Facts Straight said it best. There really is no point anymore to developing players because someone is going to steal them away in the off-season. A coach's best bet to win is to get out and recruit. The GHSA knows and wants this to happen, folks. They are well aware of what is going on and turn a blind eye to it for the same reason politicians do. Swearngin adn others in the GHSa are obviously on the take and receiving some type of kickback from someone. Ther eis no other explanation as to why they would ignore evidence given to them. I think people need to stop looking at McEachern and start looking at the GHSA. Maybe Statefarm, their big sponsor, needs to be contacted and informed they are sponsoring a crooked organization.
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