Take 10: South Atlanta boys, Redan girls top metro Atlanta final basketball power rankings

Miller Grove and Tucker are a couple of boys teams Take 10 files under "Me Likey." (Jason Getz / AJC)

Miller Grove and Tucker are a couple of boys teams Take 10 files under "Me Likey." (Jason Getz / AJC)

The nets have been cut. The jerseys packed away. The hot dogs thrown in the freezer until next season. Basketball season is officially done. The champions have been crowned, but we know that’s not good enough for you.

We’ve examined the best boys and girls metro-Atlanta teams. It wasn’t easy or always fair. But we here at Take 10 Headquarters did what we could to ignore early tournament exits and consider the season as a whole.

Here are the metro Atlanta power rankings for the 10 best boys and girls teams this season:

10. Blessed Trinity (boys)/Mays (girls): The Titans fell short of a state title against Dublin but finished the season 26-7. The Raiders were a powerhouse in Class AAAA, only losing to Fayette County and Northwest Whitfield.

9. Whitefield Academy (boys)/Campbell (girls): Tyrone Johnson earned a long-awaited state championship after losing the crown in 2006 and 2007. We’d like to see Brandon Reed against some of the elite teams in the city. Campbell put together a great season and finished 25-6.

8. Tucker (boys)/Westlake (girls): The Tigers were very close to earning state titles in football and boys basketball, but that ended thanks to Miller Grove. The Lions didn’t lose a game in the state of Georgia until their final one in the Elite Eight.

7. Columbia (boys)/Marietta (girls): Freshman Jordan Price and junior JerShon Cobb will make for a talented group again next season. Running into South Atlanta made finding their second straight state title a problem. Ken Sprague’s Marietta team made a great run to reach the state title game in Class AAAAA. They’re solid against anyone with Telia McCall in the middle.

6. Westlake (boys)/Wesleyan (girls): Marcus Thornton and the Lions ran into a hot Wheeler team, but they were one of the best squads in the city all year. Wesleyan won like its 47th girls basketball state title. Maybe it was six.

5. Norcross (boys)/Fayette County (girls): Be proud of your year, Lady Tigers. Despite the loss in the Class AAAA final, you’ll be back with Anma Onyeuku next season. We’re giving Norcross a pass for having met the eventual state champ so early.

4. Milton (boys)/Buford (girls): The future is incredibly bright for the Eagles. Between Julian Royal, Shannon Scott and Dai-Jon Park, they’ll hang with anyone for the next two years. The Wolves are also set for years to come with freshman Andraya Carter.

3. Miller Grove (boys)/Parkview (girls): The Wolverines work quick for being such a young program. Mfon Udofia and Stephen Hill were incredible. The Lady Panthers were oh-so-close to a Class AAAAA finals appearance, but we think they could handle most teams in the state č outside of Redan.

2. Wheeler (boys)/Southwest DeKalb (girls): Forgive us for overlooking Kathy Richie-Walton’s team. They are legit and slowly got better throughout the season despite losing three starters off last year’s title team. The Wildcats are simply incredible. We also enjoyed the play of point guard Phil Taylor and look forward to seeing him again next year.

1. South Atlanta (boys)/Redan (girls): This decision was based on taking Derrick Favors over Wheeler’s combo of Ari Stewart and Richard Howell. Sorry, guys, Favors just has NBA written all over him. The Lady Raiders finished undefeated at 27-0 for the school’s first basketball state title.

Go on. Take Ten. Who were the best teams in the area this season? Who did we miss? Should we have bumped someone? Let us know.

104 comments Add your comment


March 19th, 2009
12:04 pm

Where are the Marist girls. They beat SW DeKalb twice by 18 points both times and beat Buford. There only loss was to Fayette County. The teams listed 6 through 10 weren’t close to the caliber of the Lady War Eagles.


March 19th, 2009
12:50 pm

Where did they end up in the playoffs? They beat Buford in double-overtime but it was in the beginning of the season.

fayette fan

March 19th, 2009
1:06 pm

what about fayette county boys team? Can they get some love too?


March 19th, 2009
1:34 pm



March 19th, 2009
1:43 pm

I agree with David, the Marist girls deserve some love. They were the only team in the state of Georgia to defeat SW DeKalb this year. I believe they could easily defeat Mays.

I mentioned this on an earlier blog, look for the Redan and SW DeKalb girls to possibly repeat next year. Also look for them to possibly schedule to play one another next season. Coach Richey-Walton NEVER shies away from scheduling tough competition.


March 19th, 2009
1:44 pm

This poll makes no sense. At first glance, it looks like it is entirely dependent on the play-offs and takes none of the regular season into consideration. Then, out of nowhere, Norcross boys are ranked 5th while someone like Centennial is not ranked. Centennial beat Wheeler once and lost once, while Norcross simply lost to them. Region 6-AAAAA showed they were the best in the tournament with Wheeler and Milton, so I do not know how you can not put the regular season 6-AAAAA champion (undefeated in region) in these rankings while Norcross is in them.


March 19th, 2009
2:10 pm

I thought this was TEAM ranking, not PLAYER rankings. Wheeler would kill South Atlanta. I call a foul on this.


March 19th, 2009
3:14 pm

To D

You out your mind if you think Wheeler would kill South Atlanta!!! South Atlanta is good but its just amazing what that ONE MAN FAVORS can do for your team….so I hope this poll is based on which team would win regardless if it’d be a one man show!

Now the thing about that South Atlanta team is whether Andre Malone shows up….they’d win with D. Favors alone, but if Malone plays well its a wrap…..that’d beat Wheeler by 10 with everyone else having a bad game besides STIX but with Malone playing his game….SA would do Wheeler like they did Centennial…..BRAKES!!!!

Often Disappointed Never Surprised

March 19th, 2009
3:18 pm

Once again, the Jonesboro High School Girls basketbal team is slighted. Our girls were 30-2 and reached the state semi-finals. Only 2 points separated Fayette County and The Lady Cardinals in the end (43-41). Not to mention the defensive gem that was demonstrated in the second half. Fayette was held to 12 points for the entire second half. Go figure! No, Go Lady Cardinals!


March 19th, 2009
3:34 pm

To base the final rankings on the how the playoffs went is ridiculous as BBfan suggests. The fact is Marist beat Buford (Buford’s only loss). Buford by the way beat Wesleyan by 21. Marist was the last team to beat SW DeKalb (region championship by 18 at the end of the season). To not include Marist because of a loss in the playoffs to the then #1 in the state seems unfair.


March 19th, 2009
3:53 pm

I agree Often…Jonesboro Girls were a solid team but I don’t see who they would knock off this list maybe Campbell. Georgia should adopt a two class basketball system!!! All schools over 900, all schools under.

Iron Mike

March 19th, 2009
4:04 pm

HAHA!!! You put BT on the list of the best 10 teams in the state. Thats laughable. They didnt win their region tournament. They lost to GAC 3 times and were not nearly as competitive against Dublin as GAC was in their final 4 loss to Dublin. GAC lost by 14 but was tied at the half and down 5 to start the 4th. BT was down 15 at the half and was never really in the game. Brackets determined that game. The real championship was GAC and Dublin in the semis. BT wouldnt be ranked in the top 10 in the state in 5A yet somehow they make the top 10 in all classifications. The AJC shouldnt even try to cover basketball because you see VERY few games and have no idea whats going on. One of the top 3 states in the country for high school basketball gets possibly the worst coverage in the country.

Tucker boys lost tons of games but got hot at the right time and that makes them the 8th best overall team?

Id take Miller Grove over South Atlanta and Wheeler. And I would take Wheeler over South Atlanta. Miller Grove had the best balance of inside and outside scoring in the state.

Please make a new list thats somewhat or legit or stop trying.


March 19th, 2009
4:17 pm

There are not 5 girls teams in America better than Wesleyan much less metro Atlanta!


March 19th, 2009
5:56 pm

There are more teams in this state better than these metro area teams. Also more readers across the state as well. How about a statewide top ten. That will show who the true good teams are. I would put Dublin boys and Carrollton girls up against anyone in the metro area in any classification.


March 19th, 2009
6:03 pm

wow how could you but BT over GAC? GAC beat them 3 times! i totally agree with Iron Mike. Blessed Trinity came out of an easier bracket and got destroyed by Dublin in the championship. At least GAC was competitive for 3 quarters in the semis.


March 19th, 2009
6:43 pm

its not hard to put up big numbers like favors does when your playing teams that dont have players taller than 6′3 like westover…wheeler beats south atlanta no question, one man team would not beat 2 ACC players and phil taylor, not to mention jerome with the way he played the last half of the year….and for god sakes, enough with the centennial nonsense, they are another 1 man team, they beat wheeler by 4 pts in december, when they met with a region title at stake they got run outta the gym, so stop harping on a december win when the knights couldnt hold wheelers’s jock when it mattered

Mr. Top Hat

March 19th, 2009
6:48 pm

You can’t base rankings, you base them on teams. Sure Derrick Favors, but he is there team. Now, Wheeler has much better guard play than SA and Wheeler has been playing zone so well that Favors wouldn’t be as affetive. And defensively, Favors cannot guard both Stewart and Howell especially cause they can both shoot the 3 ball. Base your rankings on teams not players


March 19th, 2009
7:17 pm

Well dang Wheeler fans….what is it????? Do ya’ll not want give anyone else credit….or is it that South Atlanta is ranked over Wheeler???

And ya’ll swear SA is a one man team…..honestly have you taken a look at the South Atlanta program and records?????????? They have not won the BIG ONE til this year, but they not no trash program!!! Look at the record BEFORE FAVORS….matter of fact this team is probably not the best SA team ever…Vincent Banks senior season team would probably beat this team…..and I still remember them playing in the championship game of 2003 at Georgia Tech right before Wheeler played Jonesboro……even tho South Atlanta loss that game, they was better than Wheeler then…..Steak Shapiro, Dominique Wilkins, and the other commentators agreed that SA was the better team in the state…..EVEN with the loss!!!

Its hard to see a “HOOD” school get some credit….it took having the BEST player in America to do so…..I bet Wheeler enjoyed stealing J. J. Hickson from Cleveland AVE(South Atanta school distict).

I wish ya’ll could arrange an outside game so these boys can settle it on the court…..SA is the BEST this year…..can we have atleast one year…….GOSH!!!!! lol


March 19th, 2009
7:42 pm

Miller Grove is the best team. They have better guard play then both S Atl and Wheeler. Plus they have the deepest bench and tremendous size with 3 guys they can throw at you that are 6′8″. Howell is soft and would get dominated by Favors if they played, Howell would rather try to be a guard then actually going in the post and being physical, he had a horrible post-season.

Blessed Trinity should be no where close to this list, where the heck is Dublin they beat them. Centennial and Walton would beat half the teams on this list.


March 19th, 2009
9:38 pm

South Atlanta vs. Wheeler or Miller Grove will be a toss up. For the person who commented that Favors only put’s up big numbers against smaller players, they must not have followed South Atlanta for very long. They play a national schedule just as Wheeler does and they beat some quality teams and only lost to Oak Hill by less than 10. If Malone shows up and Nick Watkins takes care of the ball, South Atlanta is scary good. Otherwise, they tend to be just the Derrick Favors show. They’ll need a complete team game to beat Wheeler or Miller Grove.


March 19th, 2009
10:53 pm

Whoever said Favors only puts up big numbers against small schools must not no where Favors gets his number 1 ranking from……well its sure not South Atlanta…..better take a look at who he plays against in the summer!!!

And I can respect Soufgamale saying it’ll be a toss up and I agree that it’ll take contribution from Malone as well as Favors to win against those two…..with them both playing well it’ll be no contest….with just Favors it will be a tough one as it was against Columbia. But I think we can agree that FAVORS has NEVER been stopped on this HS level…..he can only stop himself.

On the Oak Hill game……South Atlanta had a commanding lead most of the game then the 6′9″ 290Lbs Keith “Tiny” Gallon decides he wants to hit a unprecedented SIX 3 pointers to have a end of game comeback against SA in last minutes!

Knights Fan

March 19th, 2009
11:41 pm

Centennial has to be in this list. They were 5-2 against 5 of the teams in your top 10 as follows: Beat Whitefield Academy, Tucker, Milton twice, 1-1 against Wheeler and lost to Miller Grove.

Bee Shabazz

March 20th, 2009
12:36 am

Knights fan don’t forget Centennial got destroyed by those mighty SOUTH ATLANTA HORNETS!They did not belong on the same floor the with the best team in the state. ZONE 3 ATLANTA CITY BOYS!

Bee Shabazz

March 20th, 2009
1:15 am

Knights fan don’t forget that Centennial got destroyed by those MIGHTY SOUTH ATLANTA HORNETS. Centennial didn’t belong on the same court as S.ATL. Congratulations to those ZONE 3 ATLANTA CITY BOYZ! One of the best teams to ever come out of the state of Georgia!

giaster smithe

March 20th, 2009
1:59 am

I thought this said TEAM rankings. Let me show u how u consider the best teams………….. Take Udofia off Miller Grove’s TEAM and Howell off of Wheeler’s TEAM and both of those schools still have good TEAMS that compete for a title. Take Favors off South Atlanta’s TEAM and they dont even make the playoffs. Favors is great for player rankings but this said best TEAM rankings. Miller Grove drug S. Atlanta, Centennial, Marist, Tucker, Westlake, and 3 national ranked teams by double digits because they can play effectively 10 TEAMATES. Find TEAM in the Websters. Wheeler or Miller Grove. Im sick of S. Atlanta’s one man show being called a team.

giaster smithe

March 20th, 2009
2:06 am

One more thought. When i think Miller Grove’s Team, I think names like Mfon Udofia, Steven Hill, Tony Parker, Donte Williams, and Joe Caldwell. All D1 Players and household names. When i think Wheeler, i think Ari, Richard, Taj, Phil, and a host of other possible d1 talent. I bet u cant even name the starting lineup for S. Atlanta outside of Favors. Maybe Malone who is an average player without Favors being double teamed. Wake up AJC. Favors is good. Not the team.

south atlanta Fan

March 20th, 2009
4:41 am

We must have to go through this a thousand time that MIller Grove game Against South Atlanta was a WARM GAME THAT DIDNT COUNT and if Miller Grove would have never lost to LAKESIDE then i will put them at number 1 in the STate. IF south atlanta was a one man show then somebody would have beat them in the playoff with a good game plan.


March 20th, 2009
6:54 am

LOL @ the South Atlanta one man-team thing!

I’m just gonna chalk it up everyone saying that doesnt know South Atlanta basketball!!!!

They dont know South Atlanta is the best team out of Atlanta Public Schools the last 10 years!

They dont know South Atlanta has won the Atlanta Public Schools tournament the last 8 years including over 2-time AAAA State Champ MAYS(SA just couldnt win the BIG game)

They dont know South Atlanta had the states longest 5-Game home court winning streak for 5-years up til 2005 and thats including Wheeler, Norcross, etc.

They dont know South Atlanta has had the best JV basketball program for the last 10 years as well including a undefeated season and JV championship this year!

And they REALLY dont know Vincent Banks(former Mr. GA basketball)…..his team probably would beat this SA team but nevertheless…I’m glad of Favors because atleast they got “SOME” credit this year FINALLY!!!!!


Now South Atlanta’s program is NOT on the level of Wheeler’s….and probably will never be because they are not some recruiting power house(and ANDRE MALONE WAS NOT RECRUITED to SA). But they are a good program so can the HATING stop please!

And on Miller Grove….yea that Lakeside loss hurt bad…..but I saw the scrimmage game between MG and SA and I saw SA play during the regular season and saw a different team on the court….I guess it was like preseason football. If someone says Miller Grove is better i can respect their opinion but not Wheeler(THIS YEAR).

Tucker Fan

March 20th, 2009
8:16 am

Bless Trinity could not hold water with Tucker or any other team in Reagion 6. This is the strongest region in the state that is why the champion has come out of this region the last 4 years. Team means a unit playing together to get the best of your ability and if you look at the Tucker line up you can see they got the best out of their ability to make them one of the better teams in the Atlanta area.


March 20th, 2009
9:21 am


South Atlanta had the state of Georgia’s longest home court winning streak for 5-years up til 2005 and thats including longer than Wheeler, Norcross, etc.

blue devil

March 20th, 2009
9:57 am

Norcross hasn’t lost at home since 2003.


March 20th, 2009
10:25 am

Yea Norcross may have the longest current streak….South Atlanta’s was broken in 2005 by Mays(eventual State Champs)

My point in stating that was to let it be known that South Atlanta didnt just become a progam when Derrick Favors arrived.

fayette fan

March 20th, 2009
11:07 am

again wheres the love for fayette county boys? miller grove beat everybody by double digits in the state playoffs except for fayette boys.

Columbia Alumni

March 20th, 2009
12:02 pm

Where are the columbia girls. they made a name for themselves by making it to the playoffs. them girls were very talented and will make another and deeper run next year. and dont forget they lost to the eventual state champs carrollton in the quarterfinals.

Miller Grove's #1 Fan

March 20th, 2009
2:11 pm

I see you failed to mention that Miller Grove beat South Atlanta and Centennial! Congratulations to “The Miller Grove Wolverines” Repeat


March 20th, 2009
3:55 pm

My only comment is that this list is terrible. Tucker fails to show up in the finals and gets rewarded in an All Class top 10? No comment.

South Atlanta Fan

March 20th, 2009
6:44 pm

millar grove’s #1 fan u might wanna check gasports.com and see what was the score when miller grove beat south atlanta and let me know what it was lol

MGHS Bball #1

March 20th, 2009
9:17 pm

LOL come on South Atlanta Fan, just because the game was not listed on Ga Sports doesn’t make it irrelevant! It was still A GAME and the stats are still out there….final score 70-61…S. ATL lost!!! Scrimmage, tournament, whatever….a game was played with 10 players on the court and plenty of fans in the stands including myself!

By the way, Favors stats in that game were as follows: 34 points, 20 rebounds, and 11 blocked shots…..don’t get me wrong, FAVORS is one of the top players in the country, but hmmm sounds like a one man team to me! :-)

Let’s Go Wolverines!!!

giaster smithe

March 20th, 2009
11:00 pm

South Atlanta fan stop being in denial with the scrimmage excuse. Title the game what u want, they played and Favors played well but they lost 70-61 and Miller Grove missed 27 Free throws. Couldve won by 40+. Everyone played and the coaches coached. Game was November 13th to be exact. First game of the season was Nov. 18th. Would it make u feel beter if they had waited 5 days so u could have titled the game SEASON OPENER instead of SCRIMMAGE. lol. Ur funny. S. Atlanta lost. Quit making excuses.

MGHS Bball #1

March 21st, 2009
12:49 am

Thank you Giaster Smithe! Well said! I forgot about those missed free throws…..we could have really smashed S. Atl even more! ;-)

Is it me or are you guys missing HS basketball already????? :-(

MGHS Bball #1

March 21st, 2009
1:06 am

By the way, don’t you think a Tournament of Champions would be nice? Justin Young suggested it on his blogspot Georgia Hoops. He suggests the individual State Champs play each other for an overall State Champ. However, since it’s 5 teams, would have to re-seed the playoff tournament to 32 teams.

Sounds like a good idea…..then we could see who TRULY is the #1 TEAM in the state of Georgia!


March 21st, 2009
1:12 am

Hold on hold Miller Grove people…..give me a honest opinion of why you think ya’ll are not getting national love or even instate love over SA??? Just curious…be honest!

Secondly….I’ll give it to ya’ll….ya’ll are one of the teams that Andre Malone would have to play his game as well for them to kill ya’ll…now I was at that game……and you didnt see South Atlanta play good ball(Malone didnt hit a shot)….you can enjoy winning that scrimmage all you want….I’m sure many people have seen Miller Grove AND SA play and its just funny that you dont even make the regional rankings.

It could be thay ya’ll were just about to be ranked, but then lost a game(Lakeside) u shouldnt have so that may have killed it for ya’ll. South Atlanta is good for losing a game it shouldnt lose but this year that didnt happen…there 3 losses were respected losses.

But ya’ll can have your lil scrimmage win…i dont care if it was played a day before the first REAL game of the season…..South Atlanta won its first game soundly over Centennial!


March 21st, 2009
4:30 am



March 21st, 2009
10:19 am

miller grove beat centennial and south atlanta we should be first !!!!4A STATE CHAMPS !!!!! NOTE we blew tucker out in the championship game

MGHS Bball #1

March 21st, 2009
10:40 am

Hey TRU that’s one thing we both agree on; both of our teams beat a AAAAA team, Centennial……so that would make them OVERATED!! :-)


March 21st, 2009
6:37 pm

Let’s not forget about senior guard, Tony Dukes from Morrow. Just recently named 2009 Southern Crescent-Clayton County Player of the Year! If you don’t know, now you know…………………


March 22nd, 2009
3:16 am

Miller Grove actually beat South Atlanta in a scrimmage in pre-season. The Wolverines lost 1 game in Georgia and they beat Centennial. Region 6-AAAA has proven to be the toughest region in football & basketball. # 3 is great, but Miller Grove deserves to be # 1


March 22nd, 2009
8:34 am



March 22nd, 2009
9:21 pm

**FYI** Derrick Favors got his numbers on EUHRBODY!!!! Are you kiddin me,Duncanville,Tx have 5
player over 6′7,Derrick got his and a win.Two of the player will suit for texas next year.Look at who they played before you blog with bald assumptions!

south atlanta Fan

March 22nd, 2009
11:34 pm

lol yep we did beat up on overrated centennial and yeah Derrick did go to work on everybody we played if he had a bad game he’ll still have more than 25 points a game