AA basketball blog: Five girls teams to watch

Model is ranked No. 1 in the state and the girls have won 24 straight games. But are they the Blue Devils the favorite going in the Class AA tournament, which begins Friday?

Model (27-1) went through the regular season with an unblemished subregion record and hasn’t lost a game since falling to Rome-area rival Darlington on Nov. 25. The Devils avenged that loss in the final of Rome News-Tribune Holiday Festival.

Model could be hurt by the lack of close games. The girls beat Pepperell by four points and survived to beat Calhoun 35-33 in the Region 7-AA championship game. They play solid defense (37 points per game) and score plenty of points (59 points per game). Carla Clemmons and Timia Reynolds is a talented one-two punch that any team would love to have.

Model opens at home against a 21-8 Union County team and would play the Jordan-Greater Atlanta Christian winner in the second round.

Here are four other teams to watch in the Class AA tournament:

Buford: The three-time defending state champions have had an unusual season and have shown great perseverance under some adverse circumstances. The No. 3-ranked Wolves won Region 6, perhaps the deepest league in the state, without losing a subregion game.

Coach Gene Durden’s team started the season without Tennessee signee Andraya Carter, who was rehabbing from off-season knee surgery. Carter was finally cleared to return in January, but is still not at full-strength.

To complicate matters, forward MacKenzie Darrah dislocated her hip in an unusual accident against Decatur. And post player Kristina Nelson has a shoulder that requires a major-league tape job for every game.

Fortunately the team has gotten great production from junior Kaela Davis, another Tennessee commit. Nelson has played through her difficulties and unheralded senior Emily Adams has provided plenty of big plays and big points down the stretch.

Buford (24-4) beat No. 6Lovett 45-39 in the region championship game and will open the tournament against Kendrick (17-10). A win would match the Wolves against the North Oconee-River Ridge winner.

Laney: The No. 2 Wildcats field one of the strongest offensive teams in the tournament. Laney is 26-1 and brings a 23-game winning streak into the state playoffs. The only loss came against Region 3-AAA champion Washington County on Nov. 26.

When it comes to scoring points, the Region 3 champs simply open the tap and lets the baskets comes; they poured out 33 in one period against arch-rival Josey to erase a lead. They get a ton of points off their pressing, aggressive defense, but have plenty of ability to step up and hit the 3-pointer or pound it inside. There isn’t much this bunch can’t do.

DeKoya Mack and Jermeka Gibson lead a deep team that normally has four or five players score in double figures, but that’s not difficult on a team that averages 73 points.

Laney was 29-2 a year ago and opens the tournament against Northeast Macon (18-9). The winner advances to play the Thomasville-Vidalia winner in the second round.

East Hall: The Region 8 champions have been tested by a very difficult subregion that includes Rabun County and Union County, and then defeated a streaking North Oconee team in the tournament final.

The No. 5-ranked Vikings (25-3) have gotten a consistently high level of play all season from Jasmine Jenkins and Morgan Jackson, who was the MVP in a pair of tournaments. Jenkins has signed with Vanderbilt and Jackson is headed to Georgia State.

East Hall has perhaps the most difficult road to get to the championship game. The Vikings open against Dade County (23-5), an excellent shooting team that spent most of the season in the rankings. The winner must then face the Lovett-Carver winner, with No. 1 Model potentially awaiting in the quarterfinals.

Brooks County: No one knows much about the Region 1 champions (21-6), who sailed through the league without a loss and overpowered Thomasville 74-56 in the league’s title game. But no one in AA has found a way to beat the Trojans.

The six Brooks losses have come against larger schools: two to Class AAAAA Valdosta, two to Class AAAAA Lowndes, one to Class AAAA Brunswick and one to Class AAAA Thomas County Central.

The unranked Trojans are led by senior Jasmine Mapp, an all-state player who has signed with Valdosta State. Matt is an outstanding offensive player who is comfortable attacking the basket or pulling up to shoot a 3-pointer. She is a quality floor leader who has earned a reputation for being a clutch player.

Brooks opens against Appling County (13-7), with the winner advancing to play the Screven County-Southwest Macon winner. There are no ranked teams lurking in the Brooks quarter of the draw.

14 comments Add your comment

oleskool

February 22nd, 2012
2:14 pm

THE STATE CHAMPIONSHIP WILL COME OUT OF THE TOUGHEST REGION IN THE STATE 6AA JUST LIKE IT DID LAST YEAR—-THE TOP 4 TEAMS BUFORD LOVETT GAC AND DECATUR WILL WALK THRU THIS TOURNEY—LAST YEAR BOTH BOYS AND GIRLS STATE CHAMPIONSHIP ENDED UP BEING A 6AA REGION CHAMPIONSHIP W/ BOTH TEAMS COMING OUT OF 6AA—MOST OF THE LOWER TIER TEAMS IN REGION 6AA WOULD GO VERY VERY DEEP IN THE STATE PLAYOFFS IF THEY DIDN’T HAVE TO BEAT AND COMPETE AGAINST THE 4 PREVIOUSLY MENTIONED TEAMS JUST TO QUALIFY—-SO EVERYBODY CAN BLOW SMOKE TALK TRASH OR WHAT EVER MOTIVATES U BUT THE STATE CHAMPION WILL COME ONCE AGAIN OUT OF REGION 6AA–THERE SO MUCH TALENT IN 6AA THAT A GREAT DEAL OF PLAYER GET OVERLOOKED BY COLLEGE RECRUITERS U HAVE GIRLS WHO ARE DIVISION 1 TALENT WHO WONT PLAY AT LEVEL BECAUSE OF THE HIGH PROFILE PLAYERS IN THE REGION–STAY TUNED

Kman

February 23rd, 2012
12:36 am

Dont be so sure of yourself ( oleskool )! That is why you have to play the game! Anything can happen! You ever heard of the words upset…under-dog…lucky? Words like this exist for a reason. Besides that…I think my LANEY WILDCATS have something to say about it! BUFORD has knocked us out of the semis the last 3 years and we are looking for some payback!

BIGFELLA

February 23rd, 2012
9:44 am

Buford will be ready! THOUGH they 3 trophies they are still very hungry.. im looking forward to it. let the games begin. WE ARE BUFORD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Morgan

February 23rd, 2012
11:02 am

When are the Morgan girls going to get some respect. Only 1 loss season and won a tourney in Alabama over Xmas ….. Morgan vs Laney in Elite 8 will be a great game…..

WD

February 23rd, 2012
11:04 am

LET’S GO LANEY !!!!

Badboymedic1

February 23rd, 2012
4:35 pm

Class AA is a very tough class and has an excellent draw for observers throughout the bracketS. I wish all these ladies the best playoff experience possible. Go! Lucy C. Laney WILDCATS!!!!!!

goforit

February 23rd, 2012
8:19 pm

Reg 6 is very strong–Buford is playing well–all four teams in reg 6 can play with any team in AA…….Sorry at the end it will be BUFORD……Davis,Carter,Case,Dillard,Nelson,Adams. They are BUFORD…..

Kman

February 24th, 2012
9:31 am

I agree with you Morgan…..the MC girls are not getting any respect! You have to remember ….the ajc is biaised when it comes to ranking! They havent even seen MC girls play this year…but they have PREDICTIONS already! We LANEY had to learn that lesson the hard way also! See you in MACON!

C

February 24th, 2012
8:58 pm

Model Lady Devils (7AA) defeats Union County (8AA) 57–43 Friday night, first round. Play winner of Jordan v GAC next round.

burkeboyjp

February 25th, 2012
7:14 pm

obvisouly laney has to be better than the other 3 teams in 6AA because they have been in the final four for the last two years so what does that say about them and they are back stronger than ever i promise u the third time is a charm i will bet anything that they bring home the trophy this year no competition

Kman

February 25th, 2012
11:28 pm

Someone tell me why LANEY and MORGAN COUNTY are posted on the same side of the play-off bracket? It always seems the best teams and the best games are played before the championship……the best teams are knocking eachother out….while the lessor teams seem to get an easier chance at the metal by being posted all on the same side of the bracket.

bball fan

February 26th, 2012
10:34 am

Hear is what people overlook. Buford has 7 losses, but 6 of them are to NATIONALLY ranked teams. No team in Georgia has played the schedule Buford has. Mater Dai, St Marys, Hoover, Riverdale are all ranked in the top 20 in America. This happens every year, teams with poor schedules play cupcakes and then take 20 point losses to Buford. Remember Model three years ago, undefeated then lost by what Buford wanted to beat them by. Laney last year by 30. This give them a great record, but in the end, they don’t find out their weaknesses and are exposed. Good luck and this is why the games are played, but their is no one in the state that is more battle tested than Buford. Their players are getting healthy and with all players at full strength, this is one of the best in the nation. There are some good teams in AA, but we will see who is standing in the end. That is why rankings are so over rated, the only ranking that has any value is the last one. Get ready

Kman

February 26th, 2012
11:17 am

bball fan…I do agree with you up to a certain degree…BUFORD is a very STRONG team I must admit,…BUT when you can have top notch players TRANSFER from NORCROSS and other surrounding schools play for you….there is no reason that you shouldnt be at the top! Its like BUFORD is a private school or something! ( WHATS REALLY GOING ON? ) They are in ALL of the football finals,…girls basketball finals boys bball finals or whatever sports final that time of year! People are afraid to ask certain questions…..but I`m not……so I ask you again…( WHATS REALLY GOING ON ? )

Jerry

February 28th, 2012
3:19 pm

You fools are overlooking the south. Brooks County girls are the real deal. Thomasville and Albany boys will beat anybody head up. The officials beat Thomasviklle last year. Dont believe me, ask Swainsboro.