Class A Girls Basketball Preview

CLASS A GIRLS

Region 1

The lineup: (Division A) Calhoun County; Randolph-Clay; Stewart County; Terrell County; Webster County; Quitman County. (Division B) Miller County; Mitchell County; Seminole County; Baker County.

Teams to watch: Mitchell County, Quitman County and Seminole County.

Players to watch: Cierra Hawkins, Baker County, Sr.; Brandi Buie, Calhoun County, Jr.; Kelsey Anderson, Calhoun County, Sr.; Mallory Diamond, Miller County, Jr.; Deaundra Hill, Mitchell County, Jr.; Shonbreka Holton, Mitchell County, Jr.; A’Miracle Jones, Mitchell County, Jr.; Ke’Ondra Mango, Mitchell County, Sr.; Aniyah Dennard, Quitman County, Sr.; Deidre West, Quitman County, Soph.; Andrea Blackmon, Randolph-Clay, Sr.; Kanieka Washington, Randolph-Clay, Sr.; Katrese Brown, Seminole County, Sr.; Candace Barber, Seminole County, Sr.; Alexis Watson, Seminole County, Sr.

Strength of region (scale of 1 – 5): 3

Last season: Pelham (26-5) and Mitchell County (17-13) were the class of the region last year. Pelham won the regular season title but Mitchell County won the league tournament. Both advanced to the Elite Eight.

The skinny: Reclassification moved Pelham up to Class AA, so Mitchell is the favorite. Quitman County and Seminole County should provide a challenge for the Eagles.

Teams that could win state: Mitchell County (Public).

Region 2

The lineup: Charlton County, Clinch County, Echols County, Irwin County, Lanier County, Telfair County, Turner County, Wilcox County.

Teams to watch: Charlton County, Turner County, Wilcox County.

Players to watch: Ra’Lesha Doyle, Charlton County, Soph.; Taylor Carter, Echols County, Sr.; Anissia Collins, Irwin County, Sr.; Zenia Coley, Turner County, Sr.; Antania Graddic, Turner County, Sr.

Strength of region (scale of 1 – 5): 2

Last season: Charlton (24-5), Turner (21-9) and Wilcox (17-9) led the way with Charlton, paced by the indomitable Courtney Williams (now at South Florida), advancing all the way to the Final Four.

The skinny: With Williams gone the league will be more balanced. Turner County is most likely the favorite, but Doyle will take over as the leader of a solid group of returning players for Charlton. Collins of Irwin County is the heir apparent to Williams as the region’s best player.

Teams that could win state: Charlton County (Public), Turner County (Public).

Region 3

The lineup: (Division A) Calvary Day, Claxton, Jenkins County, Portal, Savannah Christian, Savannah Country Day. (Division B) Emanuel County Institute, Johnson County, Montgomery County, Treutlen, Wheeler County.

Teams to watch: Calvary Day and Claxton.

Players to watch: Alexus Parker, Calvary Day, Sr.; Amari Oliver, Savannah Country Day, Soph.; Devonna Brewton, Claxton, Jr.

Strength of region: 1

Last season: Senior-laden Calvary Day (26-3) dominated, winning 20 straight at one point. But the Cavaliers were upset in the first round of the state playoffs, after defeating Claxton in the region tournament final. Claxton went on to advance to the Sweet 16.

The skinny: Parker is back to lead a much younger squad this season at Calvary Day. Claxton appears to be the favorite with 11 players returning from last year’s team. Brewton will run the point and lead the way for the Tigers.

Teams that could win state: Claxton (Public).

Region 4

The lineup: (Division A) Brookstone, Central-Talbotton, Greenville, St. Anne-Pacelli. (Division B) Dooly County, Hawkinsville, Schley County, Marion County.

Teams to watch: Dooly County, Greenville.

Players to watch: Kiyanna Johnson, Greenville, Jr.; Jada Gardner, Marion County, Jr.

Strength of region (scale of 1 – 5): 2

Last season: Taylor County, one of the traditional powers in girls basketball in Georgia, went 26-2 and advanced to the Final Four. Dooly County (23-8) and Greenville (22-7) advanced to the Sweet 16.

The skinny: Taylor County has moved to Class AA, which leaves Dooly County and Greenville as the likely favorites. Greenville has a bright future with a roster full of sophomores and juniors.

Teams that could win state: Dooly (Public), Greenville (Public).

Region 5

The lineup: Galloway, Greenforest Christian, Holy Innocents, Landmark Christian, Our Lady of Mercy, Pace Academy, Paideia, W.D. Mohammed, Yeshiva, Eagles Landing Christian Academy, Mt. Vernon Presbyterian, Strong Rock Christian, Atlanta International.

Teams to watch: Greenforest Christian, Holy Innocents, Pace Academy, Paideia, Strong Rock Christian.

Players to watch: Moses Johnson, Greenforest Christian, Sr.; McKenzie Bolden, Holy Innocents, Sr.; Reshaundra Owens, Holy Innocents, Sr.; Diamond Smith, Landmark Christian, Soph.; Nia Smith, Paideia, Jr.; Ellery Koelker-Wolfe, Paideia, Soph.; Candler Gregory, Strong Rock Christian, Sr.;

Strength of region (scale of 1 – 5): 3

Last season: The region featured power houses Wesleyan and St. Frances, both of which advanced to the Final Four, with Wesleyan winning the state title. Wesleyan has moved to Class AA while St. Frances has moved to Region 6.

The skinny: Johnson is the region’s best player, averaging nearly 30 points per game over her career. But look for Holy Innocents, Pace, Paideia and Strong Rock Christian, coached by the legendary A.C. McCullers, to vie for the league title.

Teams that could win state: Holy Innocents (Private), Paideia (Private), Strong Rock Christian (Private).

Region 6

The lineup: (Division A) Darlington, Excel Christian, Gordon Lee, Mt. Zion-Carroll, Southwest Atlanta Christian, Trion, Christian Heritage. (Division B) Mt. Paran Christian, St. Francis, Walker, Whitefield Academy, Mt. Pisgah Christian, North Cobb Christian, Fellowship Christian, King’s Ridge Christian.

Teams to watch: Darlington, Gordon Lee, Southwest Atlanta Christian, St. Francis.

Players to watch: Maggie Beth Atha, Darlington, Jr.; Terar Stewart, Darlington, Sr.; Sidney Stout, Darlington, Sr.; Bailey Brock, Darlington, Sr.; Kassidy Blevins, Gordon Lee, Sr.; Katie Barger, Gordon Lee, Sr.; Katelyn Lee, Gordon Lee, Jr.; Emily Willingham, Excel Christian, Sr.; Hayley Jones, Trion, Soph.; Danielle Lewis, Trion, Sr.; Emily Raymer, Mt. Pisgah Christian, Sr.; Nigia Greene, St. Francis, Sr.; Candice Williams, St. Francis, Jr.; Amber Brown, Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy, Sr.; Amy Griffin, Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy, Jr.; Catlin Hesse, Whitefield Academy, Sr.

Strength of region (scale of 1 -5): 5

Last season: Darlington (27-4) and Gordon Lee (26-4) were the clear frontrunners last year. Darlington won the regular season region title but Gordon Lee defeated the Tigers in the region tournament final. Darlington went on to advance to the Final Four, where they were pounded by eventual champion Wesleyan (95-41), while Gordon Lee was ousted in the Sweet 16 by eventual runner up Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy (72-59).

The skinny: With the addition of Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy and St. Francis, this is now the best region by far – in terms of teams and individual talent – in Class A. Darlington, St. Francis and Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy are among the best private school teams, while Gordon Lee is one of the best public school programs in the classification.

Teams that could win state: Darlington (Private), St. Francis (Private), Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy (Private); Gordon Lee (Public).

Region 7

The lineup: (Division A) Glascock County, Taliaferro County, Warren County, Aquinas. (Division B) Georgia Military, Hancock Central, Lincoln County, Twiggs County, Wilkinson County, First Presbyterian.

Teams to watch: Warren County, First Presbyterian.

Players to watch: Savannah Phillips, First Presbyterian, Jr.

Strength of region (scale of 1 – 5): 1

Last season: Washington-Wilkes won the regular season and region tournament crowns, but the Tigers have moved on to Class AA. Warren County and Hancock Central were competitive but no team from the region advanced past the first round of the state playoffs.

The skinny: The league features a mix of public and private schools, but none will dominate. Look for First Presbyterian, which moves over from the now-defunct Region 9, to be the best of the bunch.

Teams that could win state: None.

Region 8

The lineup: (Division A) Commerce, Lakeview Academy, Rabun Gap, Tallulah Falls, Towns County, Woody Gap, Pinecrest Academy. (Division B) Prince Avenue Christian, Providence Christian, George Walton Academy, Hebron Christian Academy, Athens Academy, Athens Christian.

Teams to watch: Towns County, George Walton Academy.

Players to watch: Ivy Atkism, George Walton Academy, Jr.; Stephanie Patton, Towns County, Soph.; Carly Settles, Athens Academy, Jr.; Amber Skidgel, Hebron Christian, Soph.; Taylor Handte, Lakeview Academy, Sr.; Sierra Shirley, Tallulah Falls, Sr.

Strength of region (scale of 1 – 5): 2

Last season: Towns County was the class of the league, winning the regular season and region tournament championships relatively easily. Towns County was the only team in the region to advance past the first round of the state playoffs but was eliminated in the second round by Darlington (63-58).

The skinny: Towns County should dominate once again and could make a deep run in the public school playoffs. George Walton Academy will provide a challenge in region play but probably won’t make much noise in the private school playoffs.

Teams that could win state: Towns County (Public).

6 comments Add your comment

Iceman

November 7th, 2012
7:14 pm

I can’t believe A.C. McCullers is still around. You’re right about him being legendary ………. Legendary Jerk.

S. Thomas Coleman

November 9th, 2012
9:21 am

@Iceman: Wow, why so hard on Coach McCullers? I’ve always enjoyed my conversations with him. He’s slowly moving that young program into being competitive. I don’t think they are ready to match up with beasts like St. Francis or SACA, but there aren’t that many teams out there that can.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see McCullers take his team to the private school playoffs and win a game or two.

Thanks for reading and posting!

S. Thomas Coleman
s.thomascoleman@yahoo.com

Region5Guru

November 9th, 2012
12:57 pm

S. Thomas,

Did FPD pick up some kids? I see you speaking very highly of them and they are ranked number 5 in the preseason rankings. They were 12-13 last season.

LoveAndBasketball

November 9th, 2012
2:07 pm

Wilcox nor Turner County should be rank in Region 2. Neither teams were that good and won that many games over Irwin County. Irwin County is the best team in Region 2A and 1 as well . . . . and the main player to watch for is the starting point guard for Irwin County Shantansia M. Robinson who controls the court and manage to bob and weave her way to the basket with hr back up Anissia Collins. ! Irwin County is going all the way this year with no hesitation. Wish Irwin County the best luck this year !

S. Thomas Coleman

November 9th, 2012
3:16 pm

@Region5Guru: FPD was just really young last year … only two seniors and a handful of juniors. Now everybody is back with more experience. They don’t have much size, which will limit them somewhat, but they should still be pretty good.

Thanks for reading and posting!

S. Thomas Coleman
s.thomascoleman@yahoo.com

S. Thomas Coleman

November 9th, 2012
3:20 pm

@Love: That’s interesting. I didn’t find anything on Robinson, but I’ll definitely keep an eye on her and Irwin. They did play Turner and Wilcox tough last year and have pretty much everybody coming back.

S. Thomas Coleman
s.thomascoleman@yahoo.com