Class AAA girls basketball preview

Region 1

The lineup: Division A – Appling County, Beach, Islands, Johnson Savannah, New Hampstead, Southeast Bulloch, Woodville-Tompkins. Division B – Brantley County, Pierce County, Savannah, Savannah Arts Academy, Tattnall County.

Teams to watch: Beach, Appling County, Tattnall County, Brantley County.

Players to watch: Briyanna Brantley, G, Appling County; LaRaya Mincey, W, Tattnall County; Summer Lee, G, Brantley County; Phila Bryant, F, Pierce County; Ilynn Spann, G, Beach; Irie Spann, G, Beach; Jada Young, F, Beach; April Tootle, G, Islands.

Strength of region: 3

Last season: Beach went 26-2 last year in AAAAA but was stunned by Harrison in the first round of the playoffs. Tattnall won Region 2-AA and reached the second round of state.

The skinny: Beach, with four starters back from last year’s AAAAA tournament team, will start the season as the favorite. LaRaya Mincey leads a young, but playoff-tested Tattnall team that should also contend in this diverse region.

Teams that could win state: None.

Region 2

The lineup: Division A – Henry County, Jackson, Pike County. Division B – Carver Columbus, Central Macon, Peach County, Southwest Macon.

Teams to watch: Carver Columbus, Southwest Macon, Henry County

Players to watch: Va’Queshia Hall, W, Central Macon; Lauren Duncan, G, Pike County; Taylor Cistrunk, G, Henry County; Kiana Coleman, F, Henry County; Latara Grier, G, Jackson.

Strength of region: 2

Last season: Southwest finished third in Region 4-AA and lost in the second round of the playoffs. Carver placed third in Region 5-AA and lost to eventual champion Lovett in the first round of state.

The skinny: Henry County may be the favorite in this weak league. The Warhawks were 13-16 last year, but were 10-6 in a stellar league and have two key players back.

Teams that could win state: None.

Region 3

The lineup: Division A – Jefferson County, Thomson, Washington County. Division B – Dodge County, Swainsboro.

Teams to watch: Washington County, Dodge County, Thomson

Players to watch: Shonterria Kitchens, PG, Washington County;

Strength of region: 3

Last season: Washington County went 31-1 but fell short in its attempt to win back-to-back championships, losing to Columbia in the AAA final. Dodge County is another perennial playoff contender that finished third in its region.

The skinny: Washington County has lost Allisha Gray to an ACL injury. She was a candidate for all-classification player of the year. Point guard Kitchens and some teammates that are accustomed to winning might still make the Golden Hawks the team to beat.

Teams that could win state: Washington County.

Region 4

The lineup: Division A – Chapel Hill, Coretta Scott King Academy, Douglass, Jackson. Division B – Callaway, Central Carroll, Haralson County, Rockmart.

Teams to watch: Chapel Hill, Haralson County

Players to watch: Sherae Bonner, F, Central Carroll; Monica Jackson, G, Callaway; Latasha Anderson, F, Callaway; Earnicia Washington, F, Chapel Hill; Kaneisha Mixon, G, Chapel Hill.

Strength of region: 2

Last season: Chapel Hill reached the state playoffs, but lost in the first round.

The skinny: Chapel Hill, which went 19-11 last year in AAAA, is the favorite in this league, which is one of the weaker and unproven in the state.

Teams that could win state: None.

Region 5

The lineup: Division A – Coahulla Creek, Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe; North Murray, Ringgold. Division B – Adairsville, Cartersville, Gordon Central, Sonoraville.

Teams to watch: Cartersville, Sonoraville, North Murray

Players to watch: Kaelyn Irby, PG, Cartersville; Carrie Cheeks, C, Sonoraville; Jennilee Gentry, F, Sonoraville; Stephanie Will, G, Cartersville; Stephanie Kuhrt, F, Adairsville; Jazmine Baldwin, C, Cartersville; Katie O’Connor, F, Cartersville; Ashley Farrell, G, Gordon Central; Tiffany Lincoln, F, Gordon Central; Haley Reynolds, G, Gordon Central; Mallorie Collum, F, Adairsville.

Strength of region: 4

Last season: Cartersville got to the second round of the AAA playoffs before being eliminated. Sonoraville won 21 games but didn’t make it to the state tournament.

The skinny: Cartersville graduated its top scorer and rebounder, but returns four other starters from last year’s 21-7 team. Sonoraville, led by Cheeks (14.8 ppg, 10.8 rpg), and Gordon Central, which lost only one senior, will also be a strong contenders.

Teams that could win state: Cartersville.

Region 6

The lineup: Division A – Blessed Trinity, Cross Keys, Decatur, St. Pius. Division B – Cedar Grove, McNair, Towers, Woodward Academy.

Teams to watch: St. Pius, Woodward Academy, Decatur

Players to watch: Asia Durr, C, St. Pius; Jordan Dillard, W, Decatur; Terri Jacobs, F, Cedar Grove; Tiana Grissom, G, Woodward Academy

Strength of region: 3

Last season: St. Pius won 24 games, but was stunned by Columbus in the first round of the playoffs. Woodward won 20 games and lost in the first round to Carrollton.

The skinny: Pius lost most of its lineup, but returns Asia “Amaze Ya’” Durr, and is one of the most sound defensive teams in the league. Woodward’s Grissom may be the most explosive player, but the War Eagles must be more consistent on offense as a team.

Teams that could win state: None.

Region 7

The lineup: Division A – Dawson County, Fannin County, North Hall, White County. Division B – Banks County, Buford, East Hall, West Hall.

Teams to watch: Buford, East Hall, North Hall

Players to watch: Kaela Davis, G, Buford; Mackenzie Darrah, W, Buford; Kristina Nelson, C, Buford; Maya Dillard, PG, Buford; Carly Gilreath, G, Dawson County; Allie Costley, W, Dawson County; Riley Slaton, W, White County; Kaelyn Gattis, F, West Hall; LeNiesha Kearse, F, West Hall.

Strength of region: 5

Last season: Buford had its run of Class AA championships end in the finals. East Hall, which won 8-AA title, lost to eventual state champion Lovett in the second round. East Hall went 26-4, but lost to Lovett in the first round. North Hall reached the AAA semifinals before losing to Washington County.

The skinny: This may be the best league in the state from top to bottom. Buford will again enter the season as the favorite, despite losing Tennessee signee Andraya Carter to graduation. East Hall, North Hall and Dawson County will all be very good.

Teams that could win state: Buford, East Hall

Region 8

The lineup: Division A – Elbert County, Morgan County, North Oconee, Oconee County. Division B – East Jackson, Franklin County, Hart County, Jackson County.

Teams to watch: North Oconee, Oconee County, Hart County.

Players to watch: Gabby Bevillard, F, Oconee County; Ginny Channell, F, North Oconee; Brooke Hubbard, W, North Oconee; Victoria Fontanta, F, Jackson County.

Strength of region: 4

Last season: Morgan County rolled all the way to the AA semifinals before being eliminated by Laney. North Oconee was second in Region 8-AA and reached the second round of the playoffs. Oconee County won its subregion and lost in the second round of state to Columbia.

The skinny: Morgan County lost an entire roster of seniors and will be rebuilding. That leaves the door open for the likes of Oconee County and North Oconee to battle it out for first place.

Teams that could win state: Oconee County

One comment Add your comment

hind tit

November 7th, 2012
9:28 pm

Go Gilreath and Slaton