AAAAAA basketball: Defending champs Milton, McEachern stuggle out of the gate

It’s three weeks into the basketball season. Here are five quick observations about Class AAAAAA.

Please provide some of your own if you’ve seen some of the top teams play.

McEachern’s girls start 0-5: After a 33-0 finish and first-ever state title, McEachern started the new season 0-5. McEachern lost to some pretty good teams – Norcross (57-41), Alpharetta (50-41) and North Cobb (59-47) all were ranked in the Top 10 of the AJC’s preseason poll. McEachern also lost to out-of-state teams Hall of Little Rock (55-40) and Central of Memhis (73-62) in a Thanksgiving tournament. McEachern broke through with a win last Friday, beating Marietta 58-44. McEachern graduated four of six major college prospects but return sisters Mia Cooper and Te’a Cooper. Meanwhile, Norcross (5-0) is looking good with returning all-state players Diamond DeShields and Shayla Cooper and wins over preseason No. 1 McEachern and No. 5 Mill Creek.

Milton’s boys start 1-4: Milton lost its state championship lineup to graduation or transfer and its coach to resignation, so it’s little surprise that the team is struggling against a difficult schedule. Milton has lost to state-ranked Georgia teams Westlake (64-57) and Buford (59-41) and nationally known Simeon of Chicago (56-35) and Christ School of North Carolina (79-75). Milton did beat Greenfield of North Carolina before Thanksgiving. Milton also played four-time champion Miller Grove in an exhibition and lost 66-44.

Lots of players missing: Shiloh and Norcross, two Top 10 teams from Gwinnett County, played last weekend in a game that demonstrated why early non-region games can be fairly meaningless. Norcross is missing three football players still occupied by the state playoffs, including Lorenzo Carter, a 6-6 junior with offers from Georgia Tech and others. Norcross forward Terrance O’Donohue, who has signed with the College of Charleston, recently had knee surgery. Shiloh was missing 7-footer Trayvon Reed and Bryan Thompson because of suspensions for incidents that occurred in a previous game. Shiloh won 80-67 as junior guard Nate Mason, a transfer from Columbia, scored 27 points. Mason has been a good pickup. He scored 23 in an 85-50 win over South Gwinnett. Several other top players, including Alpharetta’s Carlos Burse and Wheeler’s Elijah Staley, also are outstanding in football and will need time to get in basketball shape.

North Gwinnett beats Columbia: North Gwinnett graduated perhaps the best player in the highest classification in Chris Bolden (to Georgia Tech) but is 4-0 after a win over 2011-12 AAA champion Columbia last weekend at the Nike Explosion showcase at Wheeler. There were two freshmen starters on last year’s North Gwinnett team. One was Kamaran Calhoun, whose layup beat Wheeler in overtime in the state playoffs last season. Calhoun scored 16 points and nine rebounds in the 64-62 win over Columbia. The other ex-freshman starter is point guard Tobias Howard, who scored 15 points.

Top Georgia teams headed to Memphis: The Memphis vs. Atlanta Roundball Classic is Friday and Saturday in Memphis. Each game matches top teams from each city against each other. Only Westlake and Harrison are AAAAAA, but the schedule is worth mentioning (below). Westlake is 6-0.

Friday –

Harrison vs. Memphis Universitiy School

Westlake vs. Arlington

Columbia vs. East

Eagle’s Lnding vs. Hamilton

M.L. King vs. White Station

Saturday –

Harrison vs. Lausanne

Columbia vs. Germantown

M.L. King vs. East

Westlake vs. Ridgeway

Eagle’s Landing vs. Melrose

5 comments Add your comment

Andre Elam

December 4th, 2012
11:09 am

Westlake has a very solid team lead by Point Guard, Tony Bagatas and Forward, Andre Elam the only returning starters and Seniors on this team. Bagatas has committed to Penn Univ. and Elam is high on many Low Majors Div. I and top Div. II programs wish list. Bagatas is averaging around 26 pts and 7 assists, while Elam is averaging 14 pts, 13 rbs and 8 blks a game. This is a very exciting team to watch plenty of highlight reel material.

TItletown USA

December 4th, 2012
4:36 pm

TIft Co basketball officially under investigation for recruiting…..about time.

Tift County

December 4th, 2012
4:48 pm

Pretty ironic Titletown USA. Without a history of recruiting there would be no Titletown USA.

Lions

December 4th, 2012
7:13 pm

Stuggle? Where is the proofreader?

TItletown USA

December 5th, 2012
12:11 pm

Really Tift Co? So all those championships were due to someone bringing in outside talent? I am not sure you believe that. I will not be foolish enough to say that it did not go on (as with any other program) but there is a limit and you know that lately Tift Co has surpassed its limit in this area.