By S. Thomas Coleman
For the AJC
Shake up at the top of girl’s privates
Darlington, ranked No. 4 in the AJC Top 10 and No. 3 in the Class A private school power rankings last week, knocked off top-ranked Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy (15-2, 4-1), 47-46 on Tuesday. Senior center Terar Stewart, a Class A Player of the Year candidate, led the way for the Tigers with 22 points.
The win vaulted Darlington (12-4, 5-0) to the top spot in Region 6 – Division A, and will impact the poll and the power rankings as well. The rematch is Feb. 2 at SACA.
Graddics leading Turner County
Turner County has a solid chance of bringing two public school state titles back to Ashburn, and the keys to that accomplishment live under one roof.
Antania and Antonio Graddic are integral parts of their respective teams. Antania, a 6-foot-4 senior center, is averaging 15 points, 11 rebounds and 5 blocks per game for the Rebels, who are 14-3 overall, and undefeated (8-0) in Region 2 with a No. 2 public school power ranking. Meanwhile, Antonio, a 6-3 junior forward, is averaging 14 points and 10 rebounds. His team is 13-4, 7-1 in perhaps the toughest public school region in Class A. The Rebs, who advanced to the state semifinals last season, have a No. 7 power ranking and sit at No. 9 in the AJC Top 10.
Deep field for girls POTY
As we come to the midpoint of the regular season it’s time to take a look at some of the potential Class A Player of the Year candidates. Here’s a short list of contenders for the girl’s award. Tell us who’s missing:
Alexis Carter, Soph., SACA – The 6-foot-1 forward is averaging 15 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists and three blocks for the Warriors, who are still a heavy threat to win the private school title.
Anissa Collins, Sr., Irwin County – Though she stands just 5-foot-7 and plays mostly on the perimeter, Collins does it all for Irwin County, averaging 16 points and 17 rebounds for a team that will be in the hunt for the public school crown.
Antania Graddic, Sr., Turner County – Graddic won the first head-to-head match up against Collins and Irwin County, scoring 14 points and grabbing 10 rebounds in a 63-54 win for the Rebels. The rematch is Jan. 29 in Ocilla.
Cierra Hawkins, Sr., Baker County – Though her team is just 4-12, Hawkins makes Bears’ basketball games a must-see event down in Newton. The 5-foot-5, cat-quick guard is averaging 18 points per game.
Others to watch: Zenia Coley, Sr., Turner County; Kiyanna Johnson, Jr., Greenville; Moses Johnson, Sr., Greenforest Christian; Alexus Parker, Sr., Calvary Day; Emily Raymer, Sr., Mt. Pisgah Christian; Terar Stewart, Sr., Darlington.