Borrowing from my colleague Chip Towers on the UGA beat, here’s 10@10, Class AAAAAA basketball style –
1. The Maxwell Ratings, which were a regular feature during the football season, were published this morning with rankings of every boys team in the state. Girls rankings will be published later. Below is the Top 10 for AAAAAA. Click on Maxwell Ratings above to see all the rankings.
1. Tift County (15-4) SOS: 81.39 Rating: 94.84
2. North Cobb (17-3) SOS: 79.58 Rating: 90.81
3. Hillgrove (19-3) SOS: 75.8 Rating: 89.4
4. Norcross (13-6) SOS: 79.83 Rating: 87.41
5. Peachtree Ridge (13-6) SOS: 82.08 Rating: 87.41
6. Shiloh (14-5) SOS: 78.26 Rating: 86.07
7. North Gwinnett (16-5) SOS: 75.53 Rating: 85.69
8. Westlake (18-4) SOS: 72.91 Rating: 84.34
9. Archer (17-5) SOS: 77.49 Rating: 83.68
10. Morrow (15-5) SOS: 74.11 Rating: 82.43
2. Notice that Wheeler is ranked as low as No. 14 in the Maxwell Ratings. Most close observers would say this is one of the five more talented teams in AAAAAA, but recent losses to Roswell (for the second time) and Christ School (after beating Christ School in December) suggest the Wildcats are not in championship form. They picked up another game this week and will play at Berkmar on Saturday at 7 p.m.
3. Peachtree Ridge’s boys (15-6, 10-1), ranked No. 4 in the AJC rankings, are in the spotlight this week starting tonight (Tuesday) in a game against No. 6 North Gwinnett (16-5, 10-3). On Friday, they travel to Norcross (15-6, 10-2). The Lions returned only one starter (all-state forward Jordan Capps) from a
team that went 20-10 in 2012. On Friday, Peachtree Ridge students and fans rushed their home court when they beat Mill Creek 51-49 at the buzzer on Capps’ dunk. They also rushed
the court in December, when Peachtree Ridge beat Norcross.
4. Region 2 is a knot of contenders, but a big game takes place Friday when Luella (14-6 6-2) plays at Morrow (15-5, 5-3). Luella beat Morrow 69-65 on Jan. 8.
5. Another boys games that could settle first place in a region is Valdosta at Tift County on Saturday. Tift comes to Valdosta the following Saturday, Feb. 9. Both have one Region 1 loss.
6. In Region 3 girls action, Douglas County (16-3, 5-1) plays at Langston Hughes (16-2, 6-0) on Friday (6 p.m.). Hughes, which entered the rankings this week at No. 10 after running its winning streak to 11 games, entered the Top 10 this week.
7. The top girls game this week is Saturday in Cherokee County. No. 4 Cherokee (19-1, 9-0) plays at No. 6 Woodstock (14-5, 8-1) at 6 p.m. That could determine the No. 1 seed for the Region 5 tournament.
8. The rest of the girls regions are virtually decided unless there are upsets. Expect the No. 1 seeds to be Tift County (1), Alcovy (2), Hughes or Douglas County (3), North Cobb (4), Cherokee or Woodstock (5), Alpharetta (6), North Gwinnett or Norcross (7) and Parkview (8). A coin toss might decide North Gwinnett and Norcross, which split their two games.
9. There have been some complaints on the girls rankings blog about the omission of Tift County (16-3, 7-0). Tift has won 13 straight games and avenged on its losses (to Westover from Dec. 1). The short answer is the lack of faith in south Georgia teams that comes from the 2012 playoffs, when fourth-seeded Harrison (14-14) beat Beach (26-0) 43-25 in the first round. Valdosta was ranked a couple of weeks ago at No. 10, but lost three of its next four games. Tift has two players who were first-team all-region last season in Dee Dee Deshazer (Columbus State recruit) and junior guard Alexis Johnson (all-region as freshman and sophomore).
10. Norcross’ football team will be presented with Army National Guard National Rankings Trophy before Tuesday’s boys basketball game at home against Habersham Central. The trophy is presented by MaxPreps and goes to state championship teams that finish in its national rankings.