Two years ago, McEachern’s girls basketball team was 33-0, and six of its players were committed to Division 1 schools at the time. It was one of the state’s best and perhaps most under-appreciated girls teams in history.
It has taken a year to rebuild (McEachern lost in the first round last season), but it appears the Lady Indians are preparing a sequel for 2013-14.
Here is a look at some of the Class AAAAAA girls contenders –
McEachern – Guard Te’a Cooper, the remaining key figure from the 2012 championship team, is surrounded by similar talent again. Cooper has committed to North Carolina. Guard Declaria Daniels, who came off the bench on the 33-0 team, is now a senior and D-1 prospect. Taylor Gordon, who was honorable mention all-state that year as a sophomore at North Cobb, transferred to McEachern last year but had to sit out. She is committed to Wake Forest. Aunesha Williams, the Cherokee County player of the year last season, has transferred from Cherokee. The 6-footer scored 29 points with 26 rebounds in a playoff game last season. Her 6-1 twin Audrisha Williams also has joined the team. Caliya Robinson, the No. 3 power forward nationally in the class of 2015, has transferred from Kell. Jada Lewis was second-team all-county for McEachern as a freshman.
Norcross – The defending champions are moving on without state player of the year Diamond DeShields. Also graduated is Shayla Cooper, now at Georgetown. The team returns 6-2 post Sierra Butler (committed to Georgia Southern) and point guard Bri Williams (5-5 guard). Sydney Marshall, who will play volleyball in college at Gardner-Webb, is recovering from an ACL tear. Kolby Meeks is the sister of Los Angeles Lakers guard Jodie Meeks. Marshall (6-1) and Meeks (6-0) give Norcross good size.
North Gwinnett – At 29-2 and the state runner-up a year ago, North will be a factor again despite graduating point guard Lexie Brown (Maryland) and Peyton Whitted (Penn State). Stephanie Amichia (6-2) has committed to LSU. Point guad Baylee Rexing (5-3) has committed to Ole Miss. Alyssa Munlyn (6-2) and Joshllyn Belcher (5-6) were other important players on last season’s team.
Parkview – The Panthers were 29-1 last season, losing in double-overtime to eventual champion Norcross. Coach Tony Watkins left for Lambert. The new coach is Kirk Call from Walnut Grove. Call was a popular assistant on Parkview’s 2003 state championship team. Parkview played lots of players and had no real star last season, so replacing two seniors (Marissa Mandeldove and Mia Marshall) shouldn’t be difficult. The team’s top player last season was probably point guard Genesis Perrymond, a South Alabama commit. She’s the only senior on this team, so expect Parkview to be a factor for the next several seasons.
Others to watch: Hillgrove has the highest-rated senior prospect is Mackenzie Engram of Hillgrove. The 6-foot-2 forward has signed with Georgia. … Nicole King, a 6-footer who will wind up in D-1, returns for Alpharetta, a 2013 quarterfinalist. …. … Andreona Keys of Roswell is going to Purdue. She averaged 26 points per game last season. … Brianna Moore, a 6-1 post from Luella, is going to Cincinnati … Katie Powell, who averaged 17.8 points and 9.8 rebounds for Duluth last season, is going to TCU. … Maya Benham, who averaged 10.6 points and 6-2 rebounds as a sophomore at Douglas County, has committed to Louisville.