Road to boys basketball title runs through Savannah — again

The Savannah boys basketball team didn’t quite finish the drill last year. The Blue Jackets reached the state championship game, but were tripped up by crosstown rival Johnson in the Class AAA final.

The roles may be reversed this year. Coach Tim Jordan’s team will be the team to beat this year. Savannah and Johnson split during the regular season and Savannah won the Region 1-AAA tournament. Johnson beat Savannah 61-51 in the state title game.

Savannah definitely has the horses coming back to make another run. The Blue Jackets have a pair of Div. I prospects back from last year’s 28-4 team: center Chris Cokley and guard Jamal Norman. Guard Jermaine Williams also returns for his junior season.

Cokley, a 6-foot-8 senior, was a first-team all-state selection last year when he averaged 13.6 points and 7.6 rebounds. Norman averaged 11.4 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.9 steals. Cokley has signed with Alabama-Birmingham, while Norman will play for Savannah State.

Johnson, which went 25-6, lost LSU signee Tim Quarterman, guard Greg Mortimer and Saadiq Muhammad, but the Atom Smashers should again be in contention. Junior Rico Bonds is the most experienced returnee, along with Darrell Myers and Jamarey Lovett.

Other teams to watch this year include:

Morgan County: The Bulldogs took a disappointing early exit from the playoffs a year ago, but return the nucleus of the Region 8-AAA championship team. Morgan is led by senior forward C.J. Turman, who has committed to Tennessee, and junior point guard Tookie Brown, a first-team all-state selection. Morgan County lost only one region game and beat Franklin County to win the region tournament.

Washington County: The Golden Hawks are led by junior guard A.J. Gray, who helped his club reach the state quarterfinals, where they dropped a four-point decision to eventual state champion Savannah. The only hurdle that Washington County seemed unable to jump last year was Thomson; the two teams split during the regular season, but Thomson prevailed in the Region 3-AAA finale. Thomson returns guards Malique Gibbons and Felton Bradshaw, but graduated leading scorer Sherrod Hart.

Cartersville: Ryan Davis, a 6-3 senior guard, leads the returning group that went 27-2 a year ago. Davis was named the area’s player of the year after averaging 17.4 points, 7.6 rebounds and 5.6 assists. Also returning are 6-5 guard Corey Tobin (14.2 points, 83 3-pointers) and 6-0 guard A.J. Mosby (14.6 points, 78 steals), both seniors. The Canes won their first 24 games before being tripped up by Gordon Central. Cartersville did not have a senior on its roster and reached the second round of the playoffs before losing to St. Pius.

Buford: The Wolves went 25-7 and reached the semifinals last year before losing to Savannah. Buford returns three key players: seniors Matt McMorris and Justin Edwarsd and sophomore D’Marcus Simonds. But the biggest addition is senior forward Rakim Lubin, a 6-8 transfer from Alabama. Lubin averaged 19.6 points and 9.2 rebounds in Gadsden and has committed to UConn.

Woodward Academy: The War Eagles are coming off a 25-6 season that saw them win the Region 6-AAA title. Solomon Mangham, one of the league’s top players, graduated, but returning regulars Trey Williams and Terry Googer lead a deep team.

21 comments Add your comment

Hubie Green

November 19th, 2013
8:24 am

Cartersville picked up big Jalen McKeller, a first team all region selection last year for Excel Christian. He will bolster their inside game which was a real weakness for them last year. Their schedule has also been revamped somewhat which should help. They played virtually nobody before getting knocked out early in the state tournament.

ron

November 19th, 2013
10:47 am

What is it that Buford doesn’t excel in?

Watching out

November 19th, 2013
11:23 am

Interesting ” picked up” a player from a private school oh yes forgot city school can do that.

blue devil

November 19th, 2013
11:40 am

Ironic. The player that transferred into Cartersville came from Excel (David Boyd).

Canes fan

November 19th, 2013
2:44 pm

Cartersville should go deep in the state tournament this year. They have all of their starters back this year. And if Ryan Davis is still 6′3″ whomever measured him can’t see, he clearly looks like he grew over the summer!

Son Of Waco

November 19th, 2013
6:26 pm

Wish we could get a 6′8 transfer…. But I guess we will do as we always do and depend on homegrown talent to keep us among the best in AAA…

Canes fan

November 20th, 2013
7:20 am

Picked up….just so you know the family’s financial situation changed and last I heard public school is FREE!!!! And the big Jalen McKeller is only 6′3″ but he has a big frame.

brother of Waco

November 20th, 2013
7:28 am

Ron don’t you mean what is it that Buford don’t recruit in?

ron

November 20th, 2013
12:08 pm

“brother of Waco,” if money can buy it, why not buy it !!!

ron

November 20th, 2013
12:18 pm

Gentlemen let’s not get too far ahead, we still have the playoffs just getting underway. Not too sure why Mr. Awtrey is distracting our minds from the gridiron, I’m aware in a few days the tip off’s begin in the GHSA. However the “Mighty Champions” of Buford will remain focused as to what’s at stake, another championship before departing AAA.

brother of Waco

November 20th, 2013
1:36 pm

As long as Waco in the conversation they won’t get it.

Pangloss

November 20th, 2013
6:33 pm

Wow, what a novelty. A student transfers to another school. Never happened at any Atl. Area schools i guess. Excel is about a mile from Cartersville High. It’s not like C’ville crossed three counties to bring in the transfer.

Son Of Waco

November 20th, 2013
8:40 pm

So @Canesfan no football talk huh??? Is it basketball season now in Cartersville after that round 1 scare or team getting exposed???

Pangloss

November 20th, 2013
9:28 pm

Sow, keep on the wishful thinking. C’ville will teach St. Pius a lesson this week.
And they have far tougher draw than Waco.

ron

November 21st, 2013
2:24 am

“brother of waco” are you coming to the Georgia Dome as a spectator in December? If so you can do some Christmas shopping after watching post game ceremonies crowing Buford for perhaps the last time in AAA.

rlwjrmd

November 21st, 2013
10:21 am

Woodward may prove to be the sleeper in AAA. It is early in the season but all indications suggest this year’s team may even better than last year’s Region 6-AAA Championship team. Go War Eagles!!!

black magic

November 21st, 2013
12:35 pm

The last i heard , the championship went through that city called Savannah. It could be another historical year for two from Savannah meet in the state championship.

black magic

November 21st, 2013
12:37 pm

Dont sleep , Jenkin high school going to give miller grove a run for there money . Another savannah , ga Team

e

November 21st, 2013
5:24 pm

lol…cheerleaders

Canes fan

November 22nd, 2013
7:25 am

@ SOW don’t get it twisted our football team is going to put it down tonight. Let’s leave last friday’s game in last week because a win is a win if it’s by 2 points or 50 points. And just so you know the Hurricanes can do football and basketball at the same time…that’s just how talented we are!

Kipp Smitthers

November 24th, 2013
10:28 am

How is McNair not in this, I’m just saying be on the look out