Class A Basketball Blog: Teams off the quick starts; Big games in December

By S. Thomas Coleman
For the AJC

Next week we’ll go full blast with basketball blogs three days a week, — Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. For now, here’s your weekly hoop fix.

GIRLS

Out of the gate quick
Two teams that excelled last season are off to quick starts so far, as is another team that had an average year. George Walton Academy is 5-0 after finishing last season 24-5, including a 15-0 run through Region 8. The Bulldogs lost to eventual private school runner-up Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy in the second round of the state tournament. Turner County went 20-6 last season and advanced to the public school quarterfinals before falling to Wilkinson County in double overtime (76-74). The Rebels are 2-0 thus far with junior forward Taylor Daniels and sophomore guard Mylayshia Yancey leading the charge. Meanwhile, Mt. Zion-Carrollton is 4-1 after finishing last season 14-11.

St. Francis, SACA test themselves early
The two private school finalists from last season – runner-up Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy and champion St. Francis – are preparing themselves to make another run at the championship by taking on some of the top teams in the state regardless of classification. SACA is 4-2 with the two loses coming at the hands of defending Class AAAAA champion Southwest DeKalb (6-0), 70-64 in overtime on Nov. 29, and last week to Buford (57-55), a Class AAA quarterfinalist last season. St. Francis is 3-0 with wins over Jonesboro (69-43), a Class AAAA semifinalist last season, and Tucker (57-56 in OT), which advanced to the Class AAAAA Elite Eight. The Knights will travel to Stephenson, another Class AAAAA Elite Eight team last season, on Saturday. SACA and St. Francis will meet once in the regular season, Jan. 17, at St. Francis.

BOYS

Early season showdowns
Along with tonight’s St. Francis (4-0) at Whitefield Academy (2-0) matchup, there will be two more big-time December games on Saturday. Defending private school champion Greenforest Academy (4-1) will face defending Class AAAAAA champion Norcross (2-2) at 3:30 p.m., and St. Francis will take on Class AAAAA Miller Grove, winners of five consecutive state championships, at 8 p.m., in the Blue Collar Basketball Showcase at Greater Atlanta Christian School.

Out of the gate quick, Part 2
Two perennially strong programs are off the fast starts, as are two more looking for respectability this season. Turner County, the defending Region 2 champions who went 21-5 last season and advanced to the public school quarterfinals last season, is 2-0 and averaging over 80 points per game behind dynamic junior guard Quan Hillmon. North Cobb Christian is 40-6 over the last two seasons. The Eagles are 5-1 so far with the lone loss coming at the hands of Tucker, last season’s Class AAAAA runner-up. Meanwhile, Mt. Vernon Presbyterian is 4-0 in its second season of varsity competition. The Mustangs were 9-6 last season. Tallulah Falls, located in the north Georgia mountains near the Tennessee border, is 4-0 after going just 4-33 the last two seasons.

22 comments Add your comment

In the know

December 10th, 2013
8:24 pm

Mount Vernon is 4-1 and they were 16-11 last year. This is their second year of competition in GHSA, but have been competing in GISA for the past 8 years with a couple of championships.

GoTigers

December 10th, 2013
11:07 pm

How does a school with 44 students (which includes boys and girls) in grades 9-12 consistently play for the private school state championships?!!!?

CSRA706

December 11th, 2013
4:19 am

Aquinas should be the team to beat in class A, Turner County is gonna get a first hand look come Friday!!!!

SouthGaFan

December 11th, 2013
6:19 am

I am looking forward to the trip to Augusta. I know it will be tough against Aquinas. To be a great program, you need to play great teams and beat them. Should be an exciting game. Best of luck to both teams. Go Runnin’ Rebs!! Thanks for the positive comments S Thomas Coleman. Coach Kellogg and Coach Kimble are doing great things with these kids.

Augusta68

December 11th, 2013
7:12 am

Is the Aquinas – Turner County game scheduled for Friday still on with everybody from Aquinas going to the Dome in Atlanta? Don’t know how many fans and volunteers there would be at the basketball game.

blsands

December 11th, 2013
8:49 am

Cedar Grove High School is off to a fast start as well and undefeated. They knocked of the defending private school champions, Greenforest Academy on Saturday.

TurnerFan

December 11th, 2013
8:56 am

Turner County also knocked off AAAAA Warner Robins last night.

athensbball

December 11th, 2013
9:37 am

Aquinas struggled to beat Athens Academy (0-5). Hill didnt score well that night against a terrible team. Athens Academy’s tallest player is 6′1. sounds like Aquinas may be a one man show….

Dekalb Co Guy

December 11th, 2013
9:38 am

@GoTigers

Guess you are talking about SW Atl Christian. Thats easy, they are basically a glorified basketball academy.

atlanta

December 11th, 2013
9:40 am

@gotigers: Greenforest hasnt “consistently” played for state championships, its only been recently when they realized the loophole of bringing in kids from overseas on full scholarship. they bring them in, let them sit out a year and practice with the team to get them ready.

LHSAlum33

December 11th, 2013
10:41 am

Shoutout to Portal High School. Final Four team from last year with a better team this year! Look out for them!

Augusta68

December 11th, 2013
11:57 am

Athens ball, I wouldn’t call a 25 pt win for Aquinas a struggle over Athens Academy. Aquinas still has 3 starters and 2 reserves from last years final 4 team playing football that have not practiced at all yet. Hill did have an awful night for him that game.

Recruiter

December 11th, 2013
1:08 pm

Greenforest is bringing in kids and reclassifying the grade they are supposed to be in. Youtube Victor Enoh and tell me how old that kid is. The coach did the same thing when he was down in Hinesville and got caught.

athensbball

December 11th, 2013
1:36 pm

@augusta: didnt realize yall had guys out. makes more since then. it really hurts when your missing guys. athens christian is playing without Turtle Jackson right now. and in my opinion, hes the only player that can give HIll a run for his money for POY.

CSRA706

December 11th, 2013
3:45 pm

I really doubt that anybody from aquinas is gonna be there for the early games but a few folks might stroll in later after we go get those rings, if im not mistaken, the game wont be till bout 830 anyway, as for Hill he is playing out of his comfort zone right now being the primary ball handler, but he is still the states#1 player

Andre

December 11th, 2013
3:50 pm

Turner county great program

Southside War Eagle

December 11th, 2013
4:54 pm

Greenforest has a 7′1″ kid (legit) that is a “freshman”. How many 14-15 yr old 7′1″ kids you ever seen?
What a joke. It is a disgrace that the GHSA allows this to go on. I would love to see the birth certificates on these kids.

MDH

December 11th, 2013
7:07 pm

Whitefield Academy is BACK!!! Big win over St. Francis

Rico

December 11th, 2013
8:10 pm

Whitefield Academy beat #1 St Francis Tuesday evening. Whitefield Academy is back this year and will be the team to beat is Class A.

BBall Fan

December 12th, 2013
9:22 pm

Thomas thanks for the Class A coverage. A thankless task but you do a great job! FYI NCCS was 50-6 over the last 2 years. 28-1 & 22-5. Great regular seasons, underachievers in post season.

BBall Fan

December 14th, 2013
12:35 pm

Well I guess if Whitefield is back that means NCCS never left the building, NCCS 76 Whitefield 63. But I bet NCCS would be happy to trade that win for a 5 game winning streak beginning February 22.

Augusta68

December 14th, 2013
3:11 pm

Lots of mention of Turner County in the article, none about Aquinas. Yet Aquinas beats Turner County Friday night by 18 on the hardwood. That was without last year starters Shalom Alvarez, Ruben Garnett, and Antonio Clark who were lighting up the dome in Aquinas big state championship football win. Look for big things from Aquinas come February when those guys get their basketball legs under them.