2018-19 Preseason Girls State Rankings

sportal

Class AAAAAAA

1. Norcross
2. Collins Hill
3. Westlake
4. Cherokee
5. Brookwood
6. Hillgrove
7. Pebblebrook
8. McEachern
9. North Forsyth
10. Parkview

Class AAAAAA

1. Lovejoy
2. Forest Park
3. Douglas County
4. Dacula
5. Northview
6. Tucker
7. Lanier
8. Stephenson
9. Pope
10. Valdosta 

Class AAAAA

1. Villa Rica
2. Buford
3. Harris County
4. Southwest DeKalb
5. Eagle’s Landing
6. Lithia Springs
7. Rome
8. Decatur
9. Woodland-Stockbridge
10. Starr’s Mill

Class AAAA

1. Spalding
2. Carver-Columbus
3. Flowery Branch
4. Henry County
5. Madison County
6. Baldwin
7. West Laurens
8. Westover
9. Burke County
10. Luella

Class AAA

1. Johnson-Savannah
2. Beach
3. Hart County
4. Peach County
5. Dawson County
6. Greater Atlanta Christian
7. Sonoraville
8. Morgan County
9. Cook
10. Pace Academy

Class AA

1. Josey
2. Dodge County
3. Swainsboro
4. Rabun County
5. Early County
6. Laney
7. Fitzgerald
8. Banks County
9. Douglass
10. Bryan County

Class A-Private

1. Wesleyan
2. St. Francis
3. Holy Innocents’
4. Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy
5. Landmark Christian
6. Stratford Academy
7. Lakeview Academy
8. Paideia
9. Athens Academy
10. Prince Avenue Christian

Class A-Public

1. Telfair County
2. Wheeler County
3. Marion County
4. Calhoun County
5. Georgia Military College
6. Bowdon
7. Greenville
8. Taylor County
9. Turner County
10. Pelham

Class 7A

Unlike last year, there won’t be an odds-on heavy favorite to win Class AAAAAAA, but No. 1 Norcross seems like a logical place to start. The Lady Blue battled adversity and countless injuries last season but still managed a 26-4 record and a trip to the Elite Eight where they fumbled a golden opportunity to eliminate the then four-time defending state champs McEachern. Norcross should have motivation to finish the job and has enough firepower to do so, led by Class 7A Player of the Year Morgan Robinson-Nwagwu, an Auburn-commit. The point guard averaged 15.3 points, 7.1 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 4.1 steals and 1.1 blocks per game. Fellow senior Myra Strickland led the team in scoring at 15.5 points per game as a dangerous floor stretcher that also picked up 3 steals a night. Post players Tionna Carter and Yamani Paul both have collegiate futures. The improvement of sophomore Mariah Baltierra gives Coach Dani Wright another talented young ball handler that makes good decisions. No. 2 Collins Hill has pushed out D-I players in Jaron Stallworth (Mercer) and Jada Rice (North Carolina State) and still has Bria Harmon (Purdue), Javyn Nicholson (UGA) and Katherine Fourie in place but it has not yet resulted in a state title. Nicholson is regarded as one of the state’s top prospects after averaging 11.6 points, 9.2 rebounds and 1.9 blocks while Harmon has been a producer at the varsity level since Day 1. Fourie is a premier shooter, but the Eagles will need to find one more scoring option and some defensive difference makers to finish the trio’s career with a title. No. 3 Westlake welcomed a handful of transfers and a dynamic freshmen duo to capture their first state championship in 2018. Not many will argue that sophomore point guard Raven Johnson is likely the best guard in the state regardless of classification and grade. The 5-foot-8 star had ice water in her veins as she posted 15 points and 11 rebounds in Westlake’s 60-45 state championship victory over Newton, highlighted by her game-clinching offensive rebound off her missed free throw and putback with 1:13 left to put the game out of reach. 6-foot-2 sophomore Brianna “Snoop” Turnage showed flashes of what she could become throughout the season and will now have a full-time role as being a top option in Coach Hilda Hankerson’s offense. Junior Carlyse Hooks should also see an up-tick in production. No. 4 Cherokee was one of the great “what-if” teams last year after the Lady Warriors went 26-3 with a two-point loss to eventual state runner-up Newton in the Elite Eight. The Warriors lost star forward Sydne Watts in the region tournament and also saw guard Olivia Herrera go down with an ankle injury. Cherokee will be at full strength this season with senior Lacie McCoy, a Preseason All-State First Teamer, pacing the backcourt. Juniors Chatham Brown and Ashlyn Andrus provide athleticism while space-eating post Kate Johnson, a sophomore, came on strong in Watts’ absence in the state tournament. Cherokee only graduates Laiken Wade from last year’s team and will be the team to beat in Cherokee County and a “dark horse” to spoil the state championship party which has been dominated by Cobb, Fulton and Gwinnett. No. 5 Brookwood had good moments and bad moments in Coach Carolyn Whitney’s first season, going through growing pains together. Malia Grace and Jalyn Bell are out the door via transfer, but tough-nosed senior point guard Alea Spears moves in from Mountain View where she averaged 10.6 points, 3.8 assists and 2.2 steals per game. Spears played with now teammate Kiki Adams with the Lady Rebels this offseason. Adams, 6-foot-1, is a versatile senior that averaged 15.4 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 2.3 steals. The on-going development of 6-foot-4 junior Selma Kulo may determine how good the Broncos can be. Now with offers from Duquesne and Radford in hand, Kulo, who has played basketball since just the seventh grade, is molding herself into a future D-I player. With fellow twin tower Malia Grace gone, the onus to protect the rim and control the boards fall squarely on the still far from finished product’s shoulders. No. 6 Hillgrove quietly put together a solid 2017-18 campaign out of Region 3. The Lady Hawks still haven’t been able to solve rival McEachern, losing all three meetings, but Hillgrove still marched their way to the Elite Eight before dropping 68-63 to North Forsyth. Coach Susan Milam’s strength lies in the backcourt with smooth combo guard Michelle Smith. The GCSU-commit makes things happen with the ball in her hands, able to handle pressure and know when to hunt her own shot or get teammates involved. She has shooters in Logan VanArsdale and Breah McGrady to flank her. If the 2019 trio can get some help elsewhere, they could be in the mix to make another playoff run. No. 7 Pebblebrook returns their top six players from a young but now seasoned core. Juniors Milana Holmes (15.1) and Ravyn Madaris (11.9) combined for 27 points per game. Seniors Jalicia Bass (11.5) and Meliyah White (8.7) help round out the scoring with junior Azaria Alexander also chipping in 7.9 points. No. 8 McEachern’s string of four straight titles was finally broken last year. The Indians overachieved considering they lost star post Kemia Ward, Chanel Wilson (Indiana) and Daelyn Craig to injury, but still managed to make it to the Final Four where they fell apart against Newton in the second half. Ward has since transferred to Holy Spirit Prep leaving a few question marks about who will carry the load. Sophomores Denim Deshields and Sianny Sanchez along with juniors Mikaylin Glover and Craig should be integral pieces for the next two seasons. The transfer of Catherine Shope changed the trajectory of No. 9 North Forsyth last season and thrusted them into the picture as a statewide contender, finishing 28-3 with a hard-fought 52-44 loss to Westlake in the Final Four. The Raiders graduate All-State picks in Shope and Cassie Markle but return a nice 2020 group. Guard Caroline Martin is the offensive engine, able to knock down the three and weave her way to the basket. McCall Thomas helps out with ball handling and stretching the floor. Sophomore Kate Perryman is a big athletic target inside at 6-foot-2. No. 10 Parkview was young and exceeded expectations winning 17 games. Hannah Sadler is off to Old Dominion but sophomore posts Sacha Washington and Sussy Ngulefac made major impacts in Year 1. Washington, 6-foot, averaged 8.6 points and 7.7 rebounds while Ngulefac, 6-foot-2, contributed 8.2 points and 7.2 rebounds a night. Gabby Jester and transfer Jalyn Bell should help balance the backcourt.

Class 6A

The heaviest favorite in Georgia to repeat as state champions is Class AAAAAA’s No. 1 Lovejoy. After nearly seeing their dream season come to an end in the Elite Eight against All-American Olivia Nelson-Ododa and Winder-Barrow, the Wildcats rallied to win in overtime and went on to blowout Northview (70-42) and Harrison (57-41) to capture their first state title. Everyone is back for Lovejoy outside of rebounding machine Kayla Brown (Western Carolina). The All-State junior backcourt of Genesis Bryant and Anaya Boyd is the best in the state. Seniors J’Auana Robinson and Avanna Preston have logged big minutes and perfectly compliment Bryant and Boyd. Lovejoy’s elite guard play and defense puts them in a league of their own. The Wildcats play in the toughest region in the classification, Region 4, pacing four teams in the Preseason Top 10. The biggest shock and disappointment in Georgia last year was No. 2 Forest Park. The Region 4 power was in the Top 10 for the entire regular season before getting upset in the region tournament as the No. 4 ranked team in Class 6A, 37-36, by 8-win ML King. The Panthers finished the season 21-5 and 13-3 in region play but had no playoffs to show for it. Luckily their top seven options are set to return to atone for last year’s premature elimination. Seniors Sarah Matthews (12 ppg) and Alana Denson (10 ppg) pace Forest Park from the backcourt while 6-foot-3 sophomore center Sania Feagin is regarded as one of the state’s top post prospects after averaging 11.6 points, 9.7 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.6 steals and 4 blocks per game. 6-foot-1 sophomore Jasmine Stevens is another long presence that averaged 7.1 points and 4.9 rebounds as a freshman. The Panthers added 6-foot-3 All-State center Destiny Thomas from Tri-Cities, solidifying Forest Park as the top frontcourt in the classification and one of the best in the state. Thomas averaged 15.9 points, 9.2 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 2.1 steals and 6.8 blocks as a junior. No. 3 Douglas County is led by one of the state’s most versatile players, Clemson-bound forward Amari Robinson. The Lady Tigers started the season 1-3 before hitting their stride. Robinson averaged 24.4 points, 10.8 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.6 blocks per game. Douglas County returns its top five scorers. Juniors Desirae Jackson (8.9 ppg) and Dymon Cook (7.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg) will be important to the Tigers’ success along with senior Michaela Cope (7.0 ppg). If teams focus on playing physical with Robinson like Harrison did in the Final Four, others will need to step up and prove they can carry the load. No. 4 Dacula looks set to make the jump from scrappy middle-of-the-road program to a serious playoff threat with a steady core returning and impactful newcomers fresh to Broad Street. The Falcons consistently proved throughout last season that they could hang with anyone. Leading scorers Aiyana Hamilton (9.7 ppg, 6.6 rpg) and Valdosta State-commit Kendall Bollmer (9.6 ppg) are back along with junior point guard Nyla Moore (3.1 apg). 6-foot-2 freshman center Lazaria Spearman already holds offers from UGA, Miami, South Alabama and Troy. Losing star sophomore and best three-point shooter Eden Sample to a torn ACL dampens the outlook for No. 5 Northview, but the move-in of Markiema Lancaster gives the Lady Titans an athleticism and versatility on the wing they haven’t had since Shannon Titus (Mercer) graduated in 2017. The 5-foot-10 transfer from Johns Creek is an active defender that will also help out in a big way handling the ball. Lancaster will bring some toughness on the glass too. Everything will still start with All-State forward Ashlee Austin (Rice). The 6-foot-2 senior averaged 16.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 2.7 steals as a matchup nightmare. 6-foot-1 center Maya Richards (9 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 1.5 bpg – Charleston Southern) is physical on the low block and has gotten better at staying out of foul trouble. Junior point guard Asjah Inniss (8.7 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 5.3 apg, 2.8 spg) is now fully healthy after a nagging shoulder injury. Coming off of back-to-back Final Four appearances, depth and handling pressure will dictate how far the Titans will go. No. 6 Tucker is the third team out of Region 4 to open in the Top 10. The Tigers had an unprecedented controversial finish to the season, being disqualified after the Sweet 16 for using illegal players throughout the season. With the black eye behind them, on paper the Tigers should have one of the more athletic teams in the classification. Tucker’s top five scorers are set to return for their senior season. Jasani Buchanan paces the attack at 11.8 points per game while Kerrigan Johnson is coming off a season in which she posted 10.1 points a night. 6-foot-1 Amariah Stanard averaged 6.8 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 2 blocks while wiry 5-foot-10 wing Summer Dilwood contributed 7.5 points. Devyn Lockhart rounds out the attack as a reliable rebounder, grabbing 5.7 per game last season. Head Coach Tim Slater is back on the sidelines stepping into a good situation at No. 7 Lanier. 6-foot-4 junior Christabel Ezumah is a workhorse post that should thrive in Slater’s offense. She averaged 9.3 rebounds and 2.9 blocks per game as a sophomore. Seniors Kalen Surles (8.3 ppg, 3.4 apg, 3.3 steals) and Nala Lawrence will lead from the backcourt. No. 8 Stephenson marks Team 4 out of Region 4. Only two players graduate from last year’s 18-win group. Junior combo guard Kassidy Broussard earned an All-State Honorable Mention selection as a sophomore after averaging 10.3 points. Junior Sierra Wynn was a double-double threat at 10.3 points and 8.3 rebounds. Senior Nikki Culbreath balances the offense at 10.2 points per game. She finished third in DeKalb County with 50 made threes.  Twin sisters Kennedi and Kerrington Larkins are stingy perimeter defenders that bring toughness. No. 9 Pope pieced together a Sweet 16 appearance under Region 7 Coach of the Year Bill Blythe. The Greyhounds return their core with guards Teya and Cheyenne Holloman and seniors Talia Cloud, Abby McKinley and Kara McKiernan. Teya, a senior, is one of the top passers in Cobb County and can control the tempo. The Greyhounds will have plenty of cracks at proving themselves a Top 10 team in a Region 7 that has gotten stronger over the past three seasons. Their true litmus test will come against Northview, who beat them all three times by 20+ (20, 20, 22). No. 10 Valdosta took a trip to the Elite Eight where they were blasted by Douglas County 86-63, but the Wildcats still proved they were one of the top teams in South Georgia finishing at 22-8. Playmaking guard Asia Harrison (Augusta State) has graduated but scoring options 2-5 are back. Senior Nia Allen averaged 9.5 points, 9.3 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 4.5 steals and 1.1 blocks as a 5-foot-10 forward. Junior Ja’mya Johnson averaged 9.4 points as a sophomore. The Wildcats possess raw size inside in 6-foot-1 junior Jayla Cody (6.1 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 2.1 spg, 4.1 bpg) and late blooming 6-foot-2 Esmeralda Castillo (1.3 bpg).

Class 5A

In Class AAAAA, it might finally be time for a changing of the guard as No. 1 Villa Rica opens up with the top spot. The Wildcats return a good chunk of their Final Four team led by the classification’s best player, 6-foot-2 Deasia Merrill. The do-everything Kentucky-commit has a good cast around her headed by guards Tee Windom and Aliyah Hindsman. If Merrill is to go out with a bang, her and the rest of the state will have to find a way to knock off two-time defending state champion No. 2 Buford. The Lady Wolves pulled away from the Wildcats in the Final Four, 60-46 and ultimately handled rival Flowery Branch for the fourth time last season in the title game 60-49. Buford loses 10 seniors highlighted by Class 5A Player of the Year Tory Ozment (Michigan State) and Audrey Weiner (Air Force). The trio of Ebony Grant, Preston Reid and Tate Walters bring back the vast majority of the returning experience. No. 3 Harris County enters the 2019 season fresh off a Final Four trip where they couldn’t maintain an early lead and fell to Flowery Branch 72-55. Even though star center Jessika Carter is now at Mississippi State, the Tigers have a bruising front court led by All-State senior power forward Taziha Fanning. The thick 6-foot low block scorer overpowers her way in the paint and is coming off a junior campaign in which she averaged 15.2 points, 8.9 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.9 steals and 1.8 blocks. 5-foot-11 senior forward Ny’Azjha Carter has seen her recruitment heat up over the summer as an inside-out multi-positional player. She averaged 8.6 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.6 assists last season. Following in the Carter lineage, 6-foot-5 junior ZiKeyah Carter should see more minutes in the paint. The long-armed shot blocker is far from a finished product but should improve upon last year’s averages of 2.9 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.2 blocks. The Tigers guard play has improved from two years ago and once again must be steady for Harris County to compete with the elites. Following a disappointing to their standards season capped by a Sweet 16 appearance, No. 4 Southwest DeKalb looks ready to rebound from a 17-13 finish. Only two players graduate for Coach Kathleen Richey-Walton. Senior Lanee Edwards returns as the Panthers’ go-to player averaging 15.2 points. Junior guard Jayla Kimbrough runs the offense while 6-foot sophomore Taylor Christmas and 5-foot-8 senior Raven Thurman provide some scoring inside the arc. No. 5 Eagle’s Landing must replace backcourt members Ashley Foster (Western Carolina) and Kiera Howard (Augusta State). Junior Jaleah Storr (9.5 ppg) and Emmanuel College-commit Reyonna Hopkins (8.2 ppg) will see the offense focus more around the rim. The 2020 class of Mariyah Fletcher, Jasmine Atkins and Brianna Maison will become even more of a focal point in the offense. No. 6 Lithia Springs flew under the radar before capturing the Region 6 championship by beating Maynard Jackson. Their trip to the Sweet 16 may have been a year ahead of schedule and now the Lions have invaluable post season experience. Blossoming big Demeara Hinds has grown by leaps and bounds. Still new to the game, the 6-foot-3 junior averaged 12.8 points, 10 rebounds, 2 steals and 2.5 blocks as an agile force both offensively and defensively. Senior Sheryl Sarpong (7.9 ppg), sophomore Jordynn Webster (7.2 ppg) and 6-foot-1 senior Adaora Onwumelu (7.1 ppg) round out Lithia Springs’ top four returning scorers. No. 7 Rome will have a senior-laden group led by 5-foot-10 Tarrah Gibson and 5-foot-9 forward Tamiya Griffin. Juniors Amberly Brown and Justyce Moore are two-way threats. Coach Jason Harris’ 2022 class may pay dividends sooner rather than later. Six of No. 8 Decatur’s top seven scoring options are set to return led by senior Olivia Stephenson, a 6-foot forward who averaged 13.8 points, 5.9 rebounds, 2.8 steals and 1.2 blocks per game. 5-foot-6 senior Alia Bolden has quick hands defensively, swiping a team-best 4 steals per game to go with her 9.6 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.9 assists. Junior bigs 6-foot-2 Kamari Edwards (6.4 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 2.4 spg, 1 bpg) and 6-foot Lily Kostka (6 ppg) provide length around the rim. No. 9 Woodland-Stockbridge brings back leading scorer, junior guard Amia Brown (7.9 ppg). Inside, 6-foot junior Mya Gaddis does the dirty work, posting 6.1 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 1.7 blocks per game. 5-foot-1 senior point guard Kyra Hart is a sparkplug and leader for the Wolfpack. The floor general chipped in 5.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.8 steals per game. No. 10 Starr’s Mill fell to Woodland-Stockbridge 54-51 in the opening round of the state playoffs and find themselves once again nipping on the heels of the Pack. 5-foot-8 junior Alice Anne Hudson is turning into a big-time player, averaging 14.1 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 3.3 steals while fellow 2020 Ashtyn Lally is the team’s second returning leading scorer at 8.3 points. Replacing Region 3 Freshman of the Year Ali Rumpel will be a difficult task. The 6-foot post transferred to Athens Academy after averaging nearly a double-double.

Class 4A

Toughness and defense led to No. 1 Spalding winning their first ever state championship in Class AAAA last season and with four of their top five scorers set to return, the Jaguars rightfully open atop the heap. 6-foot-1 forward Corriana Evans had a coming out party her sophomore season, averaging 13.9 points and 6.2 rebounds while wrecking Henry County in the championship with 19 points and 17 rebounds to blow past the Warhawks 58-46. Senior Kayla Milner (7.2 ppg) and sophomore Kierstyn Milner (7.2 ppg) are trustworthy guards. Hard-nosed senior Aniaya Jester (7.1 ppg) is a fearless competitor at point guard and exemplifies Coach Tykira Gilbert’s hallmark grit. No. 2 Carver-Columbus had the best team on paper in the classification last year, but saw their Final Four showdown with Spalding slip through their fingers in the blink of an eye, 58-51. All-State 6-foot-3 junior center Olivia Cochran is a double-double machine while senior Jailyn Shaw is a physical forward that plays bigger than her size. Senior Janya Love-Hill is a microwave scorer that can carry the Lady Tigers from the perimeter. No. 3 Flowery Branch drops down from Class 5A to Class 4A. The Falcons don’t have as much star-power as last year’s group, but Flowery Branch still has firepower and experience. Seniors Caroline Wysocki, Ashley Scott and Ashley Woodroffe have seen it all over their first three years in the Falcon backcourt. Wysocki emerged as a gamer that rose to the occasion on the biggest stages and now can officially be considered the face of the team. 6-foot-3 sophomore post Ashlee Locke showed flashes of becoming a stalwart inside for Coach Courtney Newton-Gonzalez for years to come. No. 4 Henry County fell in the title game last season and loses an important senior class headlined by Auburn’s Brooke Moore, the Class 4A Player of the Year. Back in the fold however is a strong core of seniors. Janiya Jones averaged 12.3 points and 7.1 assists while uber-athletic forward Amaiya Jackson collected 10.1 points and 8.1 rebounds. Inside, 6-foot-3 Usoreia McWhorter protects the rim. 6-foot-2 Paris Mullins moves in from Westlake for her senior season and provides Coach Greg Shook with another big physical body to clog the paint and score down low. No. 5 Madison County graduates two players from last year’s Elite Eight team that lost on a controversial buzzer beater to Spalding, 55-53. While replacing guard Adryana Maxwell will be tough, Coach Dan Lampe has a blossoming star in Preseason All-State sophomore point guard Kayla McPherson and All-State sturdy inside-out forward senior Jordan Bailey. The dynamic one-two punch should carry the Red Raiders deep into the playoffs. Behind rising senior Crystal Corley, No. 6 Baldwin burst onto the scene with a 25-4 record and Sweet 16 berth. Corley, an athletic scoring guard, averaged 16.7 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.5 steals as a junior. Second leading scorer Akirah Robinson graduates her 11.6 point-per-game average, but options three through seven are back, paced by junior MiKayla Waller, a 5-foot-9 post that chipped in 9.1 points and 5.7 rebounds a night. Coach Oliver Griffeth turned No. 7 West Laurens from a middling 13-16 team into a dangerous 16-12 group that hung with Carver-Columbus in the first round of the state playoffs before falling 57-42. The Lady Raiders made major strides and now return their entire roster led by the three-headed scoring attack of senior Calmela Mack (14.3 ppg), junior Makayla Murray (13.7 ppg, 9.3 rpg) and junior Ja’Kerra Wilbur (13.2 ppg, 4 rpg, 4 apg, 3.9 spg). No. 8 Westover had one of the biggest turnarounds in the state, going from 6-19 to 20-8. The Patriots are expected to return their top three players, all seniors, in Region 1 First Team selection Shamya Loman, Second Teamer Sh’Myia Jones and Third Teamer Jasmine Jenkins. No. 9 Burke County loses their leading scorer in Quin’DeJa Hamilton, but 6-foot-2 senior Kianni Westbrook is back to roam the paint. The long and agile athlete averaged 13.6 points, 9.2 rebounds, 2.9 steals and 1.7 blocks. Senior Qua’Nesha Hamilton posted 11.7 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2 assists and 2.3 steals as a junior. 6-foot-1 junior Tyasia Freeman is another shot blocker that averaged 6 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.5 blocks. The development of 5-foot-3 junior point guard Trinity Wright will be imperative for the Lady Bears’ success. No. 10 Luella had one of the most explosive scoring trios in the state, but now only 5-foot-10 junior Keely Brown returns. Brown, an All-State pick, averaged 17.7 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 3.1 steals. Senior post Shakira Lowery tacked on 5.6 points and 9.1 rebounds. It is a big year for 5-foot-6 senior guard Imani McNeal. As a sophomore she averaged 15.6 points and 7.1 rebounds before getting injured. Last season, McNeal returned for 11 games and provided 7.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 2 steals per game. If McNeal is healthy, she can bring a much needed second scoring option and outside threat.

Class 3A

In Class AAA, No. 1 Johnson-Savannah won their first state title behind the dominant defensive play of 6-foot-5 Giana Copeland, beating GAC 62-50. Copeland is gone along with All-State guard Bubbles Williams, but the Atomsmashers still open at No. 1 thanks to a strong 2019 class and the addition of junior guard Antalazia Baker from Woodville-Tompkins. Preseason All-State picks J’mya Cutter and Jasmine Thompson balance Johnson’s attack. Cutter averaged 12.1 points, 5.7 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 2.8 steals as a junior while Thompson provided some toughness, averaging 11 points, 8.7 rebounds and 1.5 steals. Senior Checobia Hugie is in-line to improve upon her 6.8 point per game average while Baker moves in as one of the better guards in the area. She posted 8.8 points per game as a sophomore at Woodville-Tompkins. The past two championships have run through Savannah’s Region 3 and it likely could again as No. 2 Beach will try to reload. The Bulldogs split with Johnson-Savannah last year 2-2, winning in the Region Championship 58-39 but falling to GAC in the Elite Eight 55-45. Leading scorers Tatiannya Morris and Jabreika Bass graduate but sophomore Kaila Rougier and junior Madison Evans compose a lethal backcourt. Rougier averaged 7.8 points, 2.9 rebounds, 2 assists and 2.5 steals as a freshman while Evans helped orchestrate the offense with 6.8 points, 2.2 rebounds, 4 assists and 2.2 steals. Junior Jaida Burrgess is the third prong of the attack coming off a season where she chipped in 6.4 points, 2.5 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 2.6 steals. No. 3 Hart County had some ups and downs last season playing a difficult schedule. The Bulldogs finished 19-9 but lost at East Hall 63-52 in the opening round of state. Coach Mike Edwards returns his top three scorers led by Class 3A Player of the Year candidate Torrion Starks. A Western Kentucky-commit, Starks is a 5-foot-8 guard with size and athleticism that averaged over 20 points per game. 6-foot sophomore post Taniya Alexander and 5-foot-7 junior Shakendra Grove round out Hart County’s big three. Injuries could have derailed No. 4 Peach County’s season last year, but instead the Lady Trojans plowed through adversity to win another Region 4 title and dance into the Elite Eight before being stopped at Franklin County 55-44. Senior Da’Nasia Shaw flourished in the absence of since graduated Daishai Almond (Southern Mississippi) posting 13.7 points, 8.7 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 3.7 steals and 1.3 blocks as a junior. The All-State pick will look for help to replace Deja Holland’s team-leading 14.7 points per game. Junior Telecia Taylor (6.1 ppg) and senior Maiyah Willis (4.2 ppg) figure to play bigger offensive roles. Legendary Head Coach Steve Sweat has No. 5 Dawson County back in contention after a midseason injury stopped the Lady Tigers from ever hitting their stride. All-State selection Kaylee Sticker is healthy for her senior season after a severe ankle sprain led to ligament damage and an injured achilles. The 5-foot-11 Clemson-commit is one of the most versatile wings in the state, averaging 17.6 points and 6 rebounds. She has a mixture of youth and veterans around her in senior post Anna Lowe, junior guard Sophia d’Oliveira and sophomore ball handler Madison Anglin. No. 6 Greater Atlanta Christian was an early favorite to race away with the state title before Auburn-commit Robyn Benton saw her injury plagued career cut short after 10 games. The Spartans rallied behind their three other D-I seniors to make the state championship but ultimately fell short. It will be a rebuilding year for Coach Lady Grooms but the cupboard isn’t completely bare. All-State senior point guard Kennedi Williams led Gwinnett County in assists at 5.9 per game to go with her 8.7 points and 3.7 steals. Williams has committed to play at Liberty in college. Senior swingman Maya Timberlake averaged 4.2 points and 3.5 rebounds as a junior and has committed to USC Upstate. Outside of Williams and Timberlake, the Spartans will need to find production from an inexperienced cast. No. 7 Sonoraville quietly enjoyed one of the biggest turnarounds in the state last year, improving from 8-22 to 18-9 under Coach Stephanie Caudell. The Phoenix rose to 11-3 in North Georgia’s deep Region 6, with their best win coming early in the season against 27-3 Haralson County, 60-51. Sonoraville earned the No. 2 seed out of Region 6 but lost on the road at Cedar Grove 40-39 in Round 1 of the state playoffs. Only three players graduate from a year ago. The Phoenix return All-Region picks 5-foot-10 junior forward Maliyah Parks and sophomore star Alexa Geary. Known for scheduling extremely tough, No. 8 Morgan County was much better than their 14-15 record suggested. The Bulldogs collected an 8-3 record in Region 8 and went 2-1 against Hart County. A 53-42 loss to Haralson County in the Sweet 16 ended Coach Josh Reeves’ season, but the ‘Dogs return firepower in All-State selection Lou Reid. She is the lone holdover from Morgan County’s 2015-16 state championship team. The 5-foot-4 senior is joined by 5-foot-8 guard Miranda Powell, a fellow All-Region 8 pick that averaged 14 points per game and is regarded as one of the best shooters in the classification. No. 9 Cook floated under the radar with a less than spectacular 15-14 record out of a weak Region 1. The Hornets did provide the occasional sting however, beating Class 2A semifinalist Fitzgerald (60-55), 20-8 Westover (45-39) and Long County in the opening round of the state playoffs. Cook is expected to return their top three scorers and seven of their top eight, paced by senior Rodrica Styles (19.9 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 2.2 apg, 2.3 spg). Seniors Taliyah Carter (9.3 ppg) and Brannon Allen (7.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg) will be crucially important. No. 10 Pace Academy took advantage of a down Region 5 and pieced together a 16-9 season and an 11-3 mark in region play with zero seniors. The Knights earned the No. 2 seed heading into state, but were upset by Coahulla Creek 53-44. The Knights return the All-Region senior trio of Ann Rafeedie, Kayla Ross and Joelle Zelony. Rafeedie is a tall 5-foot-10 shooter while Zelony is a physical inside-out threat that has committed to Tufts University.

Class 2A

Just when you thought Augusta’s reign of terror in Class AA was over, here comes No. 1 Josey. The Eagles had five cracks at two-time defending state champion Laney including in the state title game but Josey finished the year 28-5, all five losses coming to their Region 4 rival. The Eagles lost 63-40 in the championship but unlike Laney, return their top three scorers for their senior seasons led by All-State selection Tykedra Rolland. The powerfully built 5-foot-11 guard averaged 16.5 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 1.1 blocks while sister Rhykeria Rolland, 5-foot-9, chipped in 11.6 points and 4.3 rebounds. While they have physically imposing frames, both love to bomb from deep, Tykedra hitting 45-of-104 threes (43%) while Rhykeria rained in 50-of-140 (36%). Third scoring option Ebony Clark is a 5-foot-8 senior that averaged 7.6 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.4 steals. The on-going development of 5-foot-3 sophomore point guard Deajah Houck will be integral to Josey’s success and ability to handle Laney’s full court pressure. She scored five points in the title game off the bench and averaged 4.2 points, 1.7 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.6 steals. All-Area Honorable Mention selections senior Jakiyah Parker (15 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.5 apg, 1.4 spg – Richmond Academy) and junior Amani Jones (10.2 ppg, 4 rpg, 2.1 apg, 2.6 spg – Cross Creek) move in to bolster the Eagle attack. After teasing with greatness the past two years looking like a sure-fire title contender at times, its officially now or never for No. 2 Dodge County. Nobody quite racks up the South Georgia wins like the Indians do in the small school ranks, but the four-time state champions haven’t hung a banner since 1987. Dodge County has piled on the sexy resume victories over the past two seasons, last year beating the likes of Class 5A Wayne County 2x (16-9), Class A-Public semifinalist Telfair County (27-3), Class A-Public quarterfinalist Wilcox County 2x (23-6) and Class 2A Sweet 16 Washington County 2x (20-8). In the end, the Squaws finished 25-5 and went 10-3 in Region 3, losing twice to 16-8 East Laurens who finished just 7-6 in region play. In the state tournament Dodge County breezed past Jefferson County, then survived Early County 73-65 before losing in the Elite Eight to Model and South Carolina-signee Victaria Saxton, 79-63. Coach Cassandra Hamilton’s group is loaded yet again this year, with only one seldom used post player graduating. The core four of seniors consist of All-State picks Europe Brown (17.2 ppg) and Destanee Wright (16.3 ppg, 8.3 rpg) along with Zannesia Mitchell (13 ppg) and LaShauna Coley (7.3 ppg, 4 rpg). No. 3 Swainsboro came out of a grueling Region 2 nearly unscathed, posting a 23-5 record and 15-1 mark in region play, their only loss in the Region Championship to Metter 71-68. That loss doomed the Tigers as they had to travel to Laney in the Sweet 16. Swainsboro gave Laney their biggest scare of the tournament as they entered the fourth quarter trailing 50-49 before the Wildcats outscored them 26-11 to pull away for a 76-60 decision. Three of Coach Alexandria Parker-Roberson’s top four scorers return highlighted by All-State guard Dynesha Brown. The versatile high-energy 5-foot-7 guard averaged 17.8 points, 9.6 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 5.7 steals and 1.1 blocks and hung 14 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists, 4 steals and 1 block against Laney. Senior Charlsey Kelly is back after averaging 10.8 points, 6.2 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 2.8 steals and 1.6 blocks. Aaliyah Hughes chipped in 9.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.9 steals as a junior. No. 4 Rabun County battled the rigors of a potent Region 8 and snuck away with the No. 3 seed. The LadyCats finished their season 24-7 with a 70-65 loss at Fitzgerald in the Elite Eight. All-State scoring guard Georgia Stockton is back after earning Blitz Sports Player of the Year, averaging 22.1 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.9 steals as a junior. The Presbyterian-commit will be joined by a now healthy Brooke Henricks. The 5-foot-10 wing returned late in the season from an ACL tear. Her versatility when healthy gives Coach DeeDee Dillard a multi-positional player that can score and affect games defensively. Senior guard Kaitlin Coleman and junior guard Laken Stiles return from All-Region Honorable Mention campaigns. One dominant Class 2A post presence graduates in Model’s Victaria Saxton and another emerges in No. 5 Early County’s Makayla Timpson. The 6-foot-2 star sophomore was unstoppable as a freshman, posting 19.4 points, 10.8 rebounds, 1.4 steals and 4.8 blocks per game. Much like Saxton did at Model, Timpson has placed Early County on the map and will have the Bobcats a state title contender over her next three years. Timpson is a High Major recruit that already is a First Team All-State pick and the best prospect in the classification. Her supporting cast will determine how far Early County can go. Senior Janya Williams averaged 11.5 points and 3 steals while 5-foot-11 junior Ta’Ziaya Jones chipped in 8.3 points and 5.6 rebounds. All signs point to No. 6 Laney finally relinquishing their grip on Class 2A, but don’t expect the two-time defending state champions to let their 62-game winning streak end that easily. The Wildcats graduate 50.8 percent of their scoring as two-time Class 2A Player of the Year De’sha Benjamin (22.3 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 2.5 apg, 3.7 spg, 1.8 bpg) is now at Alabama and Jhessyka Williams (16.6 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 3.9 apg, 4.8 spg, 1.2 bpg) is at Gardner-Webb. 5-foot-9 senior guard Jaiden Hamilton was the third head of a devastating trio that averaged 54.4 points per game. Williams returns her 15.5 points, 5.1 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 3 steals. It is a major question mark as to who will fill the roles left behind by Benjamin and Williams. No. 7 Fitzgerald got revenge against Rabun County in the Elite Eight but fell to Josey in the Final Four, 61-47. The Lady Canes will have to replace all-time leading scorer Kirstin Crook and her 1,552 points. The All-State guard is now at Talladega after netting 18.2 points per game her senior season. Scoring options two through four are back however led by junior Trinity Jones (11.7 ppg). Seniors Hayleigh Ross (10.6 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 2.6 spg) and Keyara Boone (8.1 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 2.7 spg, 1.1 bpg) are veteran presences. Rising junior Kyah Crook, younger sister of Kirstin, averaged 4.8 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.7 steals as a 5-foot-10 sophomore. No. 8 Banks County was as good as anybody in the classification (outside of Laney) last year. The Lady Leopards compiled a 25-6 record with a plethora of big wins out of a brutal Region 8. They hosted Laney in the Elite Eight but couldn’t muster enough offense to top the Wildcats, losing 54-38. All-State forward Allison Smith has graduated while Maddie Thomas has transferred to Cherokee Bluff, but the Leopards still have plenty of experience in point guard Kailynn Gilstrap and GCSU-commit Jaycie Bowen, who averaged 12 points and 7 rebounds. 6-foot senior Amber Williams provides size around the rim while newcomer Heather Vaughan slides in from Habersham Central where she averaged 15 points per game as a sophomore. Region 6 Player of the Year, All-State selection Nekiyah Thompson leads No. 9 Douglass into the Top 10. The Lady Astros finished 18-7 with an Elite Eight loss to Josey, 57-39. Coming out of a weak region, Douglass had to earn their respect and they did just that behind Thompson, a scoring dynamo that averaged 22.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, 5 assists and 5 steals. The Astros will shoot for the stars as junior Ashley McKee and senior Kayla Pruitt, two All-Region picks, are both back in support of Thompson. Only one senior graduates from No. 10 Bryan County, who finished 22-7 and 11-5 in Region 2. The Redskins battled the likes of Swainsboro (23-5), Metter (22-7) and St. Vincent’s (20-10) in a top-heavy grouping. Coach Mario Mincey’s squad lost in the first round at Fitzgerald 73-52 but returns their big three led by All-State selection junior Olonna Rawls. The high scoring guard receives help from seniors Jay Black and Shelby Gunn.

Class A-Private

There is one Final Four spot open in Class A-Private as the three traditional powers jockey for the top three seeds. Opening in pole position is No. 1 Wesleyan. The 13-time state champions won their second straight, breaking Holy Innocents’ heart again after playing rope-a-dope and losing all three games to the Golden Bears in the regular season by an average of 13.6 points, before drilling their Region 5 rival 61-44 at McCamish Pavilion. Only two seniors graduate but they are big ones in Amaya Register (Old Dominion) and Sutton West (Furman). All-State forward AC Carter enters her junior season after averaging 13.3 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 2.2 steals. Sophomore point guard Paige Lyons was electric and showed she is more than capable of running the team without Register as she put up 7.2 points, 2.7 assists and 2.3 steals per game. Lone senior Callie Weaver will provide outside shooting for a young team anchored by sophomores and juniors. Juniors Lauren Hill and Izzy Larsen will play more prominent roles along with sophomore forward Alyssa Phillip and guard Nicole Azar. If 5-foot-9 Alanni Brown is cleared to play after transferring from North Gwinnett, she will provide another scoring option coming off a 12 point per game season. Loaded with talent year-in and year-out, its hard to believe that No. 2 St. Francis hasn’t played for a title since 2016. With multiple D-I prospects on last year’s team, the Knights were failed in the Final Four, inexplicably blown out by Wesleyan 71-49. This year’s reincarnation will be starred by Savannah Samuel, an All-State pick already on her third school in three years. Samuel emerged as a star at her home school of River Ridge, averaging 20.1 points and 5.7 rebounds. She joins forwards Jordan Isaacs (13.1 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 3.2 spg) and Amirah Abdur-Rahim (9.5 ppg) in a long and talented front court that suffocates most opponents with their length on the press. Sophomore guard Mia Moore (9.7 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 3.4 apg, 4.2 spg) shined as a fearless leader that scored 17 points in the Final Four. The Lady Knights will have the deepest roster in the state again, but now have to find their way back to the title game. No. 3 Holy Innocents’ failed to seal the deal after a great season. They lost in the Craig Sager Classic title game to Buford 57-45 but more importantly, in the championship against Wesleyan for a second year in a row. The Golden Bears should be in good shape over the next three seasons however as 6-foot-4 forward Jillian Hollingshead is still in the mix. The All-State big was an elite rim protector as a freshman and has continued to polish her game offensively to be regarded as one of the highest ceiling prospects in the 2021 class. Hollingshead can play positions two through five with her agility and ability to put the ball on the floor. She has to make sure she doesn’t stray away from the paint too often, but Hollingshead has the makings of becoming a state championship centerpiece. Junior guard Jada Farrell and sophomore Rachel Suttle round out a young yet experienced core. New to the scene and ready to crash the Final Four is No. 4 Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy. Led by possibly the best one-two punch in the classification, the Lady Chargers have two All-State standouts in Weronika Hipp and Rice-commit India Bellamy. Hipp carried ELCA to a 19-8 season and a Sweet 16 appearance as a freshman and lit the state on fire. The Polish import dropped 27.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and 8.5 assists per game. She now has a running mate with the return of Bellamy, who posted 14.7 points, 9.3 rebounds and 3 steals at Dutchtown. Coach Andy Whitlock returns to the sidelines. ELCA may not have enough to win a state title outside of Hipp and Bellamy, but they can put pressure on the big three and look like a favorite to secure the final spot in the semifinals. Keslynn Oxendine, a Woodland-Stockbridge transfer, could be an X-Factor as a sophomore. No. 5 Landmark Christian showcases All-State guard Elizabeth Gibbs one last time. The 5-foot-7 playmaker averaged 21.1 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 2.8 steals as a junior. Gibbs has plenty of help as the War Eagles return their entire roster including senior Paige Aronhalt. The 5-foot-11 shooter has the ultimate green light hitting 87-of-213 threes (41%) while averaging 15.4 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.6 blocks. Seniors Julia Allen (8.2 ppg) and Katelyn Lee (6.8 ppg) round out the scoring attack.  The War Eagles were bounced in the Sweet 16 by No. 6 Stratford Academy. The Eagles put together a sparkling 26-3 record with their only losses coming at Landmark Christian in the regular season 59-56, vs. Washington County 51-40 and to Holy Innocents’ in the Final Four, 51-32. Stratford Academy deftly avoided the big three until hitting their ceiling in the semifinals. The Eagles return junior guards Nadia Reese and Mary Elaine Mitchell along with senior Drake Miscall as key pieces. After a down for their standards season, No. 7 Lakeview Academy gets a shot in the arm as Eliza Snyder transfers in from St. Francis along with freshman sister Joelle. Eliza, a Preseason All-State selection, will get a chance to shine after averaging 8.3 points, 2.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.4 steals with the Knights. The 5-foot-10 shooter with a Mercer offer in hand has a college-ready body and should instantly make a major impact in Region 8. Younger sister Joelle led St. Francis Middle School in scoring. The two slide into Coach John Carrick’s winning culture on a team that has just two players graduate from last year’s 17-10 finish. Senior Sadie Thrailkill was First Team All-Region while senior Savannah Kinsey and junior Maddy Towles earned Honorable Mention accolades. Head Coach Monique Dawson takes over for Paul Meiere as leader of No. 8 Paideia. The Pythons took a trip to the Elite Eight where they hit their glass ceiling, losing to St. Francis. Paideia returns their top three players in 2017-18 All-State selection Kai Carter along with deceptive scorer Christina Walker and Hunter Furman. Carter, 6-foot-1, is a long senior wing that can play any position on the floor. Her versatility is paired with Walker, a junior guard with a high IQ and steady scoring touch. Region 8 fills the bottom two spots in the Top 10 with No. 9 Athens Academy and No. 10 Prince Avenue Christian. The Spartans of Athens Academy went 1-2 against the Wolverines, losing in the Region 8 Championship 38-31. Leading scorer Gabby Mastandrea graduates, but 5-foot-9 senior Greer Moseley (11.6 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 2 spg) and 5-foot-10 sophomore Rose Bone (8 ppg, 6 rpg) balance the offense. The addition of 6-foot sophomore Ali Rumpel looms large, figuratively and literally. Rumpel was a force at Starr’s Mill where she was named Region 3-AAAAA Freshman of the Year after posting 10.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game. The defending region champion Wolverines took a trip to the Elite Eight where they were clipped by Stratford Academy 44-34. Prince Avenue was set to return their top four players from their 25-3 campaign, but All-State selection Ansley Hall left for North Oconee in the offseason. The pressure will now be on seniors Maddi Britt and Janie Henderson along with sophomore Karlee Armstrong to create their own offense and get others involved.

Class A-Public

Down in Class A-Public, it’s been back-to-back seasons of close but no cigar for No. 1 Telfair County. The Lady Trojans have gone 27-3 in consecutive seasons, losing to Pelham in the 2017 title game and falling last year to eventual champion Greenville in the Final Four, 73-62. While Telfair County might have lost a little off their fastball with the graduation of All-State Honorable Mention guard Ny’Asia Howard (13.6 ppg), Coach Shalonda Troupe still returns two All-State selections in senior India Wells (19.5 ppg) and Brandy Mackey (12.7 ppg). Senior Tanajawa Graham is important as well, chipping in 8.9 points per game. Chasing the Trojans will be rival No. 2 Wheeler County. The Bulldogs lost twice to Telfair, 64-59 and 75-64. They rumbled their way to the Elite Eight before getting stopped by Greenville 71-62. The loss of All-State guard Brianna Hinton hurts, but senior Natera Perkins is a Preseason Second Team All-State pick after averaging 11.3 points and 3.4 steals. Juniors Keonya Mincey (9 ppg), Sameria Bryant (8.2 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 4.6 apg, 4.7 spg) and Lela Wright (8 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 2.2 apg, 2.6 spg) solidify the nucleus. No. 3 Marion County finished 25-6, losing in the championship to Greenville 73-52. The Eagles were battle-tested going 10-5 out of Region 4 and overwhelmed opponents with their frontline. Janiya Crowell and Torriunna Myers graduate but All-State 6-foot-1 senior center Ansley Whitley returns with her twin sister Ashley. Junior point guard Jameisha Williams will lead the backcourt along with Taylor County transfer Taylor Greene, a floor stretcher. No. 4 Calhoun County improved from 11-14 to 18-11 with six freshmen on the roster and just one senior. The Cougars went 14-4 in Region 1 and went toe-to-toe with some of the classification’s best, falling short against Wheeler County (51-49), Pelham (45-41; 50-40), Greenville (62-55) and Telfair County in the Sweet 16, 63-54. No. 5 Georgia Military College posted a 24-4 record, improved from 15-10, but lost three of their last four games including at Bowdon in the Sweet 16, 48-37. The Bulldogs went 10-0 with 5-foot-9 sophomore Deandria Stephens at the helm as a freshman. She averaged 13.7 points, 7 rebounds and 3.6 steals before missing the remainder of the season. Preseason All-State selection Cire Foston returns for her senior season after averaging 10.3 points, 9 rebounds and 3 steals. Junior Kennedy Davis (10.2 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 2.5 spg) and senior Cade Bass (10.2 ppg, 5.4 rpg) compose a reliable cast for Coach Shawn Dennis. No. 6 Bowdon graduates two All-State selections from last year’s 23-6 Elite Eight team, a group that saw a 14-win increase from 2017. The Red Devils will lean on junior Dasia Wyatt to control the backcourt. 5-foot-10 junior Tavania Gay, 5-foot-10 sophomore Trista Gay and 6-foot sophomore Tanesha Kirk give new Head Coach Jan Fendley great size to work with. Life without Brittany Davis begins for the defending state champs, No. 7 Greenville. The 2021 class came up big last year and the eight rising sophomores will be asked to do so again. Sophomores Shabrica Leslie (14) and Jabrika Leslie (12) rose to the occasion in the state championship, combining for 26 points. Nuriyah Slaton (6.4 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 3.1 spg) and Andrianna Perdue (5.4 ppg, 3.4 apg) will have to help out in a by committee approach to scoring the ball now that Davis’ 31.9 points per game are gone. No. 8 Taylor County loses two players from last year’s 15-11 team that lost to Terrell County in the Sweet 16, 47-45. The Vikings went 10-5 in Region 4 with five freshmen and six sophomores on the roster. They were live dogs, pushing some of the region’s best to the brink. The young Vikes won at Marion County 47-42, their best win of the season. No. 9 Turner County finished 19-9 and 12-4 out of Region 2. They ran into the Greenville buzz saw in the Sweet 16, 90-55. The scoring output from Zakiyah Office needs to be replaced. Junior point guard Miya Byrd is an All-State pick. She is a sturdy ball handler with good court vision and zip on her passes. She averaged 16 points, 7.4 rebounds, 6.5 assists and 3.7 steals. The development of Jalaysia Office will be important alongside Byrd. The 5-foot-8 sophomore averaged 7.6 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 2.5 steals as a freshman. No. 10 Pelham finds themselves in an unfamiliar position: at the bottom of the Top 10 and without Antonia Tookes as head coach. The Hornets went 27-3 last year but lost at Marion County in the Elite Eight, 65-54. The Hive has a lot of new faces now that Mahogany Randall and shot blocker Willeshia Kemp have graduated. Jeray Randall takes over as Head Coach after serving as the boys assistant. Juniors Kenaiya Young, Kenjanae Brown and Shanell Byrd along with sophomore Quedasha Ervin will try to keep Pelham’s winning tradition alive.


Spielin’ & Dealin’ Ep. 57: Preseason All-State

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The boys are back!

Kyle Sandy joins Rameen Forghani to discuss the recently released GHSA Preseason All-State Boys & Girls Basketball Teams and the importance of promoting student-athletes.

Class 7A & 6A Boys [3:45]
Class 5A & 4A Boys [11:08]
Class 3A & 2A Boys [15:35]
Class A-Private & A-Public Boys [23:39]
———————
Class 7A & 6A Girls [29:04]
Class 5A & 4A Girls [32:37]
Class 3A & 2A Girls [35:59]
Class A-Private & A-Public Girls [39:38]

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Spielin’ & Dealin’ Ep. 56: August Transfer Update

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Class AAAAAAA: Wheeler and McEachern arms race [2:13]
Class AAAAA: Jamaine Mann to Starr’s Mill; ELCA broken up [12:19]
Class AAA: Johnson-Savannah changing of the guard [14:55]
Out-of-GHSA: Holy Spirit Prep & TSF  [16:52]

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2020 5-10 PG Demajion Topps (New Manchester): Topps wowed the entire day with an aerial display of acrobatic high-flying dunks. He was must see TV. Topps also showed that he could have the ball on a string and break down any man off the dribble on his way to averaging 14.5 points per game. He had 15 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists in the All-Star game.

2019 6-6 PF Zeff Felton (Dooly County): The big unknown from Class A-Public made a lasting impression, tearing down rims and gobbling up rebounds. His 22-point 25-rebound game was as dominating as you’ll see in a camp setting. He averaged 13.5 points and 14 rebounds on the day. In the All-Star game Felton didn’t slow down, posting 18 points and 7 rebounds.

2021 6-1 CG Marcus Samuel (Langston Hughes): The physical downhill guard assaulted the rim throughout the day, difficult to slow down after beating his man with the first step. Samuel rebounded well and provided energy on both sides. Samuel averaged 16.3 points over his first three games.

2021 6-2 CG RJ Noord (Greenforest): The talented ballyhooed youngster brought his alpha dog mentality as he used his athleticism to get to the basket. He cracked double digits in every game and proved to have potential as a defensive ace when locked in. Noord pitched in 10 points and 6 rebounds in the All-Star game and averaged 12.5 points over the course of the event.

2019 5-10 PG Orry Owens (Hillgrove): The wily veteran was quick in transition and knocked down a handful of pull-up jumpers from the midrange. Owens shined in the All-Star game when he poured in all 14 of his points in the second half. He averaged 10.2 points.

2021 5-9 PG AJ White (Chattahoochee): White was hunting his shot in spurts throughout the day, balancing getting his and getting his teammates involved. The microwave buried 7 threes over his four games, netting 15 points in the All-Star game. White was a blur, averaging 13.2 points on Saturday.

2019 5-11 SG Jordan Bragg (New Manchester): The southpaw has emerged over the summer as one of the most dangerous outside shooters in the state. Bragg sank 9 threes on the day and finished with 8 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists in the All-Star game. Bragg averaged 12.5 points as one of the event’s best sharpshooters.

2019 5-11 PG Alijah Huzzie (Heard County): Coming from little Heard County, Huzzie more than held his own. A real stat sheet stuffer, the 20+ point per game scorer in the high school season proved he could do more than just fill it up. He averaged 9.5 points per game and in the All-Star game tallied 8 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals and picked up the game-saving block on 6-foot-4 PJ Carter with seconds remaining.

2020 6-5 W Ra’Sean Frederick (Therrell): Frederick was a revelation in camp, blending physicality, skill and finesse to torch defenses. The lefty averaged 17 points per game and affected the game on both sides of the ball averaging 6 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 3.5 steals.

2021 6-4 W Logan Turner (Centennial): The young slasher averaged 11.5 points per game scoring from the perimeter and working his way to the basket. Running the floor led to easy baskets in transition. He finished with 13 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists in the All-Star game.

2019 6-4 F Jaiden Julian (Hillgrove): Another veteran Hawk, the Hillgrove product was consistent over his first three games averaging 13 points per game. Julian slashed to the basket and played inside-out, hitting a three in each game.

2019 6-1 G Josh Favors (Creekside): Tough was a word that could be used to describe Favors’ performance. Entering with not much of a track record at the high school level, Favors tore it up with his aggressive style of play, scoring on all three levels. Favors led the event in scoring, pumping in 20 points per game and hitting 20 points in the All-Star game.

2020 6-4 W PJ Carter (Langston Hughes): Over the course of his first three games, Carter netted 15 points per. His size and scoring touch was apparent. He will have an opportunity to take over for Landers Nolley and try to guide Langston Hughes to a third straight title.

2019 6-4 W D’Antaye Page (Westlake): Page continued his scoring binge from the travel season, putting up 15 points per game and going for 19 points and 5 rebounds in the All-Star game. After a quiet junior season at Westlake, Page has had a loud summer as he tries to carry momentum into his final year.

2019 6-5 W Kanaris Cummings (Cedar Grove): Cummings was outstanding with his relentlessness. The slasher was involved in almost every play and lived in the paint. He averaged 9.2 points and 8 rebounds as the ultimate energy guy. His length led to 5 steals and 2 blocks.

2021 6-1 G Christian Callahan (Dutchtown): Callahan did not play like a rising sophomore. The now healthy guard was mature for his age and found a niche to provide consistency. He hit the outside shot played solid perimeter defense. Callahan averaged 10.7 points per game.

2020 6-0 PG Donovan Shipp (Sequoyah): In an exposure camp setting, Shipp proved to be a true point guard electing to play his game and get his teammates involved. He rebounded exceptionally well for his size and averaged 7.6 points over his first three games.

2020 6-0 PG Roman Son (Therrell): The Therrell Panthers will be in great hands with Son running the show for another season. He had some great drives to the basket, finishing through contact. Son’s competitive spirit will lead Therrell to another big season. He averaged 14 points per game on Saturday.

2019 6-3 SG Kaleb Wallace (Westlake)
: Over the course of his first three games, Wallace proved that he could score the rock, averaging 13.3 points per game. In the All-Star game he added 6 points and provided some flair.

2020 6-2 SG DeAndre Brown (Therrell): After a slow start to the day, scoring 4 points in Game 1, Brown found his stride and scored in waves. In his final three games he averaged 23.6 points. Brown drilled 3 of his camp-high 11 three-pointers in the All-Star game as he finished with 17 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals.

2021 6-0 SG George Pridgett (Roswell): Pridgett had as strong a case of anyone to make the All-Star game. The rising sophomore is a flamethrower from deep. The lefty ended his day with 15 points and 6 rebounds. He drilled 6 threes over the course of the event and averaged 13.3 points per game.

2020 6-6 F Javanni Brown (Johns Creek): The long forward broke out in a big way in his final game of the day exploding for 22 points. He buried 3 threes and used his size to finish around the basket.

2021 5-8 PG KJ Webb (Langston Hughes): Small in stature with plenty of room to grow, Webb handled the ball exceptionally well and had no problem playing role of playmaker. Webb can shift gears and create easy looks for teammates.

2019 6-5 F Chancellor Wright (Mays): Wright played with energy and defended multiple positions. He crashed the glass and scored around the rim. The lanky forward was consistent averaging 8 points per game.

2022 5-11 CG Gaddis Heath (Douglass): One of a handful of rising freshen in camp, Heath excelled at rebounding from his position. He showed he could hit the open three and got to the rim on occasion. Defensively he made some nice plays.

2021 6-3 W Bryce Wilson (Dacula): As Wilson grows his confidence and IQ, he will become better and better. Wilson did a nice job of playing glue guy, chipping in on the boards and helping on defense. He posted games of 8 and 6 points. Wilson could be a usable piece for his father at Dacula this upcoming season.

2021 6-6 F Eli’sha King (Tri-Cities): King was one of the camp’s most consistent rebounders. He had a steady motor and converted around the hoop on offense. King averaged 8.3 points and flirted with a double-double on numerous occasions. He snagged 13 rebounds to open camp.

2020 5-10 G Nicholas Goldsztein (Walton): Goldsztein provided good minutes at the guard position. His floor vision was among the best at camp. He often made the right decision and played within himself. Goldsztein knocked down the open three throughout camp and averaged a steady 5.3 points.

2021 6-2 F Alexander Zwerner (Westminster): A soft touch and a nose for the ball characterized Zwerner’s productive afternoon in which he averaged 7.6 points. Zwerner scored from 15-feet in and knocked down the perimeter shot when given to him. He had deceptive quickness and enough handle to get in the paint.

2021 6-7 F Davorian Rudolph (Tri-Cities): It will be very interesting to see how Rudolph develops his game. At 6-foot-7, there is plenty of intrigue around the slim forward’s skill set. Rudolph showed he could attack the basket off the bounce but also hit a three in each of his three games. He averaged 5.6 points per game. With the proper work, there’s a chance that Rudolph will be a name you hear a lot more of over the next three years.

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