Category Archives: Rankings

Week 2 Rankings


  1. Westlake (4-0) [d. 3ANo. 5 East Jackson 94-70, IMG Academy (FL) 71-54, 2ANo. 2 Pace 79-72]
  2. Shiloh (2-1) [d. Grissom (AL) 66-33, Pebblebrook 68-63, L. Southwind (TN) 82-76]
  3. Wheeler (1-1)
  4. Norcross (3-1) [d. 4ANo. 2 Jonesboro 70-65, L. 1ANo. 1 Greenforest 77-48]
  5. Collins Hill (3-0) [d. Central Gwinnett 62-52, Olympic (NC) 73-52, Concord Academy (NC) 61-50]
  6. Tift County (4-0) [d. McEachern 56-48, Tucker 65-54]
  7. Pebblebrook (1-3) [L. 1ANo. 1 Greenforest 87-59, No. 1 Shiloh 68-63]
  8. Lambert (4-0) [d. North Gwinnett 63-60, Hardaway 79-41, Langston Hughes 72-65]
  9. Milton (2-2) [L. Arlington Country Day (FL) 80-68, 1ANo. 2 St. Francis 86-81]
  10. Newton (2-1) [d. Berkmar 62-58]


  1. Miller Grove (3-0) [d. Columbus (MS) 64-54]
  2. Gainesville (1-0) [d. 1ANo.2 St. Francis 70-58]
  3. McIntosh (2-1) [L. Douglas County 84-81, d. IMG Academy (FL) 61-53]
  4. Allatoona (1-0) [d. Americus-Sumter 67-55]
  5. Heritage (5-0) [d. Discovery 80-47]
  6. Brunswick (2-0) [d. Johnson-Savannah 57-54, Wayne County 72-59]
  7. Warner Robins (3-0) [d. Perry 85-55]
  8. Cedar Shoals (4-0) [d. Creekside 67-52, Tri-Cities 62-56]
  9. Riverwood (6-0) [d. West Forsyth 64-49, 2ANo. 6 GAC 51-40, 3ANo. 9 Blessed Trinity 58-50]
  10. LaGrange (2-0) [d. Newnan 63-59, Mundy’s Mill 87-72]

Class AAAA

  1. Lithonia (2-2) [L. Wesleyan Christian Academy (NC) 72-53, 3ANo. 3 Morgan County 44-41]
  2. Jonesboro (0-2) [L. 6ANo. 4 Norcross 70-56, Wesleyan Christian Academy (NC) 52-51]
  3. Liberty County (1-0)
  4. Bainbridge (0-0)
  5. St. Pius (3-0) [d. Decatur 54-56]
  6. Henry County (3-0)
  7. Grady (3-0) [d. No. 8 Sandy Creek 67-66, Mays 76-59]
  8. Sandy Creek (4-2) [d. Griffin 91-51, L. No. 7 Grady 67-66, Wasatch Academy (UT) 97-72]
  9. Fayette County (3-0) [d. Walton 67-60]
  10. Worth County (2-1)

Class AAA

  1. Laney (2-0) [d. Grovetown 102-71]
  2. Jenkins (1-0) [d. Creekview 74-67]
  3. Morgan County (3-1) [d. Hampton 71-27, Stone Mountain 71-54, 4ANo.1 Lithonia 44-41]
  4. South Atlanta (2-0)
  5. East Jackson (2-2) [L. 6ANo.1 Westlake 94-70, Grayson 72-68, d. Huntsville (AL) 83-78]
  6. Calhoun (0-0)
  7. Cedar Grove (1-0)
  8. Callaway (0-0)
  9. Blessed Trinity (3-1) [d. Chapel Hill 50-46, L. 5ANo.9 Riverwood 58-50]
  10. East Hall (2-1) [d. Rabun County 84-63, Paideia 68-54, L. 1ANo. 8 Lakeview Academy 87-69]

Class AA

  1. Seminole County (0-0)
  2. Pace Academy (0-1) [L. 6ANo.1 Westlake 79-72]
  3. Crawford County (0-0)
  4. Thomasville (5-0) [d. Lowndes 70-69, Bay (FL) 63-36, Cairo 70-24]
  5. Holy Innocents’ (2-1) [d. Duluth 61-60, Sacred Heart (AL) 64-62]
  6. GAC (3-2) [d. River Ridge 66-47, L. 5ANo. 9 Riverwood 51-40]
  7. Vidalia (2-0) [d. West Laurens 85-48]
  8. Early County (1-0) [d. Quitman County 80-46]
  9. Swainsboro (1-1) [d. Effingham County 66-65]
  10.  Lovett (2-0)

Class A-Private

  1. Greenforest (5-0) [d. Lee (AL) 87-46, 6ANo. 7 Pebblebrook 87-59, 6ANo. 4 Norcross 77-48]
  2. St. Francis (2-2) [L. 5ANo. 2 Gainesville 70-58, d. 6ANo. 9 Milton 86-81]
  3. North Cobb Christian (3-0) [d. Woodland 82-28, Coahulla Creek 68-44, Darlington 74-41]
  4. Whitefield Academy (1-1) [d. Hillgrove 64-54]
  5. Landmark Christian (4-0) [d. Jackson 84-57]
  6. SWAC (2-2)
  7. St. Anne-Pacelli (1-0) [d. Strong Rock 77-30]
  8. Lakeview Academy (2-1) [d. Stephens County 67-57, 3ANo.10 East Hall 87-69]
  9. Stratford Academy (0-0)
  10. Tattnall Square Academy (0-0)

Class A-Public

  1. Calhoun County (1-0) [d. Miller County 82-45]
  2. Hancock Central (3-0) [d. Putnam County 78-72, Baldwin 65-57]
  3. Treutlen (0-0)
  4. Wilkinson County (0-0)
  5. Turner County (0-0)
  6. Randolph-Clay (2-0)
  7. Greenville (0-0)
  8. Dooly County (0-0)
  9. Portal (0-0)
  10. Terrell County (1-2) 

The depth of quality teams in Class AAAAAA continues to make it tough. With only a handful of games played, each team is still trying to sort itself out and find its identity. One team that has had no problem so far has been No. 1 Westlake (4-0) who takes over the top spot over No. 2 Shiloh (2-1) by the slightest of margins. This past week the Lions have blown out 3ANo. 5 East Jackson, 94-70 and IMG Academy (FL), 71-54 before rallying to beat the No. 1 ranked prospect in the Class of 2017, Wendell Carter Jr. and his 2ANo. 2 Pace Academy Knights in the finale of Holiday Hoopsgiving, 79-72. Chuma Okeke and Jamie Lewis continued to be superstars for Coach Darron Rodgers’ team. Okeke went for 24 points, 11 rebounds and six steals while Lewis dropped in 22 points to complete the comeback after trailing 41-30 at the half.  Shiloh’s lone loss came to Southwind (TN) 82-76, but quickly rebounded at the On the Radar Hoops Showcase, downing No. 7 Pebblebrook 68-63 in a back and forth game. No. 4 Norcross (3-1) slips a spot after a 77-48 loss to 1ANo. 1 Greenforest Christian. Collins Hill (3-0) and Tift County (4-0) rise to No. 5 and No. 6 respectively after the Eagles picked up a pair of wins in North Carolina and Tift added quality notches to its belt, beating McEachern 56-48 and Tucker 65-54. No. 9 Milton (2-2) slips four spots after falling to Arlington Country Day (FL) 80-68 and 1ANo. 2 St. Francis, 86-81. No. 10 Newton (2-1) continues to cling onto a top ten spot after defeating Berkmar 62-58. Douglas County (3-1) looked like they would enter the polls after defeating 5ANo. 3 McIntosh 84-81, but Dacula (3-0), who might not be out of the top ten for much longer, turned them back with a 78-71 win behind Derek St. Hilaire’s 29 points and Kevon Tucker’s 22. Grayson (3-0) is also off to a hot start and came from behind to beat East Jackson 72-68. In the win Alphonso Willis scored 23 and Austin Dukes dropped 20 points, all in the second-half, to lead the charge.

In Class AAAAA, No. 1 Miller Grove (3-0) held on against Columbus (MS) in the Lighthouse Classic for a 64-54 win. No. 2 Gainesville (1-0) defeated 1ANo. 2 St. Francis 70-58 in the Jared Cook Classic while Kobi Simmons sat out with a bad ankle. No. 3 McIntosh (2-1) matches its loss total from all of last season after splitting in Holiday Hoopsgiving, losing to Douglas County by three, but rebounding to beat IMG Academy (FL), 61-53. Will Washington, Jordan Lyons and Dishon Lowery were all sensational for the Chiefs. Lowery pulled down 35 rebounds all together in the two-day stint while Lyons averaged 25 points and Washington 17.5 points. No. 5 Heritage (5-0) jumps No. 6 Brunswick (2-0) after an impressive start to the season. No. 9 Riverwood (6-0) forces its way into the rankings and jumps both No. 10 LaGrange (2-0) and Southwest DeKalb (4-0) after already knocking off three top ten teams. The Raiders have beaten 2ANo. 5 Holy Innocents’ 54-46, 2ANo. 6 GAC 51-40 and 3ANo. 9 Blessed Trinity 58-50.

The top of Class AAAA saw some vulnerability and shaky play, but No. 1 Lithonia (2-2) and No. 2 Jonesboro (0-2) hold serve and aren’t penalized for early losses. The Bulldogs were drilled by Wesleyan Christian Academy (NC) 72-53 at ATL Hardwood Jam Fest and fell to 3ANo. 3 Morgan County, 44-41. Jonesboro also struggled at Jam Fest, but played well, losing to 6ANo. 4 Norcross 70-65 and Wesleyan Christian Academy 52-51. The Cardinals might be deserving of the No. 1 spot with how close they played both teams, especially WCA compared to how Lithonia played them, but I could not place a winless team over Lithonia just yet. Consider them 1A and 1B at this point of the season, while No. 3 Liberty County (1-0) and No. 4 Bainbridge (0-0) have yet to really kickoff their seasons and won’t face the quality of competition the Cardinals and Bulldogs will throughout the season. No. 5 St. Pius (3-0) remained undefeated against a much improved Decatur team. The Golden Lions rallied behind Kerney Lane’s career-high 31 points to secure the win at the X-Dome. No. 7 Grady (3-0) moves up two spots after knocking off No. 8 Sandy Creek (4-2), 67-66. Bucknell commit Avi Toomer has caught fire for the Knights and has posted three straight double-doubles. He went for 38 points and 12 rebounds to defeat the Patriots who were paced by Elias Harden’s 15. No. 9 Fayette County (3-0) debuts in the polls behind 6-foot-7 junior forward Noah Gurley, who leads the Tigers in scoring at 20 per game while grabbing 7.7 rebounds. He has improved by leaps and bounds after appearing in 22 games last season and when he averaged just 2.1 points.

The wake-up call served to Morgan County (3-1) a week ago must have worked. The Bulldogs opened the season ranked No. 3 in Class AAA before going unranked after a bad loss to Cherokee. Coach Jamond Sims’ group has rebounded and are back at No. 3 after drilling Hampton 71-27 and Stone Mountain 71-54. The big win came against 4ANo. 1 Lithonia 44-41 at ATL Jam Fest. Defense has turned the early season woes around as in their three wins the Bulldogs have allowed just 40.6 points per game. They face their toughest test yet on 12/4 as they visit No. 1 Laney (2-0). No. 2 Jenkins (1-0) struggled out of the gates by beating Creekview 74-67 in overtime in the Dai Jon Parker Classic. No. 5 East Jackson (2-2) falls two spots after losing to 6ANo.1 Westlake and Grayson. Central-Macon (0-0) was bounced out of the poll to make room for Morgan County’s reemergence.

Pace Academy (0-1) holds on to their No. 2 ranking in Class AA after falling 79-72 to 6A No. 1 Westlake. Wendell Carter Jr. fouled out in the fourth quarter which allowed the Lions to storm back for the victory on a 15-5 run with Carter out. He finished with 20 points, 17 rebounds and five blocks in the loss. No. 4 Thomasville (5-0) drilled Cairo 70-24 on Saturday. No. 10 Lovett (2-0) makes an appearance in the top ten.

Class A-Private might be home to the best team in the entire country. No. 1 Greenforest (5-0) left fans in awe at Holiday Hoopsgiving, destroying both 6ANo. 7 Pebblebrook 87-59 and 6ANo. 4 Norcross, 77-48. No. 2 St. Francis (2-2) holds onto their ranking thanks to an 86-81 win over 6ANo.9 Milton at the Dai Jon Parker Classic. The Knights’ 70-58 loss to 5ANo. 2 Gainesville at the Jared Cook Classic was without Kobi Simmons. In Class A-Public, No. 2 Hancock Central (3-0) defeated up-and-coming Baldwin 65-57. The Bulldogs face 2ANo. 3 Crawford County (0-0) on Tuesday.

Week 1 Rankings

  1. Shiloh (0-0)
  2. Norcross (2-0) [d. King’s Ridge 81-52, Lovejoy 89-57)]
  3. Westlake (1-0) [d. Gray Collegiate Academy (SC) 79-49]
  4. Wheeler (1-1) [d. Woodstock 80-48, L. 76-70 Montverde (Fl.)]
  5. Milton (2-0) [d. Walton 91-75, Brookwood 76-60]
  6. Pebblebrook (1-1) [L. Montverde (Fl.) 76-70, d. Blanche Ely 64-63]
  7. Collins Hill (0-0)
  8. Tift County (2-0) [d. 4ANo. 8 Worth County 77-61, Buford 56-18]
  9. Lambert (1-0) [d. South Forsyth 74-51]
  10. Newton (1-1) [d. Eastside 90-60, L. 4ANo. 7 Henry County 67-66]
  1. Miller Grove (2-0) [d. Dunwoody 80-40, Stephenson 77-44]
  2. McIntosh (1-0) [d. Morrow 89-68]
  3. Gainesville (0-0)
  4. Allatoona (0-0)
  5. Brunswick (0-0)
  6. Heritage (4-0) [d. Rockdale 75-70, 1ANo. 5 SWAC 81-49, Monticello 83-39, Berkmar 65-55]
  7. Warner Robins (2-0) [d. Taylor County 66-46, Northeast 78-45]
  8. Cedar Shoals (2-0) [d. Tucker 62-38, Rockdale 70-56]
  9. LaGrange (0-0)
  10. Southwest DeKalb (2-0) [d. Salem 69-45, Hampton 108-38]
Class AAAA
  1. Lithonia (2-0) [d. Marist 66-46, Columbia 65-58]
  2. Jonesboro (0-0)
  3. Liberty County (1-0) [d. Bradwell Institute 69-44]
  4. Bainbridge (0-0)
  5. Sandy Creek (3-0) [d. Cambridge 82-37, Banneker 75-36, Westminster 62-47]
  6. St. Pius (2-0) [d. Arabia Mountain 60-53, Chamblee 67-30]
  7. Henry County (3-0) [d. Jones County 77-67, Decatur 55-47, 6ANo. 10 Newton 67-66]
  8. Worth County (2-1) [d. Colquitt County 82-73, Lee County 88-75, L. 6ANo. 8 Tift County 77-61]
  9. Grady (1-0) [d. Redan 78-77]
  10. Upson-Lee (2-0) [d. Heard County 66-36, Johnson-Gainesville 73-41]
Class AAA
  1. Laney (1-0) [d. Greenbrier 74-62]
  2. Jenkins (0-0)
  3. East Jackson (1-0) [d. Tallulah Falls 80-48]
  4. Calhoun (0-0)
  5. South Atlanta (2-0) [d. Carver 76-53, North Atlanta 77-41]
  6. Blessed Trinity (2-0) [d. Lithia Springs 55-53, Meadowcreek 38-24]
  7. Callaway (0-0)
  8. Cedar Grove (1-0) [d. 1ANo. 2 St. Francis 72-69]
  9. East Hall (0-0)
  10. Central-Macon (0-0)
Class AA
  1. Seminole County (0-0)
  2. Pace Academy (0-0)
  3. Crawford County (0-0)
  4. GAC (2-1) [d. 1ANo. 9 Lakeview Academy  73-61, Roswell 64-39, L. Brewbaker Tech (Al.) 64-53]
  5. Thomasville (2-0) [d. Valdosta 72-52, 71-63]
  6. Vidalia (1-0) [d. East Laurens 83-38]
  7. Holy Innocents’ (0-1) [L. Riverwood 54-46]
  8. Early County (0-0)
  9. Rabun County (1-0) [d. Dawson County 79-59]
  10.  Swainsboro (0-1) [L. Statesboro 61-47]
Class A-Private
  1. Greenforest (2-0) [d. WD Mohammed 80-50, Peachtree Ridge 69-42]
  2. St. Francis (1-1) [d. Sacred Heart (Al.) 74-58, L.  3ANo. 8 Cedar Grove 72-69]
  3. North Cobb Christian (0-0)
  4. Whitefield Academy (0-1) [L. Sacred Heart (Al.) 67-62]
  5. SWAC (2-1) [L. Heritage-Conyers 81-49, d. Alcovy 81-32, Griffin 64-37]
  6. Landmark Christian (3-0) [d. Providence Christian 80-56, Fulton Leadership 89-75, Ola 80-69]
  7. St. Anne-Pacelli (0-0)
  8. Stratford Academy (0-0)
  9. Lakeview Academy (0-1) [L. GAC 73-61]
  10. Tattnall Square Academy (0-0)
Class A-Public
  1. Calhoun County (0-0)
  2. Hancock Central (1-0) [d. Putnam County 62-52]
  3. Treutlen (0-0)
  4. Wilkinson County (0-0)
  5. Turner County (0-0)
  6. Randolph-Clay (2-0) [d. Baker County 96-27, Spencer 102-84]
  7. Greenville (0-0)
  8. Dooly County (0-0)
  9. Portal (0-0)
  10. Terrell County (1-1) [d. Miller County 52-34, L. Lee County 62-37]


With not every team in the state getting their season underway, the rankings are still a work in progress. It isn’t fair to penalize teams who haven’t played, but it also is difficult to move teams around in favor of those teams yet to tip, but with that being said, here is how things have played out thus far…

In Class AAAAAA, No. 2 Norcross scored a pair of easy wins while No. 3 Westlake might have been the most impressive team out of the top 10. Junior Chuma Okeke made an instant impact in his first game with his new team, going for 23 points, 15 rebounds, three blocks and four steals. No. 8 Tift County forces its way into the state picture with an impressive win over 4A No. 8 Worth County 77-61 and a devastating 56-18 blowout of Eddie Martin’s Buford Wolves. Berkmar fell from No. 8 to out of the poll with a loss to 5A No. 6 Heritage-Conyers 65-55. If it weren’t for Tift’s excellent play, Berkmar likely would have survived another week. A handful of Gwinnett County schools are knocking at the door to make a top ten appearance.

No. 6 Heritage-Conyers has put Class AAAAA officially on watch of its presence. They hop up two spots and have looked great behind Jordan Thomas, Charles Moore, Isaiah Banks and Byron Abrams. Wins over ranked opponents No. 5 SWAC and former No. 8 Berkmar look nice on the resume. Both No. 7 Warner Robins and No. 8 Cedar Shoals have done some early season thumping.  Senior Keith Gilmore has led No. 10 Southwest DeKalb into the polls. He is averaging 20.5 points and 5.0 rebounds. Jones County drops out after losing to 4A No. 7 Henry County 77-67 and Baldwin, a 3-21 team a year ago, 68-41.

In Class AAAA, No. 5 Sandy Creek has steamrolled opponents with its mixture of athleticism, shooting and defense. No. 6 St. Pius has been steady behind the stellar play of Kerney Lane. The versatile southpaw is averaging 27 points per game to pace the Golden Lion attack. No. 7 Henry County knocked off 6A No. 10 Newton, using a late Javon Greene freethrow to win 67-66, after losing 86-63 in a scrimmage vs. the Rams. Columbia slips out of the top ten narrowly and is replaced by 2014 quarterfinalist Upson-Lee, who has smashed their two opponents.

The wild, wild west that is Class AAA has already begun shaking up. It is a wide open field with No. 1 Laney the early favorite. State runner-up Morgan County tumbles all the way out of the rankings after a 57-52 loss to Cherokee at the Battle at the Rock tournament. The Bulldogs will have plenty of time to regroup after the upset loss. No. 5 South Atlanta leaps up five spots after a pair of convincing wins. Things haven’t always been pretty with No. 6 Blessed Trinity, but their grind-it-out style of play has started them off at 2-0. Monday’s 38-24 win against Meadowcreek further proved that the Titans are one of the best in the state at controlling tempo. Cedar Grove debuts at No. 8 after a shocking upset of defending 1A-Private state champion St. Francis.

AA No. 4 GAC suffered a setback against Alabama powerhouse Brewbaker Tech, but still holds onto their spot. No. 5 Thomasville picked up a pair of wins in a home-and-away tilt with Valdosta. No. 7 Holy Innocents’ moves down a spot while No. 9 Rabun County jumps one after a 79-59 win over Dawson County and a No. 10 Swainsboro loss.

No. 1 Greenforest looks like the class of A-Private with its size inside and dominating play. No. 2 St. Francis holds onto the second spot after No. 3 North Cobb Christian didn’t play and No. 4 Whitefield Academy fell to Sacred Heart (Al.) 67-62, after the Knights of St. Francis beat them 74-58. No. 5 SWAC was blown out by 5A Heritage. No. 9 Lakeview Academy lost a competitive match with 2A No. 4 GAC, 73-61.

Not much going on in A-Public. Hancock Central defeated Putnam County by 10. No. 6 Randolph-Clay is averaging 99 points per game.

Sandy’s Spiel Preseason Top 25

After releasing my Top Ten for each classification in the state, I now tackle the unenviable task of trying to put together a Top 25 regardless of classification.

A Power Poll of the best teams in the state. There will be no right answer, but I’m sure there will be a couple wrong answers. It never hurts trying to rank the state, and the picture will hopefully clear up a little more as the season goes on.

But without further ado, here is my first crack at the Sandy’s Spiel Top 25:

  1. Shiloh
  2. Miller Grove
  3. Norcross
  4. Westlake
  5. Greenforest Christian
  6. McIntosh
  7. Wheeler
  8. Milton
  9. Pebblebrook
  10. Lithonia
  11. Seminole County
  12. Pace Academy
  13. St. Francis
  14. Laney
  15. Jonesboro
  16. Collins Hill
  17. Jenkins
  18. Morgan County
  19. East Jackson
  20. Liberty County
  21. Gainesville
  22. Bainbridge
  23. Sandy Creek
  24. Crawford County
  25. Brunswick

Breakdown by class:

6A – 7 (No. 1, No. 3, No. 4, No. 7, No. 8, No. 9, No. 16)

5A – 4 (No. 2, No. 6, No. 21, No. 25)

4A – 5 (No. 10, No. 15, No. 20, No. 22, No. 23)

3A – 4 (No. 14, No. 17, No. 18, No. 19)

2A – 3 (No. 11, No. 12, No. 24)

1A – 2 (No. 5, No. 13)

Class A-Public Preseason Top Ten

Class A-Public

  1. Calhoun County
  2. Hancock Central
  3. Treutlen
  4. Wilkinson County
  5. Turner County
  6. Randolph-Clay
  7. Greenville
  8. Dooly County
  9. Portal
  10. Terrell County

Honorable Mention: Georgia Military College, Claxton, Mt. Zion, Taylor County, Quitman County

Calhoun County will open up the season at No. 1 after finishing 30-2 with a thrilling 84-82 state championship victory over Greenville. A five-man senior class with plenty of leadership has graduated, leaving sophomore Rashun Williams and senior Jerrek Solite as the two focal points of the offense. Senior center Jalin Gray also has experience and brings some bulk inside for the Cougars. Both Williams and Gray scored 8 points in the title game while Solite chipped in 7. Williams also added 6 rebounds to his ledger. Solite grabbed 9 rebounds and dished 4 assists.

No. 2 Hancock Central went 25-3 and lost to Greenville in the semifinals 75-69. Senior guard Alex Brooks is a big time scorer and a blur on offense. He and Markellus Lamar make up for a quick backcourt that looks to push the tempo and get easy baskets.

No. 3 Treutlen lost only three seniors from last year’s 27-2 unit that fell in the Final Four to Calhoun County 87-67. Gone is Terrance Warren and his 15.4 points and 7 rebounds per game, but back are seniors Titus Benjamin and Elijah Johnson. Johnson is a talented guard and Benjamin is a 6-foot-3 forward that can take his man inside and out.

No. 4 Wilkinson County lost to Hancock Central in round two, 72-71 in double overtime, ending the Warriors’ season at 25-5. Senior guard Ontario Coats, sophomore forward Clarence Jackson, junior guard Larry Jones and junior center Greg Cousin should be a strong nucleus to build around after losing six seniors including All-Middle Georgia Honorable Mention selection Torrico Simmons.

It will be interesting to see how Tasha Kimble does at No. 5 Turner County. Kimble will now be in charge of coaching both the boys and girls teams. Good news for Kimble, talent is aplenty at Turner County. She led the girls team to a 28-3 season and a state runner-up trophy and will take over a Rebels team that went 25-4 last year and lost to Treutlen in round two, 88-81 in overtime. Kimble’s offense will revolve around the exciting Tamorrion Terry. Terry, a junior, is a two-sport star at Turner County and is pegged as a three-star wide receiver. On the hardwood, at 6-foot-3, he is a beast. Terry averaged 17.1 points and 11.5 rebounds for the Rebels. In their final game of the season, Terry saved his best for last and recorded 33 points and 22 rebounds.

No. 6 Randolph-Clay finished 21-6, but saw their season end too soon, getting beat by Dooly County 62-56 in round one of the state playoffs. The Red Devils’ top two leading scorers and rebounders have graduated and Coach Kalvin Baker will now turn to senior Cody Brown to carry the load. Brown averaged 9.8 points and 5.5 rebounds as a 6-foot-2, 225-pound power forward. Nigel Gibson is another senior forward who should be a key contributor.

28-3 No. 7 Greenville suffered a heartbreaking defeat to Calhoun County, 84-82 in the state championship. Coach Walter Jackson loses his top five scorers from a year ago. Senior Josh Walls will have the green light to score after averaging 7.6 points per game. Renault Griffin adds some length and is a good rebounder and shot blocker, blocking 1.5 per game in 2014-15. Griffin showed his upside in the fourth quarter of the state championship, scoring all 9 of his points in the frame including a handful of thunderous dunks.

The Bobcats of No. 8 Dooly County lost to Calhoun County in round two, 72-52. Power forward Antonneous Clayton is a hard worker inside and averaged 6.5 points and a team-high 9.6 rebounds. Fellow senior Adrian Kenny added 6.9 points and 4.9 rebounds and is a nice versatile piece for Coach Towandi King.

No. 9 Portal was upended in round two by Greenville, 87-73. A lot has graduated and the transfer of senior Tyler Budgett hurts. Senior forward Marvin Prescott will be thrust into more of a go-to role after posting 8.2 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game in 2014-15.

John Davis’ No. 10 Terrell County finished 16-12 after a blowout loss to Hancock Central in the opening round of state. Detravion Bishop is the Greenwave’s leading scorer and will once again be a major playmaker as a junior.

Class A-Private Preseason Top Ten

Class A-Private

  1. Greenforest Christian
  2. St. Francis
  3. North Cobb Christian
  4. Whitefield Academy
  5. SWAC
  6. Landmark Christian
  7. St. Anne-Pacelli
  8. Stratford Academy
  9. Lakeview Academy
  10. Tattnall Square Academy

Honorable Mention: Aquinas, Walker, Hebron Christian, Athens Christian, Mt. Vernon Presbyterian

It looks like it will once again be a two-horse race in Class A-Private and with that said, I give No. 1 Greenforest the slight nod over defending repeat state champion St. Francis. The past three titles have been held between Greenforest and St. Francis with the Eagles last knocking off the Knights, 55-41 in 2013. Last season it was Greenforest (27-2) coming up short with a 96-81 loss to the high-powered Knights. Good news for Greenforest is that St. Francis has lost two-thirds of its vaunted three headed monster and the Eagles return everyone except Justin Ravenel and Faisal Abdulmalik. Five-star junior center Ikey Obiagu anchors the paint at 7-foot. The big bodies don’t stop there for first year head coach Larry Thompson. Senior 6-foot-8 forward Precious Ayah has pledged to play at Miami (OH) while 6-foot-9 juniors Victor Enoh and Abayomi Iyiola are uncommitted along with 6-foot-8 sophomore Mohammad Abdulsalam. With all that great size, it will still be guards John Ogwuche and Justin Forrest who will make the offense click. Ogwuche, a senior, has committed to play at New Hampshire. Forrest is a junior and is quickly rising up the recruiting boards. Forrest poured in 19 points as a sophomore in the state championship a year ago while Ogwuche led all scorers with 28.

No. 2 St. Francis attempts to capture a three-peat behind five-star guard Kobi Jordan-Simmons. Simmons poured in 27 points in the state championship and was the youngest out of the big three which featured Malik Beasley (FSU) and Xavier Gates (Xavier). The Knights finished 29-3 and captured the crown in Drew Catlett’s first season as head coach. Catlett has a ton to replace for year two, but Simmons brings back his 21.2 points per game as the centerpiece. Duluth transfer Anthony Showell is a senior guard that poured in 16.6 points per game as a Wildcat and will be a strong running mate alongside Simmons. Senior forward Chance Anderson is expected to see a major up-tick in production and guards Will Richter and Wallace Tucker bring great depth.

No. 3 North Cobb Christian is coming off a 19-10 season and a second round exit thanks to Whitefield Academy, 62-58. Head Coach Greg Matta won’t have center Trey Kalina (UTC) inside this season, but the experienced coach always finds ways to win. Double-digit scorers Will Crumly, Nicholas Flemming and Jalen Dampier all return to power the Eagle offense. Newcomer Demiere Brown has transferred in and gives Matta versatility at the two and three spot. As a sophomore at Hiram, Brown averaged 16.1 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.8 steals per game. North Cobb Christian will enter 2015-16 as the odds on favorite to win the A-side of Region 6, with terrors St. Francis and Whitefield Academy looming on side B.

No. 4 Whitefield Academy would have made a strong case for being the best team in Class A-Private if it wasn’t for St. Francis. The Knights, like they did everybody else in the classification, had the Wolfpack’s number, beating Whitefield all four times and ending their season in the semifinals, 63-40. Whitefield finished 22-10 in 2014-15 and senior Brendon Myles will try to power the Pack over the hump and make some noise this year. Myles averaged 12.5 points and 8.9 rebounds as a 6-foot-3 guard last season. Junior Isaiah Hart doesn’t have Myles’ size (5’9”) and instead plays the role of distributor, dishing out 4.1 assists per game to go along with his 11.4 points. Sophomore Myles Belyeu has a chance to see major minutes in the backcourt while Jimmy McCarthy is relied upon to rebound and find east buckets inside.

The Warriors of No. 5 Southwest Atlanta Christian boast one of the nation’s most coveted scorers. DeAndre Ballard, a four-star 6-foot-6 wing, was unstoppable at times last year, scoring 23.3 points per night while grabbing 5.8 rebounds. He will need some help if SWAC wants to improve on their 17-11 finish. The Warriors’ season came to a rude and abrupt end in the round one of the state tournament, losing to Greenforest 103-31. SWAC should have more balance in 2015-16 with Malik Baisden returning to flank Ballard. A strong junior class is also expected to make waves with Ballard at the head. Johnathan King and Isiah Cotton are two names to keep an ear out for as they will be crucial in helping the Warriors regain their status as one of the elite programs in A-Private.

One of the funnest teams to watch in the state a year ago was the fast-paced offense of Chip McAllister at No. 6 Landmark Christian. The War Eagles ran up 76.3 points per game on their way to a 21-9 season and a trip to the Elite Eight. Athens Christian crashed Landmark’s party with a 73-46 win. Leading scorer Zack Allen is set to return after averaging 18.6 points and 6 rebounds. The War Eagles took a whopping 1,053 three-pointers (35.1 per game), meaning everybody has the green light in McAllister’s offense. Allen was the team’s most efficient shooter, drilling 77 attempts and connecting at a 40% clip. Junior Collier Schultz is expected to take on a bigger role this year as are seniors Stockton McGuire, Eddie Windsor and Nathan Burdette.

Looking for a bit of a sleeper? Search no further than No. 7 St. Anne-Pacelli. The Vikings did go 17-9 and made it to the playoffs where they fell to Landmark Christian 83-75, but that might have just been the beginning. If there was no major shakeup that I missed this offseason, the Vikes will be returning their top five leading scorers making them an experienced team that could be dangerous come playoff time. Senior guards Tre Sudberry (19.7 ppg), Triston Wells (14.5 ppg), Armon Prophet (12.5 ppg) and Deandre Bowman (10.7 ppg) are all capable scorers. Sudberry also chips in 5.1 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 3.4 steals while Prophet leads the Vikings with 5.9 assists. Junior Trevor Rice is another valuable piece after adding 5.3 points per game. Coach Alan Griffin’s team is a very unselfish group that has become one of the state’s most efficient offenses, shooting 67% from inside the arc as a team last season.

Two powerful guards propel No. 8 Stratford Academy. Senior Quintez Cephus is set to play at Furman but also has a solid offer from Wisconsin in football. Cephus is the school’s all-time leading scorer (1,960) and will eclipse the 2,000-point barrier early in the season. He also is the school record holder in assists and steals. As a junior, Cephus poured in 22.7 points, 8.9 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game to help Coach Jamie Dickey’s Eagles go 18-7 and make it to the second round of state before being banished by Greenforest, 66-23. O’Showen Williams is the perfect complement to Cephus. Williams also plays football and on the basketball court he can score from deep but also find the open man. In 2013-14 Williams scored over 17 points per game at First Presbyterian Day before transferring over to Stratford at Christmas and helping lead the Eagles to a GISA AAA state title.

For No. 9 Lakeview Academy, Coach Todd Cottrell returns a strong core that should compete for a Region 8 top seed. Tae Turner averaged 14 points, 3.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists as a junior and was selected to the All-Area Second Team. He and Honorable Mention selections Tre Gober and Josh Randolph can push the pace and get easy buckets in transition. Both Randolph and Gober played big roles in the Lions success as sophomores and return even more seasoned. Lakeview should be an odds on favorite to reach the state playoffs for a second straight season after finishing 17-11 in 2014-15, ending their season with a 103-59 loss to St. Francis in round one.

No. 10 Tattnall Square finished 20-9 with a first round exit after losing to Aquinas, 55-39. Only two seniors have graduated from last year’s team, but Will Trevitt was a strong interior presence. Junior Calvin Slaughter will once again be asked to lead the charge for the Trojans. Slaughter was among the team leaders in scoring in 2014-15. Fellow junior Sean Brown saw quality playing time and should have a strong rapport with Slaughter in the backcourt.