Early season “upsets” challenge state rankings

Not even two weeks into the season and holiday tournaments and other non-region games across the state have put the Top 10 rankings to the test. With teams still trying to gain their footing on the young season some games are more of upsets than others. Accolades and preseason rankings have already proven to not matter much once the ball is tipped. Here are a few of the most interesting results from a full Monday of action.


Lowndes 64, 2ANo. 2 Thomasville 51
Am I reading this score correctly? If so, Thomasville, who went 28-2 last year, is now 0-2 to start the year after opening as the state’s No. 1 team in Class AA. The Bulldogs were humbled by Class 7A Tift County 75-40 and now drop to Lowndes. Ever since the Bulldogs were smacked in the Elite Eight against Pace Academy 78-48, I just don’t know what to believe anymore, especially without Jordan Willis leading the charge at point. Reggie Perry has been described as a future “NBA Lottery Pick”, but if that’s the case, I don’t understand how the 6-foot-8 Arkansas-commit isn’t carrying this team on his back. Don’t forget 6-foot-9 Titus Wright is also receiving high major offers. No excuses for a 35-point loss and a 13-point loss to a team you should overwhelm with your D-I size. I’m hovering my hand over the panic button because I thought highly of this team last year and this season, only to be left searching for answers.

South Forsyth 70, 5ANo. 10 Riverwood 61
UNCW-signee Evan Cole carried the War Eagles with 39 points while Isaiah Magee added eight. Embry-Riddle signee did the best he could to lift the Raiders, pouring in 26 points. Charnchai Chantha added six points and 10 assists but the 6-foot-8 Cole was too much to handle.

Dorman, SC 86, 2ANo. 4 Monticello 57
This one wasn’t too much of an upset as the South Carolina power rolled over a smaller scrappy Monticello team. Ashton Bonner finished with 20 points, six rebounds and four assists. CJ Adams collected 13 points, four assists and six steals. This was a classic learning experience as Monticello entered as a heavy underdog with their enrollment of 700 playing against South Carolina’s largest school, Dorman, who boasts 3,400 students.

7ANo. 10 Collins Hill 54, 5ANo. 1 Columbia 51
A front-end miss of a 1-and-1 helped Collins Hill hold off Columbia in a great game. Top 10 matchups can’t really be considered too much of an upset especially with a higher classification beating a lower one, but still, when a No. 1 team gets beaten, it’s big news.


Hillgrove 66, 7ANo. 8 Brookwood 53
Hillgrove always has talent. They might not be what they once were, but they are still a tough team and let Brookwood know firsthand. Hillgrove’s only losses so far have come to Class 7A No. 1 Norcross and Class A-Private No. 2 Wesleyan. They have already beaten Class 3A No. 5 GAC and now Brookwood. They held Texas A&M-signee N’Dea Jones to 11 points and eight rebounds (she did have six blocks however). With a couple more strong performances, Hillgrove should crack the Top 10 and this one probably won’t end up being a bad loss for Brookwood.

5ANo. 2 Flowery Branch 55, 6ANo. 1 Winder-Barrow 46
This was a great game between evenly matched opponents. Flowery Branch got 12 points and four rebounds from North Georgia-signee Julianne Sutton as she battled the No. 1 ranked post player in the nation, Olivia Nelson-Ododa, who finished with a game-high 18 points. Versatile X-factor Taniyah Worth had 11 points, 10 rebounds and three assists while Lexie Sengkhammee scored 10 points and Caroline Wysocki pitched in eight points and six rebounds to take down the Bulldoggs. The two schools will meet twice more, on Nov. 29 at Flowery Branch and Jan. 3 at Winder-Barrow.

Rome 74, 3ANo. 4 Calhoun 65
Rome won 18 games last year but lost by 43 in the first round of state to eventual champion Southwest DeKalb. The battle tested 5A school rode post player Taya Gibson’s 31 points to edge past Calhoun using a 12-0 run in the fourth quarter to put it out of reach. Re’tavia Floyd netted 16 to flank Gibson. Calhoun received 25 from Ashlyn Barnes and 23 from Jana Johns in the loss. This one will sting right now, but Rome is a larger school with a good group coming back.

North Forsyth 45, 6ANo. 6 Northview 30
The Titans rose four spots in this week’s poll but quickly saw their Forsyth County nightmares reappear. North Forsyth has now won eight straight against Northview and managed to control the game and play the style they wanted as the Raiders negated the Titans’ size advantage. North Forsyth is 5-0 to begin the year and is on the verge of busting down the door to crack the Class 7A rankings.