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FRIDAY HOOPS PREVIEW

Today, we preview Friday's basketball action and catch up with the latest wrestling news in this week's notebook. 


 

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In This Issue

Trivia
Question: 
What was the score the first time that the Lithonia boys and St. Pius played this season?

Today's answer can be found in the newsletter!

Thursday's Answer:
Four-star Macon County linebacker Roquan Smith has Georgia, Florida and Michigan as his final schools. 

BOYS BASKETBALL RANKINGS


 


 

Class AAAAAA

1. Wheeler

2. Shiloh

3. Tift County

4. Pebblebrook

5. Norcross

6. Tucker

7. Douglas County

8. Collins Hill

9. Hillgrove

10. Alpharetta


 

Class AAAAA

1. Miller Grove

2. McIntosh

3. Allatoona

4. Gainesville

5. M.L. King

6. Brunswick

7. Stockbridge

8. Warner Robins

9. Apalachee

10. LaGrange


 

Class AAAA

1. Jonesboro

2. Johnson-Gainesville

3. Lithonia

4. St. Pius

5. Carrollton

6. Columbia

7. Americus-Sumter

8. Albany

9. Liberty County

10. Burke County


 

Class AAA

1. Laney

2. Jenkins

3. Cedar Grove

4. Morgan County

5. Johnson-Savannah

6. South Atlanta

7. Blessed Trinity

8. Butler

9. Rutland

10. Peach County


 

Class AA

1. Pace Academy

2. Seminole County

3. Holy Innocents'

4. Vidalia

5. Greater Atlanta Christian

6. Crawford County

7. Harlem

8. Thomasville

9. Bryan County

10. Coosa


 

Class A

1. St. Francis

2. Greenforest Christian

3. Athens Christian

4. Hancock Central

5. Whitefield Academy

6. Treutlen

7. Wilkinson County

8. Greenville

9. Calhoun County

10. Turner County



 

GIRLS BASKETBALL RANKINGS


 


 

Class AAAAAA

1. South Forsyth

2. Osborne

3. Parkview

4. Mountain View

5. Archer

6. Woodstock

7. McEachern

8. Westlake

9. Norcross

10. North Forsyth


Class AAAAA

1. Brunswick

2. Mays

3. Effingham County

4. Sequoyah

5. Stephenson

6. Cross Creek

7. Woodland-Henry

8. Grovetown

9. Southwest DeKalb

10. Forest Park


Class AAAA

1. Jonesboro

2. Buford

3. St. Pius

4. Veterans

5. Mary Persons

6. Americus-Sumter

7. Bainbridge

8. Marist

9. Griffin

10. Redan


Class AAA

1. Dawson County

2. South Atlanta

3. Kendrick

4. Decatur

5. Laney

6. Beach

7. Morgan County

8. Westminster

9. Washington County

10. Peach County


Class AA

1. Holy Innocents'

2. Pelham

3. Wesleyan

4. Model

5. Thomasville

6. Jeff Davis

7. Darlington

8. Putnam County

9. Vidalia

10. Early County


Class A

1. St. Francis

2. Southwest Atlanta Christian

3. Taylor County

4. Savannah Country Day

5. Tattnall Square

6. Turner County

7. Claxton

8. Calvary Day

9. Stratford Academy

10. Mitchell County


 



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Friday, January 30, 2015



SCORE ATLANTA PUBLICATION

Check out this week's publication!




FRIDAY HOOPS PREVIEW
By Kyle Sandy
No. 3 Lithonia visits fourth-ranked St. Pius

No. 3 Lithonia (20-1, 15-0) @ No. 4 St. Pius (19-3, 13-2)

 

The biggest matchup of the night comes from Region 6-AAAA where the red hot Bulldogs, who have won 20 straight games after dropping their season opener, hit the road against the Golden Lions

Photo by Ty Freeman

who have reeled off 10 straight wins. Lithonia dropped St. Pius 55-41 in its first meeting this season. Guards Tyheem Freeman and Rodney Chatman head up the Bulldog offense. Kesean Warren and Stephen Dunn also factor in to Lithonia's success. St. Pius gets the job done with a solid defense and an unselfish offense. Christian Merrill and Derek Rufolo bring strong play on the perimeter while Kerney Lane is effective on both sides on the ball inside.

 

No. 1 Wheeler (20-2, 13-0) @ Walton (10-12, 6-8)

 

Wheeler, Region 5-AAAAAA's frontrunner, has not lost a game against an instate opponent all season. Five-star prospect Jaylen Brown is still undecided on where he will play at the next level. The consensus No. 2 ranked player in the nation was selected to represent the East in this year's upcoming McDonald's All-American game. Brown along with guard Shembari Phillips (Tennessee-commit) make the Wildcats one of the most talented teams in the nation, which has been proven by their No. 10 ranking nationally by MaxPreps. Walton has solid size up front and will lean on seniors Nick Wells and Josh McGrath to score inside on the Wildcats. Walton fell 97-61 in the two schools only meeting this season.

 

No. 1 St. Francis (18-3, 8-0) @ King's Ridge Christian (9-14, 4-6)

 

Class A's No. 1 ranked Knights hit the road in Region 6 actions and bring with them possibly the most talented team in the state. Senior Malik Beasley has committed to Florida State and is averaging a team-leading 22.3 points and 7.5 rebounds. Fellow senior Kaiser Gates is heading to Xavier. The 6-foot-8 forward averages 12.9 points and 7.5 rebounds. Five-star junior Kobi Simmons is undecided, but might be the best of the bunch averaging 20.7 points and 4.1 assists. King's Ridge is young and relies on two freshmen and three sophomores. Jack Armstrong is the team's lone senior. The Knights won by 46 in their first meeting.

 

Druid Hills (10-14, 4-8) @ No. 1 Miller Grove (20-3, 12-0)

 

Region 6-AAAAA features No. 1 Miller Grove looking for their seventh straight title, hosting the Druid Hill Red Devils. Alterique Gilbert leads the Class AAAAA's favorite to win it all, averaging over 17 points a game while flirting with triple-doubles on a nightly basis racking up assists, steals, and rebounds. Lamont West gives the Wolverines a strong post presence averaging 17 points per game. Gamaun Boykin and Aidan Saunders also find themselves stuffing stat sheets while Raylon Richardson protects the paint. Returning starters Terrance Rose, Cameron Stokes, and Jordan Foote are all sophomores for Druid Hills. Desham During is the lone returning senior starter. Miller Grove rolled 81-29 in their previous matchup.

 

Mill Creek (14-8, 6-5) @ No. 5 Norcross (19-3, 10-1)

 

Mill Creek, who is in a tie with Peachtree Ridge, will look to shake up Region 7-AAAAAA even more if they can knock off No. 5 Norcross. So far this season, Region 7 has been an absolute dog fight with no games coming easy. In a non-region meeting between the two schools in the Tabo Tip-Off Tournament, the Blue Devils drilled the Hawks 97-64. But when the two teams played again, this time with the region standings on the line, Norcross only eked out an 87-84 victory. The Blue Devils boast one of the largest lineups in the state and are led by big men Ricky Madison and Rayshaun Hammonds.  Madison, a High Point-commit, is the Blue Devil's number one scoring and rebounding threat. Tim Cameron and Devin Huffman are both guards that will play at the next level. Mill Creek is led by a balanced scoring attack. Sha Powell, Charles Botchway, Scotty Chadwick, Miles Riley, and Davion Clark can all finish in double figues any given night.

 

Cherokee (14-8, 8-5) @ Pope (18-3, 11-2)

 

The Warriors, coming off a big win over Milton, visit The Pound in Region 5-AAAAAA play. Cherokee receives their scoring from the perimeter led by Jovan Morris, a three-point threat. 1,000 point scorer, Jeremiah Gill, is steady up top and is flanked by fellow senior guard Willie McClure. Pope's attack is paced by heady GCSU-commit Chase Hutchins. Tyler Borko and Garrick DeBowles also are key cogs as senior leaders for the Greyhounds. Pope picked up a 52-46 victory at Cherokee in their previous matchup.

 

No. 8 Collins Hill (17-5, 7-4) @ Duluth (16-6, 7-4)

 

The winner of this Region 7-AAAAAA game will hold sole possession of second place heading into the final week of the season. The Eagles have stumbled of late, dropping three of their past five games including a one point loss in overtime to North Gwinnett on Tuesday. Guard Devin Watson leads Collins Hill in scoring and is followed by Kai Lambert and Jalen Mitchell. For Duluth, guards Anthony Showell and Kahir Jefferies do their damage from the outside. Joseph Gordon runs the show at the point and 6-foot-7 junior Obinna Ofodile is a strong rebounder and shot blocker. The Wildcats dropped 50-43 in their first meeting with Collins Hill.

 

No. 1 Pace Academy (19-2, 11-0) @ Hapeville Charter (10-11, 5-6)

 

Coming off a thrilling two point win at No. 3 Holy Innocents' on Tuesday, Class AA's No. 1 ranked Knights will look to remain undefeated in Region 6. Elijah Holifield, who hit a game winning jumper with 2.7 seconds left to lift Pace over Holy Innocents', is one of the state's toughest guards. 14 of his 29 points came in the final frame to help Pace stay unbeaten in region play. Wendell Carter Jr. is already recognized as one of the top sophomore centers in the nation and averages a double-double in the process. Zack Kaminsky also provides all-around solid play for the Knights. The Hornets are led by guard Nicholas Tolbert's 17 points per game. Datraun Poole is a 6-foot-4 forward who usually battles inside for Hapeville, leading the team in rebounding. In their last meeting, Pace only came away with a 65-61 win as Lavarus Peterkin and Tolbert combined for 43 points.

 

Chestatee (12-11, 3-3) @ No. 2 Johnson-Gainesville (21-0, 5-0)

 

Ty Cockfield and Roderick English lead one of the best backcourts in the state and have the Knights undefeated late in their Region 8-AAAA slate. Cockfield averages 29.2 points per game while fellow senior English pours in 19.8 per night. Johnson's third option is Andrew Sims, a 6-foot-3 forward. The Knights have already toppled the likes of Whitefield Academy, North Cobb Christian, Apalachee, Gainesville, and Buford. Chestatee fell victim 66-45. Hunter Creamer, Jordan Pulliam, Blake Degraff, and Caleb Jameson are all seniors who play important minutes for the War Eagles.

 

Campbell (14-8, 5-6) @ Langston Hughes (17-5, 7-4)

 

Langston Hughes picked up a big Region 3-AAAAAA win this Tuesday after beating No. 7 Douglas County, 67-53. 6-foot-7 forward Chuma Okeke is only a sophomore, but has already received an offer from Florida State. Okeke posted 28 points and 11 rebounds in the Panthers win over Douglas County. Khalil Cuffee, also a sophomore, scored 18 points and averages close to 20 points per game. The Panthers only hold three seniors on their roster while the rest of the team consists of strictly sophomores, making them a team to keep an eye on not only this year, but for the next two seasons as well. For Campbell, Laz Walker a six-foot guard leads the team in points (21.8) and rebounds with 9.3. Fellow juniors Mike Olmert (15.6 ppg 7.6 apg) and Randy McClure (8.1 ppg 8.5 rpg) are consistently productive for the Spartans. Langston Hughes came away with a 69-52 victory at Campbell in their first game.


WRESTLING NOTEBOOK
Area tournaments start road to Macon

The road to Macon starts now as the state sorts out its Area Tournaments and sends this year's qualifiers to next weekend's sectionals. The top four wrestlers in each weight class of the Area action will advance to sectionals. The traditional state championship is a numbers game as the more wrestlers a school qualifies for state, the better the chance

Photo by Rob Saye

they will have to score a state title. This truth can significantly increase the importance of this weekend for the deeper areas in the state that are tougher than others.

 

In Area 7-AAAAA, a stacked field with Creekview, Woodland-Cartersville and Cambridge will go head to head and in Region 4-AAAAA, Union Grove and Ola will highlight the field. Camden County has dominated its Area with 17 straight titles and its 74-0 shutout over Ware County in the Area duals last month could give the Wildcats a chance to send a large group to next week's sectionals. Camden County placed second in Class AAAAAA last year with 183.5 points behind Archer's 249 and will be the favorite to complete the season sweep of AAAAA in the championship in two weekends.

 

Last year's seniors graduated some of the top wrestlers in the nation and a new star-studded field will get their chance to reach the podium. Collins Hill's Ryan Millhof took the individual state title at 126 pounds for his third straight championship last year and is now at Oklahoma. Collins Hill also lost Sean Russell to Edinboro University and that should free up another weight class in AAAAAA (120-pound). Russell joined rare company last February as he became a four-time Georgia state champion. The accomplishment put Russell in rare company as just the 27th wrestler in state history to win four state titles. Russell finished with a 240-11 career record with the Eagles and used a 23-8 technical fall over Mountain View's Adam Flatt in the 120-pound  championship last year. Flatt finished last season at 53-4 with three of his losses coming to Russell. With Russell now with the Fighting Scots, the Davidson-signee (Flatt) is looking to wrap up a decorated varsity career on top. Mountain View dethroned Collins Hill for the Area 8 dual title last month, however, Collins Hill got revenge in the loser's bracket semifinal the next week and eliminated the Bears with a 30-25 win. All eyes will be on these two schools as they compete at Norcross in the Area 8 tournament this Saturday.




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