Posted: 7:00 am Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

Four schools dominate rankings … Chapel Hill girls score big … Challengers in Region 1 

By Stan Awtrey

Being considered a basketball school in Class AAA doesn’t just mean you’ve got a good boys team. It means you’ve got quality boys and girls program. Many schools excel in both sports and four of the classification’s ranked teams are represented by boys and girls teams.

  • Buford has the No. 1-ranked girls team and is No. 7 in boys.
  • Washington County’s boys and girls are both ranked No. 2.
  • St. Pius, the defending girls champs, is ranked No. 4 and the boys are No. 5.
  • Morgan County moved into the coveted group this week when the girls jumped into the rankings at No. 6. The Bulldogs are No. 6 among the boys.

The Washington County boys should get a test tonight when it hosts No. 10 Thomson in Sandersville. The winner will take over the lead in Region 3-AAA.

Thomson (9-0) is the last undefeated boys team in Class AAA. The Bulldogs feature four players who average in double figures: Ryan Kelly (20.2), Malique Gibbons (13.8), Stevon Hart (12.7) and Felton Hatcher (11.7). Thomson hosts the return game on Feb. 1.

The St. Pius boys (16-1) passed a big hurdle last week when it beat defending Region 6 champion Woodward Academy 59-56 in College Park. Will Maguire scored 23 points and Nick Harris scored 15. Harris scored 34 points in the two wins. The St. Pius (14-3) girls won two easy games and extended their streak to 50 consecutive region wins.

Chapel Hill girls join rankings

The Chapel Hill girls moved into the state rankings at No. 9 by virtue of their 58-54 overtime win over Central Carroll. The Panthers erased a 20-point deficit and scored 29 points in the final period to knot the game.

The biggest play of the game came at buzzer when senior Erica Jones hit a 3-pointer to force overtime. Jones wound up with 16 points, including five 3-pointers, four rebounds, three steals and two blocks. Junior Alex Weems had 19 points and 12 rebounds for Chapel Hill.

The victory improved Chapel Hill to 12-3 overall and 8-0 in Region 4-AAA. Chapel Hil is undefeated (8-0) on the road. Central Carroll, which had been No. 7 in the rankings, dropped out of the top 10 and fell into second place in the region. The teams play against on Jan. 31 in Douglasville.

Any challengers in Region 1?

Savannah and Johnson are considered two of the main contenders in Region 1, not only for the league title but for the state championship. But are there any other teams that have a chance to slip in there and make a little racket?

While neither Southeast Bulloch nor Tattnall County have the chops to beat those two titans, they could make some noise if they can reach the state playoffs. Southeast is 9-5 overall, 7-2 in Region 1, while Tattnall is 10-5 overall and 6-3.

The two teams met on Dec. 17 in Reidsville, with Southeast taking a 62-56 win. (The rematch is Jan. 28 in Brooklet.) The Yellow Jackets have already been swatted by 37 points at Savannah and play Johnson on Tuesday night. Tattnall lost to Savannah by 28 and to Johnson by seven.

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