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Chip Saye

Apalachee, Whitewater boys could be poised to make postseason runs

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Here are four unranked Class AAAAA teams that could make some noise in the region and state tournaments:

*Apalachee boys: The Wildcats (18-3 going into the weekend) are in second place in Region 8 behind fifth-ranked Clarke Central, with two of their three losses coming against the Gladiators. They are led by sophomore guard Kamar Baldwin, who averages 27.6 points, 10.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists. Apalachee broke a six-year state tournament drought last season and seeks to advance beyond the first round for the first time since reaching the semifinals in 2004.

*Whitewater boys: The Wildcats improved to 14-6 overall and 9-2 in region play with a 61-59 victory over McIntosh on Friday that moved them into first place in subregion B of Region 4. Whitewater also has a victory this season against Drew, the first-place team in subregion A. Senior forward Phil Cofer, who has committed to Tennessee, averages 19.4 points, 12.8 rebounds and 2.8 blocks to lead the Wildcats.

*Northside-Columbus girls: The Patriots were undefeated in region play going into the weekend and closing in on the 1-AAAAA regular-season title. Senior forward Taylor Jakes leads the team in scoring with 12.4 points per game, and the next three top scorers are sophomores (Jasmine Herndon, Jessica Herndon and Caitlyn Jakes). Northside handed Columbus, ranked No. 2 in Class AAAA, its only loss of the season, winning 49-42 in a tournament in December.

*Starr’s Mill girls: The Panthers (15-5) made the fourth state-tournament appearance in school history last season, and they’ve got a good shot at returning this year as the best team in subregion B of Region 4. Starr’s Mill’s only region losses were close games against fifth-ranked Drew (43-38) and No. 9 Forest Park (46-36), both of which are in subregion A. The non-region losses came against Gulliver Prep, a Florida school that is 20-5, and Class AAAAAA teams Archer and Central Gwinnett.

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