Top AAA teams gearing for stretch run to playoffs
Some of the best teams in the state remained active after the holiday break, and others are preparing for the stretch run toward the playoffs.
Let’s play catch-up:
— Morgan County took over the No. 1 spot in the polls, and the Bulldogs have played one game since the Sweet South Classic, beating Monroe Area 79-53 Friday.
— Greater Atlanta Christian, which held the No. 1 spot last week, dropped to No. 2, and since its performance in the Tournament of Champions at Wheeler High School, GAC moved past East Hall on Friday after taking a 21-13 lead after the first quarter. GAC pushed the lead to 41-26 at the break before outscoring East Hall 24-12 in the third quarter to blow open the game.
— Since losing 69-67 to Metrolina Christian Academy from North Carolina on Dec. 29, No. 3 Dawson County has victories against Pickens, 84-69, on Thursday and Cherokee Bluff, 81-57, on Friday. Dawson, which plays in Region 7 with GAC, will travel to East Hall on Tuesday.
— Fourth-ranked Cedar Grove travels to No. 5 Pace Academy on Tuesday and hopes to get back on track following two losses – 68-50 against Warner Robins on Dec. 29 and 53-46 against Lithonia on Friday.
— Fifth-ranked Pace defeated Holy Innocents’ 65-60 on Dec. 29 in the Tournament of Champions at Wheeler. During the holiday break, Pace competed in the Atlanta Hawks Naismith Classic and defeated Woodward Academy 58-51. Pace then lost 53-43 to Miramar, Fla., in Woodward’s War Eagle Classic before beating Hewitt-Trussville 60-58 and Miller Grove 59-43. Pace then lost to Berkmar 56-50.
Class AAA boys rankings
1. Morgan County (14-1)
2. Greater Atlanta Christian (11-4)
3. Dawson County (14-3)
4. Cedar Grove (10-3)
5. Pace Academy (11-5)
6. Hart County (12-4)
7. Johnson-Savannah (10-6)
8. Jefferson (11-5)
9. Monroe (9-5)
10. Windsor Forest (13-4)
— Top-ranked Beach will face its local rival Tuesday when it takes on No. 5 Johnson-Savannah. Beach has three losses, all since Dec. 22. Beach lost to Glynn Academy, 49-46, Westlake, 60-46, and St. Francis, 57-45, but retained its No. 1 spot in the polls.
— No. 2 Morgan County hasn’t lost since Dec. 21 to Collins Hill, 54-48, in the War Lodge Classic at Woodward. Morgan then built a head of steam with victories against Cambridge, 78-30, Apalachee, 64-35, Lambert, 70-32, Veterans, 70-32, and Monroe Area, 76-31.
— No. 3 Jefferson lost to Morgan County on Dec. 14 for its first loss of the year. Its only other loss came on Dec. 29 against Boyd County, Ky., 74-33. Other than those blemishes, the Lady Dragons have been perfect.
— Fourth-ranked Hart County has lost two consecutive games — to Jefferson, 66-61, Thursday and Madison County, 93-68, Friday. Hart will face Jackson County on Tuesday.
— No. 5 Johnson-Savannah is 9-6 on the season and struggling to find any bit of a rhythm heading into its Tuesday night game against local rival Beach. The Lady Atom Smashers won against Dutchtown in the first game of the season before losing four straight, including a 55-53 overtime thriller at Beach on Nov. 27.
Class AAA girls rankings
1. Beach (14-3)
2. Morgan County (11-3)
3. Jefferson (14-2)
4. Hart County (12-4)
5. Johnson-Savannah (9-6)
6. North Hall (12-4)
7. Greater Atlanta Christian (8-8)
8. Tattnall County (11-5)
9. Dawson County (11-6)
10. Lumpkin County (13-4)