Top teams gearing up for final stretch

Article and photos courtesy of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution –> Original Article Here

Background for posters night basketball stadium in the spotlightAs we move toward the final month of the season, here’s a look at what some of the top teams did during the break.

The second-ranked Westside-Macon (10-3, 4-1) boys had a strong showing by winning three of four games against out-of-state opponents. The Seminoles traveled to Wheeler High School to compete in the Tournament of Champions, which featured several top-ranked programs from across the nation.

Westside was victorious against Spain Park (Ala.) 80-74, Oak Ridge (Fla.) 77-76 and Lincoln (N.Y.) 61-59 in overtime. But the Seminoles had their worst game of the season in a 60-39 loss to Scotlandville (La.), which features junior Javonte Smart, a 5-star recruit.

“We were able to win three out of four games against really good competition,” said Westside coach Josh Grube. “We got what we wanted to get accomplished up there. We wanted to play some really good teams. We played several teams who had two or three top-ranked players and played pretty well. However, we did not play well in the game we lost. We could not put the ball in the basket in that game. We only scored 39 points, and we usually average around 80. But Scotlandville is nationally ranked, and we held them to 61 points, but our offense struggled.”

The Seminoles scheduled the tournament to prepare for the region tournament and state playoffs.

“That was the main reason to do it,” said Grube. “It was to get prepared for the state tournament, region tournament and so-forth. We just felt like playing against good competition, where you have to show up and play or you get embarrassed playing against guys who are nationally ranked. It will definitely help us down the road.”

The biggest upset in the top-10 was Central-Macon’s 55-43 loss to crosstown rival Southwest on Jan. 7. The Chargers (11-3, 5-0) fell from No. 2 to No. 5 in the rankings after the loss. Central will face Kendrick on Jan. 10.

The Top 10 boys teams in Class AAA

1. Morgan County (10-3)

2. Westside-Macon (10-3)

3. Greater Atlanta Christian (11-4)

4. Islands (11-4)

5. Central-Macon (11-3)

6. Liberty County (9-5)

7. Jenkins (11-6)

8. Cedar Grove (5-4)

9. Pace Academy (5-7)

10. Monroe (10-6)

On the girls side, Johnson-Savannah (14-1, 6-0) continues to sit atop the rankings with Beach (13-1, 5-1) a close second.

Since the 62-56 overtime loss to Beach on Dec. 19, Johnson has not been challenged. The Atomsmashers regrouped to defeat Islands 74-34 and Brunswick 55-39 in the following two games. Johnson will face Savannah on Jan. 10.

No. 2 Beach carried the momentum of its victory against Johnson into the next two games, winning 60-51 against Brunswick and 67-33 against Jenkins. The Lady Bulldogs will face Islands on Jan. 10.

Since the Dec. 3 loss to St. Francis, 57-38, the third-ranked GAC Lady Spartans (11-4-5-0) have run over seven consecutive opponents, including North Hall (65-39), Union County (77-27), Dawson County (66-34), East Hall (70-30), Mountain View (74-46), St. Pius X (69-29) and Lumpkin County (68-25).

The Lady Spartans are hitting their stride at the right time of the season.

Last week, No. 4 Hart County (14-2, 2-0) defeated East Jackson 79-48 and held on to win 56-53 against Morgan County. The Lady Bulldogs face Jackson County on Jan. 10.

The Top 10 girls teams in Class AAA

1. Johnson-Savannah (14-1)

2. Beach (13-1)

3. Greater Atlanta Christian (11-4)

4. Hart County (14-2)

5. Ringgold (11-4)

6. Franklin County (11-4)

7. Calhoun (13-3)

8. Monroe (11-3)

9. Redan (10-2)

10. Lakeview-Ft. Oglethorpe (12-4)

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