Who are the most improved teams this season?
There have been quite a few success stories this season, programs that have turned around after a poor season or taken a step to the next level. It wouldn’t be surprising to see some of these teams make a run at their respective region titles and win some games in the state playoffs. Who knows? One of them might even win a championship.
Here are some of the top turnarounds produced in Class AAAAA this season:
Union Grove boys: The Wolverines are 14-4 and in contention in Region 4 after going 9-16 a year ago. Union Grove features a balanced scoring attack led by junior Wesley Simpson (12.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, 7.3 assists) and Austin Atkins (11.3 points, 4.1 rebounds).
Columbia boys: The return of coach Phil McCrary has helped put the Eagles back in contention in Region 5. Columbia was a .500 team last year, but this season is off to a 13-5 start and ranked No. 7 in the state. Columbia is led by Josh Taylor, Kenton Eskridge and Terrence Boykin and has two remaining games against region-leading Miller Grove.
Hampton boys: The Hornets are 11-6 after failing to win a game last season. Jaylen Love is the team leader with 18.6 points and 5.5 rebounds. Otherwise Hampton has relied on depth and whoever has the hot hand.
Decatur girls: The B
ulldogs have bounced back from a subpar season to go 12-5 and contend in Region 6. New coach Eric Dawson has received excellent play from veteran Taylor Jones (19.8 points) and sophomore Olivia Stephenson (9.8 points, 8.3 rebounds). Decatur has back-to-back games with Jackson that could determine the regular-season championship.
Eagle’s Landing girls: The Eagles (15-9) have already equaled their win total from a year ago. The duo of juniors Ashley Foster (13.6 points) and Kiera Howard (12.1 points) form the basis of a solid team that could cause trouble in the playoffs.