Sunday, February 17, 2008

Power Poll: Ranking the top 20 teams in GA


Top 20 Power Poll – Feb. 17, 2008

1. Wheeler (26-2)
Notable victories: McEachern 87-78, Centennial 93-64, Bishop O'Connell (Va.) 76-70, Boys & Girls (N.Y.) 77-75, Miller Grove 82-77, Word of God (N.C.) 98-84, Northview 84-66, Northview 74-42, Centennial 76-67
Notable losses: Findlay Prep (Nev.) 54-68, Duncanville (Texas) 57-69
This week's schedule: Feb. 22 vs. Parkview
Last rank: 1
Notes: Won the region 6-AAAAA tournament and is the favorite to win the AAAAA state tournament. The Wildcats have never left the top of the Power Poll all season long and have the talent to beat any team in the state regardless of class. There isn't a better starting five in the state than the crew that Wheeler starts games with.

2. Norcross (24-2)
Notable victories: Collins Hill 76-43, South Forsyth 77-30, Westlake Prep (Fla.) 81-44, Westlake 62-57, Helen Cox (La.) 59-48, Collins Hill 65-54, South Forsyth 61-47, Veritas (N.C.) 65-41, South Forsyth 61-54
Notable loss: Kathleen (Fla.) 45-51, Oak Hill (Va.) 65-68
This week's schedule: Feb. 22 vs. Harrison
Last rank: 2
Notes: Won the region 7-AAAAA tournament with a 50-point victory over Peachtree Ridge. Like Wheeler, Norcross is a heavy favorite to reach the Final Four. Why shouldn't the Blue Devils be? The team hasn't lost to a state foe all year and South Forsyth came the closest, losing to the defending AAAAA state champs by seven in the region tournament.

3. Westlake (25-2)
Notable victories: Creekside 76-61, Fayette County 65-59, IMG (Fla.) 60-55, Riverdale 53-52, Wenonah (Ala.) 45-43, Creekside 79-59, Fayette County 64-59, Fayette County 73-58
Notable losses: Neumann-Goretti (Pa.) 58-65, Norcross 57-62
This week's schedule: Feb. 22 vs. Forest Park
Last rank: 4
Notes: The Lions won the Region 2-AAAA tournament with authority. Capping off a tremendous regular season is Oklahoma bound guard Ray Willis, who was the toughest player to defend in his region this season. There isn't a tougher team in AAAA right now that Darren Rogers's team. There is great size at every position and a bench that is deep, deep, deep.

4. Dunwoody (24-3)
Notable victories: Rome 67-65, Chamblee 78-72 (OT), Scott County (Ky.) 86-65, Jackson (Fla.) 85-61, Lee (Fla.) 78-59, Chamblee 75-50, Druid Hills 77-54, Meadowcreek 91-66, Blessed Trinity 69-60, Blessed Trinity 58-59
Notable losses: Blessed Trinity 68-73, Pace (Fla.) 67-72, Bishop O'Connell (Va.) 67-69
This week's schedule: Feb. 22 vs. Gainesville
Last rank: 6
Notes: We said it last time we ran the Power Poll and we'll say it again, there isn't a hotter team in the state than the Wildcats. From top to bottom, Dunwoody has a team that wants to prove itself as the best in the state. Delwan Graham and Chris Singleton are tough inside while guards Pierre Jordan and Isaiah Grayson are scoring with ease. The right side of the AAA bracket isn't easy. Dunwoody seems to be up for the challenge.

5. Columbia (25-3)
Notable victories: Antioch (TN) 85-62, Miller Grove 82-64, Mays 56-54, LaSalle (Ohio) 65-62, Stone Mountain 70-61, Miller Grove 61-59, Tucker 66-60, Stone Mountain 81-58, Tucker 82-67
Notable losses: Archbishop Carroll (D.C.) 38-43, McEachern 69-79, Stone Mountain 68-76
This week's schedule: Feb. 22 vs. Clarke Central
Last rank: 3
Notes:: The 6-AAAA region tournament was interesting for the Decatur powerhouse. A close win over North Springs was followed by a big loss to Stone Mountain and a big win against Tucker. Keep an eye on the team's guard play. That has been the position to exploit for Columbia this year.

6. Blessed Trinity (26-3)
Notable victories: Dunwoody 73-68; Marietta 50-35, Chamblee 75-68, Chamblee 79-72, Druid Hills 52-48
Notable losses: Marist 55-61, Dunwoody 60-69, Dunwoody 49-58
This week's schedule: Feb. 22 vs. Chestatee
Last rank: 10
Notes: What a week of emotions for the Titans. A major win over South Atlanta and Derrick Favors and then a tough loss to Dunwoody in the region tournament championship capped off a busy stretch of games for Blessed Trinity. Hard work, great balance and a no fear attitude is the foundation for the AAA team going into the state tournament.

7. South Atlanta (27-2)
Notable victories: Douglass 83-68, Jeanette (Pa.) 96-57, Lincoln (N.Y.), Southside 85-55, Booker T. Washington (Va.) 90-46, Campbell Hall (Calif.) 78-77 (2 OT)
Notable losses: St. Benedicts (N.J.) 43-57, Blessed Trinity 66-67
This week's schedule: Feb. 22 vs. East Hall
Last rank
: 5
Notes: We said Region 5-AAA is the toughest in the state this year and that was certainly evident in the region tournament. The mighty Hornets were stung by giant killer Blessed Trinity. South Atlanta instantly became the toughest No. 3 seed in the post-season. When Derrick Favors is handcuffed with fouls, South Atlanta is beatable. When Favors has room to roam, there isn't a more dominant player in the nation.

8. Randolph Clay (26-0)
Notable victories: Eufaula (Ala.) 90-75, Terrell Count 84-79, Eufaula (Ala.) 91-69, Terrell County 74-54, Wilkinson County 79-73, Cook County 69-47
This week's schedule: Feb. 22 vs. Westside Augusta
Last rank: 9
Notes: Quietly, the AA powerhouse went undefeated and had little trouble doing it this season. The margin of victory this year is 32 points a game, a remarkable feat no matter the classification. Can the team finish the year undefeated?

9. Jordan (26-1)
Notable victories: Shaw 71-69, Northside 74-69, Shaw 64-58, Northside 88-70, Carver 74-62, Shaw 86-73
Notable loss: Carver 58-66
This week's schedule: Feb. 22 vs. Perry
Last rank: 8
Notes: The defending AAA state champs ran into a familiar road block in Carver, a surging team out of Columbus, and lost an eight point game in the semi-finals in the 2-AAA region tournament. The team responded with a key win over Shaw in the third place game. Winning the state title this year is much tougher because the team isn't under the radar any longer and the depth in AAA is ridiculous.

10. Savannah (25-2)
Notable victories: Liberty County 88-82 OT, Beach 65-50, Windsor Forest 89-78, Richmond Academy 72-53, Savannah Johnson 89-75, Jonesboro 61-45, Irmo (S.C.) 62-38, Tallahassee Lincoln (Fla.) 87-67, Bradwell Institute 76-69 (OT), Savannah Johnson 55-52, Bradwell Institute 64-81, Groves 75-65, Beach 62-54
Notable losses: Mundy's Mill 69-71, Savannah Johnson 52-65
This week's schedule: Feb. 22 vs. Tift County
Last rank: 7
Notes: Apparently beating a team three times in a season is as tough as they say. Johnson knocked out the Blue Jackets easily in the 3-AAAAA region tournament. Guards Kevin Williams and Norris Rumph continue to lead the way as two of the best scorers outside of Atlanta.

11. Marietta (25-3)
Notable victories: Campbell 56-45, Harrison 59-53, Kansas City Ruskin (Mo.) 60-55, San Diego (Calif.) 58-46, McEachern 74-58, Centennial 63-59, Harrison 76-71, McEachern 74-65, Campbell 70-66
Notable losses: Blessed Trinity 35-50, Whitefield Academy 54-66, McEachern 56-63
This week's schedule: Feb. 22 vs. Collins Hill
Last rank: 11
Notes: The Blue Devils won the 5-AAAAA region tournament with a challenging win over Campbell. Marietta hopes to have point guard Chris Tanzy back for the state tournament, too. The team won the region tournament without him. J.C. Ward and DeAndre Cannon have been tremendous this season for the legendary Charlie Hood.

12. Miller Grove (23-5)
Notable victories: Redan 51-50, Tucker 70-62, Wesleyan 53-51, Stone Mountain 83-81, Jeannette (Pa.) 76-65, Stone Mountain 65-46, Redan 57-47, Tucker 68-48, Stone Mountain 64-63
Notable losses: Columbia 64-82, Archbishop Moeller (Ohio) 48-51 (OT), Columbia 59-61, Wheeler 77-82, Marist 86-87 (3OT)
This week's schedule: Feb. 22 vs. Cedar Shoals
Last rank: 12
Notes: The 6-AAAA region tournament was a wild one and Miller Grove came out on top as the region champs, a feat that is much harder to do than it looks on the surface. Keep an eye on junior Stephen Hill. The 6-5 athlete is surging at the right time, giving the Wolverines another option alongside Mfon Udofia.

13. Glenn Hills (24-2)
Notable victories: Josey 64-53, Richmond Academy 75-60, Laney 67-52, Laney 69-52, Washington County 43-40 (OT), Thomson 76-64, Washington County 40-37, Washington County 58-48, Liberty County 49-39
Notable losses: North Augusta (S.C.) 47-49, Craigmont (Tenn.) 58-59
This week's schedule: Feb. 22 vs. Cairo
Last rank: 13
Notes: The big three of Reggie Middleton, Jerel Stephenson and Chris Reynolds helped the Spartans claim the 3-AAA region tournament. Glenn Hills has not lost to a state foe this year either.

14. East Laurens (26-1)
Notable victories: Montgomery County 96-85, Dublin 95-82, Dublin 90-82
Notable loss: West Laurens 77-79
This week's schedule: Feb. 22 vs. Savannah Christian
Last rank: 18
Notes: For the second time in as many seasons, East Laurens is the 4-AA region champions. This team is big, athletic and versatile not to mention dangerous in tournament settings. Jimmy Williams has this bunch playing great ball this year.

15. Centennial (23-5)
Notable victories: Whitefield Academy 51-43, Craigmont (Tenn.) 81-79 (OT), La Cueva (N.M.) 64-63, Rose Hill Academy (Ky.) 55-53, Northview 57-55, Northview 77-63, Sprayberry 75-67, Sprayberry 66-48
Notable losses: Wheeler 64-93, Lone Peak (Utah) 57-75, Mason County (Ky.) 57-81, Marietta 59-63, Wheeler 67-76
This week's schedule: Feb. 22 vs. Meadowcreek
Last rank: 14
Notes: Despite a heroic effort from junior Lorenzo Brown, Centennial dropped the region title to Wheeler. But losing to Wheeler isn't a bad thing. In fact, playing the state's top team is a great prep for the next level of games as Meadowcreek and Norcross/Harrison await.

16. Pebblebrook (26-2)
Notable victories: Jonesboro 72-50, Stephenson 87-84, Lithia Springs 77-65, Cherokee 65-48, Cherokee 52-50, Lithia Springs 71-53
Notable losses: Lithia Springs 55-58, Osborne 74-77
This week's schedule: Feb. 22 vs. NW Whitefield
Last rank: 19
Notes: Is there is a bigger sleeper in the AAAA tournament, if you can call a team with 26 teams a sleeper, than Pebblebrook? A convincing win over Lithia Springs in the 5-AAAA region championship game has propelled the fast-paced Falcons into the state tournament with major momentum.

17. Lithia Springs (25-3)
Notable victories: Villa Rica 88-80, Alexander 85-67, Newnan 74-58, Pebblebrook 58-55, Hiram 93-74, Decatur 55-54 (OT), Woodland 81-52, Alexander 68-51, Cherokee 66-50
Notable losses: Spartanburg 72-73 (OT), Pebblebrook 65-77, Pebblebrook 53-71
This week's schedule: Feb. 22 vs. Ridgeland
Last rank: 15
Notes: Pebblebrook just proved to be too much for Lithia Springs. When Jason Slate has his team rolling on defense, they are one of the toughest teams to beat in AAAA. That will be the team's calling card in the post-season.

18. Hancock Central (25-2)
Notable victories: Washington County 45-41, Washington County 50-37, Greenforest Christian 47-44, Wilkinson County 60-58
Notable loss: Wilkinson County 52-64, Wilkinson County 57-70
This week's schedule: Feb. 22 vs. St. Francis
Last rank: 16
Notes: Wilkinson County seems to have Hancock's number this year as the Warriors have both of the team's losses this year. Lucky enough for Hancock wouldn't meet up with WilCo until the A state title game if both teams can win out.

19. Appling County (25-2)
Notable victories: Bacon County 66-52, Bacon County 51-36, Long County 69-67 (OT), Long County 69-67
Notable losses: Worth County 55-56, Long County 43-51
This week's schedule: Feb. 22 vs. Dodge County
Last rank: 17
Notes: A tough loss to Long County in the region championship game was tough but don't sleep on this team. They have good size, good athletes and a good mindset heading into the state tournament.

20. Portal (26-1)
Notable victories: Rutland 70-60, Statesboro 55-52, Statesboro 69-57
Notable loss: West Laurens 73-78
This week's schedule: Feb. 22 vs. Seminole County
Last rank: 20
Notes: Keep an eye on the Panthers. Is this the year someone outside of the powerful 5-A region wins the Class A tournament? If David Buchannon continues to play like he and his teammates have been playing, the chances are strong.