By James Butler
All 10 teams who were in last week’s Southern Crescent Buzz Girls Basketball Top 10 return this week. However, for the first time this year in either the boys or girls rankings, there is a change at the top spot. Jonesboro drops after falling to Mount Zion, so who is the new No. 1? Mount Zion and Woodland were the two teams vying for the top spot, and at this point of the season neither would be a bad choice, but Mount Zion leapfrogs Woodland on the strength of its victory over Jonesboro.
1. Mount Zion
It just was not a victory, but Mount Zion’s 66-43 throttling of Jonesboro was extremely impressive. Not only did it avenge a 20-point loss from earlier in the season, but it made Mount Zion the favorites in a very competitive Region 4-AAAA.
Down 23-14 at halftime last Friday to Southern Crescent Buzz-ranked Mundy’s Mill, Woodland exploded in the second half to get a 54-42 triumph. Woodland visits a scrappy Stockbridge team tonight and afterwards, games with Dutchtown and Luella standout as potential landmines for a team that should be the team to beat in the Region 4-AAAAA Tournament.
The loss to Mount Zion was Jonesboro’s first defeat in seven weeks, but Jonesboro responded by blowing out Eastside and edging out then Southern Crescent Buzz-No. 4 Lovejoy. Having defeated Mount Zion earlier in the season, Jonesboro can absolutely be confident should it face Mount Zion in its region tournament.
Capable of defeating both of its highly-ranked Region 4-AAAA foes, Mount Zion and Jonesboro, Griffin checks in at No. 4. Griffin gave Mount Zion all it could handle in a three-point loss a week ago, before handling a quality Spalding team and Riverdale this past week. Down the stretch, standout center Andeija Puckett (pictured) remains a player Griffin can play through in the post as she presents a matchup problem to teams in the region.
5. Henry County
Yet another team from Region 4-AAAA, Henry County moves into the top-five with its solid play as of late and throughout the season. Henry County’s overtime win over Mount Zion in December certainly looks even more impressive now. Sophomore guard Brooke Moore has been Henry County’s leader this year and has had one of the best seasons of any player in the area. Despite being in a tough region, a favorable region schedule down the stretch should give Henry County even more momentum going into the region tournament.
Lovejoy falls a spot after the loss to Jonesboro and an overtime loss to Banneker. Lovejoy has another test from a non-region Southern Crescent team when it hosts Fayette County on Saturday. Afterwards it is back to Region 2-AAAAAA play with a visit from region power Newton on Tuesday.
7. Mundy’s Mill
Staying at No. 7, Mundy’s Mill showed what it was capable of in the first half versus Woodland. After falling to Woodland and subsequently beating Creekside and Forest Park, Mundy’s Mill now has a full week off before finishing the regular season with four games in eight days – starting at Starr’s Mill on Jan. 29.
When looking past Mount Zion’s win over Jonesboro, Morrow had the Southern Crescent’s win of the week when it ran away from McIntosh 50-35. The experienced Mustangs outscored McIntosh 30-13 in the second half. Junior Da’Ja Green led the way with 16 points, while seniors Zairria Brittian (14 pts), Autum Irvin (10), and Mariah Scott (8) all put points on the board.
The loss to Morrow put a damper on what had been a quality week for McIntosh. Before pounding Northgate 62-43, McIntosh snuck by Dutchtown 39-38. Fellow Region 4-AAAAA and Fayette County school Starr’s Mill pays McIntosh a visit tonight in perhaps the most heated rivalry in the entire Southern Crescent as coach David Dowse’s squad looks to get back on track.
Dutchtown is back at No. 10 after the loss to McIntosh. That defeat was Dutchtown’s first loss of the calendar year, so the Bulldogs remain in a good position to get a desired seed in the Region 4-AAAAA Tournament.