By James Butler
With the regular season winding down this week, this will be our last Southern Crescent Power Rankings before the region tournaments begin.
After inclement weather forced the postponement of basketball games around the Metro Area a week and a half ago, the top girls teams from the Southern Crescent returned to the court over the last week.
Just like it has been since the unveiling of the Southern Crescent Buzz Girls’ Basketball Top 10, change is very visible in this week’s rankings. The top two teams in the previous rankings, Mount Zion and Woodland, both suffered losses last week and one team enters the rankings for the first time this year. Who is that team and is there a new No. 1?
Yes, Jonesboro is the new No. 1, recapturing the spot it held in the first two rankings of the year. Jonesboro got a 10-point win over Griffin last Tuesday before winning at Spalding and Pike County last Friday and Saturday and at Riverdale on Monday.
Griffin lost at Jonesboro 59-49, so how does head coach Veronica Lee’s team move from No. 4 to No. 2? The Lady Bears are deemed worthy, thanks to its 65-48 win over then No.1 Mount Zion on Friday. Griffin was the first team to hold high-scoring Mount Zion guard Tyeisha Juhan under 30 points in six games. Mount Zion will likely finish a game better than Griffin in the Region 4-AAAA standings, and the two teams split their region matchups, but a 17-point win at this point in the season is just too much to ignore, so Griffin gets the nod.
3. Mount Zion
Mount Zion lands at No. 3, but should feel confident in matchups going forward against either of the teams ranked ahead of them because of victories this season against both of those region foes. The victory over Jonesboro was a 66-43 decision just two weeks ago, so Mount Zion won’t have to reach too far back in the past to regroup.
Woodland had moved up to No. 2, and would have been the new No. 1 if it was not for its 40-35 loss at Dutchtown on Friday. While playing in a tough Region 4-AAAAA, Jonesboro, Griffin, and Mount Zion has faced each other among others in their even tougher region, so they have had a chance to get more impressive victories.
5. Henry County
In the same region 4-AAAA, as the top-three teams in this week’s rankings, but in the opposite sub-region, Henry County has run off six consecutive wins against a very manageable schedule. Brooke Moore averaged 27 points in consecutive blowouts last week of Walnut Grove and Locust Grove, as Henry County only gave up an average of 34 points in those two games.
6. Mundy’s Mill
Like Henry County, Mundy’s Mill is on a hot streak – a five-game winning streak in fact. Those wins are over Creekside, Forest Park, Starr’s Mill, and two are over Drew. With games against McIntosh and Morrow this week, Mundy’s Mill can wrap-up the No. 1 spot of its subregion in Region 4-AAAAA.
Dutchown’s rise in the rankings after its victory over Woodland was tempered a bit by its 54-43 loss at Starr’s Mill in the previous game. Starr’s Mill is a very quality team (representative of the quality of play in the Southern Crescent), but Dutchtown, who gave Woodland its other defeat this season as well, is looking to play its absolute best on a game-in, game-out basis.
Lovejoy is on a four-game losing streak, but three of the teams (Jonesboro, Newton, and Tucker) they lost to would be expected to beat many of the teams ranked in front of them. The Jonesboro loss was a 44-38 defeat at Jonesboro’s gym, so head coach Cedric King’s Class AAAAAA Wildcats should be certain in its place as one of the better girls teams in the Southern Crescent.
Morrow is hoping to stake its own claim to a subregion crown as it finishes it regular season at Mundy’s Mill on Friday. Morrow was upset by Union Grove on last Tuesday, but wins over Drew and Forest Park kept them in the top 10.
The new team in the rankings is Stockbridge. The Lady Tigers replace McIntosh after defeating the sharp shooting Lady Chiefs 49-41 last Tuesday. In fact, Stockbridge has won six out of its last seven games with its only loss in that stretch being a 58-56 defeat two weeks ago at Dutchtown.