As the high school playoffs approach, I figured I would try to rank the county basketball teams based on their performance thus far.
Picking the top teams was no trouble at all. On the boys side, Evans is enjoying one of the finest years in school history, and the Greenbrier girls have picked up where they left off a year ago.
After the top picks however, the choices get a bit tougher. First you have to compare public schools vs. private schools. Also, some of the teams are simply pretty even. So here goes nothing.
1. Evans - The Knights have cruised through the regular season led by their guard trio of Brandon Durr, Jerome Manuel and Glenn Miller. Who knows if they can keep it up, but it has been very impressive thus far.
2. Greenbrier - Casey Dees has earned major points this year in my eyes. The Pack is without its starting point guard (Chris Johnson), the county's best player (Reggie Rice) and the county's top inside player (Rich Poythress). Johnson and Poythress chose to concentrate on baseball, while Rice is handling his legal troubles. However, Dees has not complained. He just goes to battle with the players he can.
3. Harlem - This was a close call with No. 2. The Bulldogs have one of the county's premier scorers in Ajay Miller. Also, on a given night, any one of four different players could step up for the Bulldogs.
4. Augusta Christian - The Lions, like Harlem, can hurt you with a number of different players. They may not be able to win a SCISA State Title the way ACS did in football and baseball, but they will make a playoff run.
5. Lakeside - The Panthers are struggling in a major way, but how good would Augusta Prep do vs. the same competition? Probably about the same or slightly worse in my opinion. So I give the Panthers the edge here.
6. Augusta Prep - The Cavaliers do feature a quality player in Michael Crosland, but I still have them at No. 6. On a given night they can compete with Lakeside and Augusta Christian, but over a stretch of games the Lions and Panthers would get the nod.
1. Greenbrier - The Pack appear primed to make a Final Four run this season. Their only weakness is a lack of size inside. Some of the bigger teams in the state could pose some problems for Greenbrier. However, they are so talented everywhere else I would not bet against Garrett Black's squad.
2. Harlem - Obviously April Woodard is one of the best players in the area. However, I have also been impressed by youngster Nicole Wells. She is only a freshman and will be a great player at Harlem in a couple of years. Kim Chambers goes to battle and puts as much into each game as any coach, and I give Harlem the edge for No. 2 based on that as much as anything.
3. Evans - The Lady Knights are the surprise in the county to me. Now, their record may not wow anybody, but they have been much more competitive this year than the last couple of seasons. Janay Moore has emerged as one of the county's best guards.
4. Augusta Christian - The Lady Lions are very close to Evans at No. 3. Again, I had to try and weigh the competition, and that is why Evans got the No. 3 spot. ACS will have a good shot to make a serious run in the SCISA playoffs.
5. Lakeside - The Lady Panthers have struggled like their male counterparts. The loss of Auburn Marshall to Hephzibah was a big blow. They have a couple of talented young players to build on for next season.
6. Augusta Prep - The Lady Cavs graduated all five starters from a year ago, and they are facing the accompanying growing pains.
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