AA blog: Breaking down the new rankings

In case you missed it, the first AJC rankings since the preseason were released Sunday, and Thomasville is sitting at the top of the heap on the boys side. Aside from the Bulldogs, who haven't advanced past the first round of the playoffs since 2012 but are in the midst of an impressive early-season run, the most noticeable members of the top 10 are the AA newcomers and the Region 6 contingent – two of which overlap.

Coming in at No. 2, Pace Academy is first among three Region 6 schools and three former Class A schools in the top five. Holy Innocents’, also a Region 6 competitor in its first season in Class AA comes in at No. 5. In between, are defending state champs and perennial Region 6 power GAC at No. 3 and AA newcomer Seminole County at No. 4.

Here’s a closer look at the full top 10. We'll get into the girls rankings on Tuesday.


1. Thomasville (11-2)

The Bulldogs have won 10 straight since two November losses to Tift County (No. 2 in Class AAAAAA). That streak includes recent wins over Bainbridge, the No. 4 team in AAAA, and 15-2 West Gadsden out of Florida. Thomasville gets Bainbridge again on Tuesday before getting back into Region 1-AA play on Friday against Early County.

2. Pace Academy (10-2)

The Knights are back on track with three straight wins since falling to North Atlanta in their opener at the Westminster Holiday Classic. Pace has done a good job of supporting star sophomore Wendell Carter Jr. with significant contributions up and down the roster. A big region game with fifth-ranked Holy Innocents’ looms on Tuesday.

3. Greater Atlanta Christian (7-5)

The defending state champs saw their 52-game winning streak in short order this season, but the talent to make another deep run remains on the roster. The Spartans have won their last two and could stretch that streak to five straight heading into the Jan. 16 matchup with Holy Innocents’.

4. Seminole County (10-2)

Both of the Indians’ losses have come against Bainbridge (No. 6, Class AAAA), the last one by just a point at the Thomasville Hoopfest on Dec. 29. Seminole County – which is led by junior guard Jordan Harris, a UGA commit – have a tough stretch of games ahead. The Indians open the second half of the season with a nonregion game against Miller County on Tuesday, before facing Region 1 foes Fitzgerald and top-ranked Thomasville on back-to-back nights Friday and Saturday. Then on Jan. 13, they’ll get their third crack at Bainbridge.

5. Holy Innocents’ (12-2)

Fresh off a holiday tournament championship at the Sandestin Beach Basketball Blowout in Florida, the Golden Bears travel to Pace Academy for a key region game against AA’s top-ranked team. Holy Innocents’ only losses this year have come against No. 3 GAC and Class AAAAAA Archer.

6. Vidalia (11-1)

The Indians took their first loss of the season their last time on the court – 68-59 to Portal (No. 10 in Class A) on Dec. 29. They’ll have a chance to rebound from that disappointment Tuesday at Jeff Davis before travelling to face No. 9 Bryan County in a Region 2 showdown on Friday.

7. Model (12-1)

By at least one measure, it’s already been a successful season for the Blue Devils, who took home their first championship in the Rome Christmas tournament in more than 50 years. They’ll take a four-game winning streak into Region 7-AA play when they travel to Coosa on Tuesday night.

8. Harlem (12-1)

It’s been a long layoff for the hot-starting Bulldogs, who last suited up on Dec. 19. They’re unbeaten this season when star senior point guard Reggie Reid is healthy, and the time off should have given his knee ample time to heal. Harlem will host Swainsboro on Tuesday in a Region 3-AA matchup.

9. Bryan County (11-2)

The Redskins won their first nine before dropping two of three the week after Christmas, falling to Portal (No. 10, Class A) and Richmond Hill (No. 9, Class AAAAA). Bryan County, which went 12-19 last season, brings an unbeaten region record into the second half of the season. The Redskins will face McIntosh County Academy on Tuesday before taking on No. 6 Vidalia on Friday.

10. Crawford County (9-3)

Prior to an 88-82 loss to then-unbeaten Greenville over the holidays, the Eagles’ only losses had come in a pair of defeats to unbeaten Peach County (No. 10 Class AAA) by a combined total of three points. Thus far, the Eagles are the only team in Region 4 with a winning record.