McEachern, Georgia’s best boys basketball team so far, is moving up in the national polls.
Here’s a look at how McEachern and the rest of the top 10 boys basketball teams in Class AAAAAAA look heading into the new year.
It includes news of an up-and-coming program that ended Upson-Lee’s 75-game winning streak, a traditional power that’s about to play the No. 1 team in the country and a region showdown between top-five teams slated for Tuesday.
- McEachern (11-0): The Indians won one of the premier national tournaments, the City of Palms Classic in Fort Myers, Fla., just before Christmas. They beat Alabama’s No. 1 overall team, Mountain Brook of Birmingham, 50-29, in the semifinals, then defeated Pennsylvania’s No. 1 overall team, Imhotep of Philadalphia, 68-47 for the championship. Point guard Sharife Cooper scored 20 points and had five rebounds and four assists in the final. After Findlay Prep on Friday, McEachern will resume its Region 3 slate against Marietta on Tuesday.
- Wheeler (14-4): Wheeler beat Hughes 72-71, Southwest DeKalb 79-66 and St. Francis 82-64 at its own Tournament of Champions Holiday Classic last week. Wheeler lost games to top-25 nationally ranked teams last month – McEachern 67-60 and Wasatch Academy of Utah 85-72. Wheeler’s next game is Tuesday, when the Wildcats face No. 3 Pebblebrook. Both are undefeated in Region 2.
- Meadowcreek (12-3): The defending champions lost to No. 4 Grayson 55-51 on Saturday in a non-region game. The Mustangs have lost otherwise only to Mountain Brook (No. 1 team in Alabama) by one point and Wasatch Academy (No. 1 team in Utah) by eight. They’re playing in the ARS Rescue Rooter National Hoopfest in Memphis this weekend with games against Bartlett (No. 1 overall team in Tennessee), Whitney Young (No. 18 team in Illinois) and Briarwood Academy (No. 15 in Tennessee).
- Grayson (13-2): The Rams’ victory over No. 3 Meadowcreek on Saturday was the team’s eighth straight. Deivon Smith scorced 12 points and had nine rebounds, nine assists and three blocked shots. Ian Schieffelin scored 16 points and had five rebounds. Grayson also has beaten Wenonah of Birmingham, which is Alabama’ No. 3 overall team, and Newton, ranked No. 6 below. Grayson resumes Region 8 play on Friday at Shiloh. Both are 2-0 in the region.
- Pebblebrook (11-5): Pebblebrook went 1-3 on its trip to California last week with losses to solid teams from Arizona, Washington and California. The Falcons’ best wins this year have been against Choctawhatchee (No. 9 overall in Florida, per MaxPreps), Jemison (No. 11 overall in Alabama) and East Coweta (No. 7 in AAAAAAA below). The Falcons resume Region 2 play on Thursday at Newnan, then face No. 2 Wheeler on Tuesday.
- Newton (10-3): The Rams went 2-1 at the Tournament of Champions at Wheeler with victories over Greater Atlanta Christian 81-57 and Southwest DeKalb 82-77 and a loss to St. Francis 70-68. All three opponents are top-10 teams in their classifications. Newton (1-1 in Region 8) plays Rockdale County (0-2) on Friday, then Shiloh (2-0) on Tuesday. Newton is the region’s defending champion and was a state semifinalist in 2018, but lost five-star point guard Ashton Hagans to Kentucky and is still looking its first signature win of the season.
- East Coweta (14-1): East Coweta has lost only to No. 5 Pebblebrook. That was a Region 2 game. The Indians have beaten Fayette County (No. 2 in AAAAAA) and Sandy Creek (No. 2 in AAAA) but hasn’t played the schedule of some of the teams ranked above them. They play Therrell (No. 6 in Class AAA) on Friday before a big week that includes games against Campbell (10-6, 0-3, but an overtime loss to No. 5 Pebblebrook) on Tuesday and No. 2 Wheeler (14-4, 4-0) on Jan. 10.
- Discovery (13-3): Discovery, a rising Gwinnett County program that hasn’t made a state tournament yet, ended two-time Class AAAA champion Upson-Lee’s 75-game winning streak on Dec. 22 in a holiday tournament at Rockdale County. Hasahnn Reynolds scored 27 points. The Titans (4-0 in region play) lead Region 6 and will play Collins Hill (0-4) on Friday, then Peachtree Ridge (4-0) in a region showdown on Tuesday.
- Norcross (10-5): The 2018 runner-up in this class, Norcross went 1-2 last week in the Chick-fil-A Classic in Columbia, S.C., with a loss to No. 22-nationally ranked Roman Catholic of Philadelphia 75-62 and the No. 3 team overall in California, Salesian Prep, 50-40. And things are about to get harder. Next on the Blue Devils’ schedule is Florida’s Montverde Academy, the No. 1 ranked team in the country, on Friday in the Cancer Research Classic in West Virginia. Norcross then will play DeMatha, the No. 8 team in the country, on Saturday. The Blue Devils’ scheduling audacity comes from their history of five state titles since 2006.
- Berkmar (12-4): The Patriots are 2-3 in tough Region 7, which includes reigning state champion Meadowcreek and runner-up Norcross, but they’re on a five-game winning streak. They beat Hetitage-Conyers, Trinity Christian, Pace Academy and Shiloh last week in the Wheeler tournament. They play Lakeside (6-9, 2-3) on Friday in region play.