Class AAA blog: Tracking down the top girls, boys teams as they head into weekend play

We broke down the performances of the top fives boys programs Tuesday, so now let's look at the girls:

No. 1 Johnson-Savannah (12-1, 8-0): Entering its 3-AAA game against Savannah on Friday, Johnson is riding momentum from its 38-34 victory against Savannah-rival Beach on Tuesday. The Atomsmashers have a trio of seniors – Jaida Burgess, Antalazia Baker and Marylashia Westbrook – scoring in double figures and four players – Amani Hamilton, Tiana Williams, Zoriah Mobley and K’yla Hankerson – combining for roughly 31 points a game.

No. 2 Jefferson (15-3, 6-0): Since losing to Tift County on Dec. 28, Jefferson responded with two road victories – 69-35 against Hart County and 51-23 against Jackson County. The Dragons are carrying that momentum into its third consecutive road game at Monroe Area on Friday. Junior Livi Blackstock, a North Georgia commitment, and sophomore guard Deshona Gaither combined for 34 points in the Dragons victory against Hart County. Ellie Kinlaw finished with 10 points against the Bulldogs. 

No. 3 Beach (11-7, 6-2): Beach has not played to form since its Dec. 21 loss to No. 1 Johnson-Savannah (53-36). Since then, the Bulldogs have lost three games – 61-49 against Holy Innocents’, 49-34 to Forest Park and 38-34 to Johnson. The silver lining? Forest Park is ranked No. 5 in AAAAAA; Holy Innocents’ is No. 4 in Class A Private and Johnson, which the Bulldogs held to 38 points, is the top-ranked team in this classification. Of its seven losses, three were against Johnson and of the other four, only one team, Bradwell Institute, was unranked when it beat Beach. The Bulldogs have a shot to right the ship on the road Friday at Southeast Bulloch.

No. 4 Fannin County (12-4, 3-3): Fannin County is coming off a 66-49 loss to No. 6 Greater Atlanta Christian as it enters a stretch of difficult games against ranked opponents, beginning with Friday’s game against No. 7 Dawson County. Senior captains Morgan Holt and Saidee Collins, both 5-foot-10, will help guide the Rebels through the stretch. After Dawson, Fannin will travel to Class AA No. 6 Union County on Saturday before hosting North Hall on Tuesday. Then the Rebels begin a stretch of four consecutive away games before returning to host GAC on Jan. 31. 

No. 5 Cedar Grove (9-4, 5-1): Cedar Grove will host Towers in a region game Friday and Class AAAAA Chamblee on Saturday before two crucial road games against Redan and Lovett next week. The Saints and Westminster are tied at 5-1 in the 5-AAA standings, and Cedar Grove has the edge after a 57-52 victory against the Wildcats on Dec. 2. Cedar Grove will travel to Westminster for a rematch in the final regular-season game on Jan. 31.

Here are some of the boy's top games this weekend:

-- Region 5 rivals will meet Friday when Pace Academy (13-4, 6-0) travels to No. 8 Lovett (12-4, 4-2) for the first game between the programs this season. The teams split the games last season with Lovett winning the first meeting, 54-43, and Pace winning the second, 61-50. Pace enters the matchup on a three-game winning streak after losing to Briarcrest (Tenn.) in the NXT LVL Hoopfest in Nashville. The Knights defeated Cedar Grove 86-40 to open the new year with a big region victory. Lovett, currently third in the region behind Westminster (5-1), is provided a chance to shake up the top of the region standings after a 74-34 victory against Stone Mountain on Tuesday.

-- In a Region 7 game, No. 4 Dawson County will put its 6-0 region record to the test on the road against Fannin County (4-11, 0-6), and the Tigers are the heavy favorite. The Tigers beat Fannin 85-43 Dec. 3. Dawson sits atop 7-AAA with No. 9 GAC at 5-1 and North Hall at 4-2.

-- No. 9 GAC will host Class AAAA Marist on Friday before a crucial 7-AAA game on the road against Dawson County on Tuesday.

-- In Region 8, No. 2 Hart County (15-1, 5-1) will host Jackson County (4-10, 1-5). The Bulldogs are tied with No. 6 Franklin County atop the region standings. Hart beat Jackson County 61-26 Dec. 3. And a favored Franklin County will host Morgan County on Friday. The Lions defeated Morgan 67-58 Dec. 3.

-- In Region 3, Johnson will try to right the ship when it plays at home against Savannah on Friday after losing 61-60 to Beach on Tuesday. Javonte Landy led Beach with 18 points; Kendrell Mitchner scored 12 points, and Kevin Chaplin finished with 11 points. Johnson beat Beach 76-61 Nov. 22. And No. 5 Windsor Forest will host Islands (1-16, 0-9) for a chance to move to 8-2 in the region behind Johnson (13-4, 8-1).

Boys Class AAA rankings

1. Pace Academy

2. Hart County

3. Johnson-Savannah

4. Dawson County

5. Windsor Forest

6. Franklin County

7. Westminster

8. Lovett

9. Greater Atlanta Christian

10. Monroe

Girls Class AAA rankings

1. Johnson-Savannah

2. Jefferson

3. Beach

4. Fannin County

5. Cedar Grove

6. Greater Atlanta Christian

7. Dawson County

8. Sonoraville

9. Coahulla Creek

10. Pierce County

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