Class AAAA: Druid Hills boys top Woodward, Carver girls serve Americus-Sumter first defeat

This past weekend saw several Class AAAA matchups produce outcomes that are worth taking a closer look at as the start of region tournaments waits just around the corner. Here’s a summary of the biggest takeaways. 

On the boys side, Americus-Sumter defeated defending champion Carver-Columbus 61-52 on the road this Saturday to improve to 19-0 overall and 10-0 in Region 1-AAAA. The Panthers’ win over Carver-Columbus was their second over the Tigers in an 8-day span—a statistic made more telling when considering the 0-5 record Americus-Sumter produced against the Tigers’ just one season prior.  

While the Americus-Sumter boys got the best of Carver-Columbus in this weekend’s clash, the Lady Panthers topped 54-46 for their first loss of the season. Americus-Sumter won its Jan 10 meeting against Carver-Columbus 58-53 at home. Carver-Columbus is now in the driver’s season of Region 1-AAAA with a 10-1 record, while Americus-Sumter sits at 9-1.   

The Woodward Academy boys were served their first in-state loss of the year over the weekend as Druid Hills scored a 67-64 victory. This defeat resulted in the Americus-Sumter boys taking over the top spot in this week’s Class AAAA rankings. Druid Hills led Woodard Academy 21-12 after the first quarter and 36-25 at the half before closing out the win. Jaden Lingo paced the Red Devils with a game-high 27 points, while Walker Kessler and Michael Whitmore each scored 20 points for Woodward. The result indicates that the playoff race in Region 4-AAAA could be more competitive than previously considered. For example, Druid Hills is 11-11 overall and just 4-7 in region play after the win, placing them behind Woodward Academy (9-1), Salem (7-3), Eastside (7-4), North Clayton (6-4) and McDonough (6-5) in the current standings. 

The LaFayette boys are two wins away from sweeping the Region 6-AAAA field and closing the regular season without a loss to a Class AAAA opponent. The Ramblers moved to 18-2 overall and 9-0 in Region 6-AAAA this Friday with a massive 61-33 road win over Pickens and will face Southeast Whitfield at home Tuesday night before visiting Ridgeland on Jan. 28 for its regular season finale. 

The Sandy Creek boys (15-3, 6-0) extended their winning streak to 12 games this Friday with a 79-60 win over Central-Carroll. The victory gives the Patriots wins over each of their six Region 5-AAAA opponents and they will face each of them once more in succession to close out its regular season schedule. Sandy Creek’s 77-68 win over Chapel Hill is the closest margin of victory that the team has seen against its region counterparts thus far. 

The Troup girls team remains undefeated and heads into the home stretch of its regular season slate with a 16-0 overall record and a 6-0 region mark. The Lady Tigers have been sparked by the outstanding play of senior Amber Gilbert and 6-foot sophomore Aniya Palmer.

Troup joins teams like Carver-Columbus, Americus-Sumter and Spalding as contenders on the girls side of Class AAAA and Marist also appears to be one of the classification’s biggest contenders this season. The War Eagles are 19-1 overall and 8-0 in Region 7-AAAA. The team’s only loss this season came to Class AAA’s Greater Atlanta Christian and their defensive fortitude has been put on display throughout their success this season. Through its first 20 games this season, Marist is allowing just 30 ppg while averaging 52.4 ppg offensively. 

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