Gene Durden (left) and Eddie Martin led Buford to state championships last year. Can they do it again?
Photo: Stan Awtrey
Photo: Stan Awtrey

Class AAAAA blog: Which schools have the best overall basketball programs?

A year ago, the best all-around basketball program in Class AAAAA belonged to Buford. That point is beyond debate, since the boys and girls teams both won the state championship. 

This year the Wolves are again among the state’s best – the girls are 17-0 and the boys are 13-5. Coach Gene Durden’s girls lead the Region 8 standings at 4-0, with coach Eddie Martins’ boys currently 2-2 and in fourth place. 

But are the Wolves again the classification’s best all-around program? Here are five other candidates worthy of consideration:

Kell: The girls are 18-0 – and ranked No. 2 in the state behind state champion Buford – and the boys are 14-4. Both are leading the Region 7 standings. The boys are led by top scorer Scooter Henderson, Jaylon Brown and Xavier Presley and picked up 6-foot-8 sophomore Joyful Hawkins (an all-state caliber freshman at Brunswick last season) and 6-4 freshman Parish Johnson Jr. The girls are led by freshman phenom Crystal Henderson, Kya Williams an Amaya Moss.

Eagle’s Landing: The boys and girls are both in first place in Region 4. The boys are 16-1 overall and 8-0 in the region. The girls are 10-6 overall and 8-0 in league play. The boys are led by Keith Lamar and Kirshon Thrash, a pair of experienced seniors, and freshman David Thomas. 

Riverwood: The Raiders are the top dog in the Region 6 boys and girls standings. The boys are 14-4, 7-1 in the region and the girls are 14-4, 7-1 in the league. Nathan Henderson leads the boys at 12.9 points, followed by Jonathan Brown (9.6 points). Olivia Smith (14.7 points) and Jayla Green (11.3 points, 7.0 rebounds) are the top girls.  

Veterans: The Warhawks are in first place in the boys and girls standings in Region 1. The boys are 16-1, 3-0, and the girls are 15-2, 3-0. DeAngelo Hines (12.4), T.J. Grant (11.9) and Jaylyn Williams (11.4) are the top scorers for the boys. Tamara Luckey (12.6 points) and Stacie Jones (11.7, 12.4 rebounds) are the top players on the girls team. 

Statesboro: The Blue Devils are ruling Region 2. The boys are 14-5 and the girls are 15-3; both are 3-0 in the region. Zarion Griffin (21.2 points) is one of the most prolific players in the state and Kobe Altman averages 8.4. The girls are led by Lacy Robins, who averages 14.8 points, and Bailee Roberts, who grabs 7.1 rebounds per game. 

Southwest DeKalb: The girls are in first place in Region 5 at 13-6 overall and 7-0 in the league. The boys are 10-8 and 5-2, tied for second in the league. The boys are led by Ohio State commitment Eugene Brown III (15.4 points, 7.9 rebounds, 2.3 blocks) and Jarrett Walton (3.4 assists, 2.1 steals). The girls field another strong defensive team led by juniors Adrienna Brownlee, Pryia Thompson and Taylor Christmas. 

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