Class AAAAAA blog: Lanier seeking first-place sweep in Region 8

Only one Class AAAAAA school has first-place teams in both boys and girls basketball heading into the final two weeks of the regular season.

Both teams from Lanier will bring 5-0 records in Region 8 play into Tuesday night’s games at Habersham Central. The girls team, 17-3 overall and No. 7 in this week’s AJC rankings, hold a one-and-a-half-game lead Winder-Barrow and Dacula, which are tied for second place. They are led by senior guards Mekala Fuller (leading scorer) and Kalen Surles and have a rugged inside game with juniors Lizzie Campbell and Christabel Ezumah. 

Lanier’s boys are 13-6 overall and unranked by the AJC but No. 19 in the MaxPreps rankings. They hold a half-game lead over Gainesville, the state runner-up last season. The Longhorns are led by a strong senior class that includes Jehloni James, Ejai Washington, Jalen Surles and Sean Foster and get key contributions from junior guard Sion James. 

Lanier finishes out the week with games at Dacula on Friday and at home against Habersham Central on Saturday. 

The only other AAAAAA school with a realistic shot of getting first-place finishes from its boys and girls is Douglas County of Region 5. The Tigers’ girls team (17-4, 12-0) is in first place, two games ahead of New Manchester. The boys (16-5, 11-2) are in second place, a game behind Tri-Cities (17-5, 12-1). Douglas County and Tri-Cities will play each other for the second time this season on Jan. 29. 

Here are some of the other top stories from Class AAAAAA basketball last week: 

*Chattahoochee on the rise: Chattahoochee’s boys team moved into first place in Region 7 with a 64-56 victory over North Atlanta on Friday and enters play this week with a half-game lead over the Warriors. The victory completed a season sweep of North Atlanta (Chattahoochee won the first meeting 67-59 on Dec. 7) and extended the Cougars’ winning streak to 12 games. Chattahoochee (19-3, 11-2) has been the biggest climber in the AJC rankings, moving from No. 7 to No. 3 to its current No. 2 over the past couple of weeks. North Atlanta (16-5, 10-2) dropped one spot to No. 9 this week. Third-place Cambridge (14-8, 10-3) also remains in the hunt. 

*Another dominant week: The defending state champion and No. 1-ranked Lovejoy girls team continues to roll through Class AAAAAA. The Wildcats crushed Morrow 88-6 and Mount Zion-Jonesboro 77-37 last week to improve to 19-3. They are undefeated against Georgia teams. According to the team’s box score on MaxPreps, Lovejoy led Morrow 43-0 at the end of the first quarter. Genesis Bryant led the way with 34 points. Bryant, a junior guard, was the Class AAAAAA player of the year last season and recently picked up an offer from Georgia State. The Wildcats meet No. 2 Forest Park next Tuesday in a game that likely will settle the No. 1 seed for the region tournament. 

*Milestone for Bollmer: Senior guard Kendall Bollmer of the Dacula girls team broke the Gwinnett County Public Schools record for career 3-pointers in the Falcons’ 66-61 overtime loss to Winder-Barrow on Tuesday. Bollmer finished the game with 229 career 3-pointers, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post, breaking the record of Peachtree Ridge’s Melissa Turvy, who had 224 in a career that ended in 2012. Gwinnett County’s all-time leader (public or private) is former Wesleyan standout Nikki Luckhurt, who finished her high school career in 2004 with 324 3-pointers. Bollmer has signed with Valdosta State. Dacula is 16-5 and ranked No. 9.

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