Class 1A Private blog: A look at the top girls teams, players

ajc.com

Holy Innocents’ seeks 3rd title in 4 seasons; Mt. Paran’s Kara Dunn highest-rated recruit

We’re already a couple of months into the season and a lot has happened thus far. Let’s take a look at the the top girls teams and players.

Top teams

Holy Innocents’ (12-1, 0-0 Region 5)

Last season, the two-time defending-champion Bears saw their bid for a third consecutive title end in the semifinals with a 58-50 loss to St. Francis. They’re aiming for their fifth title in program history and, as the No. 1 ranked team, they have a good shot. Notable wins include 7A’s No. 2 Grayson (twice), No. 3 Tift County, No. 6 Woodstock and No. 7 Brookwood and 6A’s No. 2 Buford. Their lone loss came 59-37 to Ensworth (Nashville, Tenn.), ranked No. 1 in Tennessee’s Division II-AA.

Darlington (10-2, 0-0 Region 7)

The No. 2 Tigers are coming off a second-round finish last year. They climbed the rankings by opening with a nine-game win streak but have since lost two of their last three, with those losses, though close, coming to unranked teams. Rome of 6A beat them 49-46 on Dec. 18 and 2A’s Heard County won 56-55 in overtime Wednesday. They’ve played just one ranked team — 1A Public’s No. 3 Trion — and beat them 60-37 on Dec. 11.

Mount Paran (7-3, 0-0 in Region 7)

The No. 3 Eagles reached the second round last year and return one of the country’s best players in senior wing Kara Dunn, a 4-star who signed with Georgia Tech. She was a first-team all-state selection last year, and teammate Monet Dance made second-team as a sophomore. Their most notable win is 50-41 over 7A’s No. 8 Cherokee, which came on Tuesday. Their three losses have all come by fewer than five points and to ranked teams: Florida’s 5A No. 2 Charlotte-Punta Gorda by a score of 55-51, No. 4 St. Francis (57-54) and 7A’s No. 7 Brookwood (57-53).

St. Francis (7-2, 2-0 Region 6)

The No. 4 Knights reached the championship last year, losing 51-46 to Hebron Christian. They lose 2021 all-state selection Mia Moore to graduation, but of their top three scorers this season — Trynce Taylor, Desi Taylor and Erica Moon — none are seniors. Notable wins include No. 3 Mount Paran, 4A’s No. 4 Luella and No. 6 Carver-Columbus and 3A’s No. 7 GAC. Their only losses are to No. 1 teams — 64-53 to 6A’s No. 1 Kell and 62-54 to Hoover, ranked No. 1 in Alabama, regardless of classification.

Calvary Day (6-1, 0-0 Region 3)

The No. 5 Cavaliers, who reached the second round last year, return second-team selection Mahkayla Premo for her senior season. She was averaging 24.5 points, seven steals, five rebounds and 3.5 assists through two games this season, followed by junior Hannah Cail (22 points, 5.5 rebounds, five assists, 1.5 steals) and freshman Destini Gooddine (12.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.5 steals). They’ve played two ranked teams, beating No. 8 Statford 37-30 on Dec. 10 and losing to 2A’s No. 1 Elbert County 58-46 on Dec. 11.

For the top 10, go here.

Top players

W Kara Dunn, Mount Paran

6-foot senior

Dunn is 2A’s highest-rated recruit, with ESPN giving her 4 stars and a No. 61 overall ranking for the Class of 2022. She’s signed with Georgia Tech. Last year, she was an all-state selection.

G Monet Dance, Mount Paran

5-foot-5 junior

Dance was a second-team all-state selection last year as a sophomore. She holds offers from Mercer, North Florida, Winthrop and Appalachian State.

G Mahkayla Premo, Calvary Day

5-foot-5 senior

Premo was a second-team all-state selection last year as a junior, when she eclipsed 1,000 career points. through two games this year, she was averaging 24.5 points, seven steals, five rebounds and 3.5 assists.

G Tianna Thompson, Galloway

5-foot-10 sophomore

Thompson was selected to the all-state second team last season, the only freshman from any classification to be selected to an all-state team. Her offers from Alabama, Auburn, Rutgers and Virginia Tech.

G Taiylor Williams, Brookstone

5-foot-7 junior

Williams leads 2A in scoring with 25.1 points through 11 games, adding 6.6 rebounds, 4.4 steals and 3.4 assists. She received her first offer Monday from Bishop State.

Other notable players: Brooke Suttle (sophomore, Holy Innocents’), Olivia Hutcherson (junior, Holy Innocents’), Morgan Skipper (senior, Our Lady of Mercy), Makayla Raines (junior, Our Lady of Mercer), Annie Dinschel (freshman, Mt. Bethel), Kendall Emener (junior, First Presbyterian Day), Brooke Moore (junior, North Cobb Christian)