The McDonough boys ascended to the top of the Class 4A polls over the Holidays with a 34-29 win over previous No. 1 ranked Baldwin. Since that victory, McDonough has won four-straight to improve to 12-1 and captured the Morris Bank Holiday Classic Championship. Even more notable, Westover scored a 65-56 win over Baldwin and that win and Thursday’s 54-46 victory over Perry improved the Patriots’ record to 10-0. Baldwin’s two recent defeats showcase the depth and excitement within 4A and there is a long list of contenders loading the current poll. Four of McDonough’s top 5 scorers are underclassmen—including junior Amon McDowell (16.5 ppg), junior Daavion Thomas (14.5 ppg), sophomore Keenan Gray (9.8 ppg) and junior Avante Nichols (7.9 ppg). Nichols transferred in from New Creation Christian this offseason and is a 6-foot-3 wing player. Westover’s Kemari Leverette made four 3-pointers in the win over Baldwin and finished with 12 points and teammates Effrin Smith (16), Keshay Walton (11) and Cameron Cromer (10) also finished in double-figures. Baldwin’s Rudolph Satcher has led the Bravves with 16.4 ppg this season and he is the team’s most reliable free-throw shooter as well.
As for the rest of the classification, Jefferson, Fayette County, Mays, Spencer, Monroe, Bainbridge, Miller Grove and Marist have all earned consideration in the polls. Jefferson is 10-1 and its only loss came to Class 7A Mill Creek (62-53) on Dec. 11. The Dragons are off to a 3-0 start in Region 8 and look like the favorite for the top seed. Fayette County has battled a tough schedule and is 5-5, but the team’s only Class 4A loss came to McDonough (63-49) back on Nov. 30. The Tigers will visit McDonough on Jan. 11 for a rematch and they are led by senior Kaleb Banks—who has led the way with 26 ppg and 9 rebounds per game this season.
Mays is 9-2 and has played a very competitive schedule this year. The Raiders’ only two losses were a 60-59 loss to Chapel Hill and a 72-62 overtime loss to rival Stephenson. Mykell Williams (18.9 ppg) and Saulamon Evans (18.3) are both juniors and have led the Raiders in scoring this year. Spencer had several offseason transfers and it looks like the Greenwave are only getting better at 7-2 and 2-0 in Region 2. Spencer has won five-straight and has no losses within Class 4A. Among the transfers that came to Spencer this season are Jhalieene Drake, Shawn Hollis, YD Scott, TJ Cochran and Vasean Moody.
Monroe is off to a 7-2 start and will open Region 1 play on Jan. 4 against a solid 10-1 Bainbridge team. Monroe’s Domonik Henderson is pouring in 16.2 ppg this season and Bainbridge has KJ Cochran (12) and Ashton Parris (12.1 ppg) both averaging a dozen points a game.
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