Class 5A blog: Region 4 is loaded with top girls teams

Dock Gammage has the Union Grove girls in first place in Region 4. Photo by Kate Awtrey.

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Dock Gammage has the Union Grove girls in first place in Region 4. Photo by Kate Awtrey.

The girls basketball teams in Region 4, most of them from Henry County, are coming together to create one of the best leagues in Class 5A.

Union Grove, Eagle’s Landing and Stockbridge are all off to fast starts, with Dutchtown, Woodland and Jones County each fielding competitive teams that will challenge for one of the four postseason spots.

Union Grove, ranked No. 5 in Class 5A, is off to an 11-2 start and has yet to lose a region contest. Coach Dock Gammage’s squad is led by senior wing Amanda Mayhew, who averages 11.3 points.

But the Wolverines played a lot of freshman last year while going 18-9 and three of them are key contributors this season as sophomores: Jordan Brooks (12.1 points, 4.8 rebounds), Julia Baker (10.2 points) and Nadea Smith (8.8 points, 6.8 rebounds). Precious Oghenekaro, a 5-10 senior who transferred from Douglas County, is averaging 4.3 rebounds.

“Every year we all have the same goal – to win,” Gammage said. “Last year we went to state and had a disappointing first round. A lot of these girls are coming back and they want to do a lot better. They want to do something different this year.

“This group has worked hard. They have been in the gym all the time. It’s just a good feeling that they want to get better.”

Union Grove handed Stockbridge its only region loss this season, a 53-47 victory on Dec. 3 at Stockbridge. The rematch is Jan. 14. The Wolverines also defeated Eagle’s Landing 57-44 on the road, the only region loss for the Golden Eagles; the return game is Jan. 14.

Stockbridge coach Anthony Palmer has changed the culture for a program that went 4-20 two seasons ago. The Tigers were 9-14 in his first season and are off to a 12-2 start in 2021-22. They’re likely to post the program’s first winning record since the 2015-16 team went 14-12.

“We laid the foundation. We laid the bricks,” Palmer said. ‘This year we’re going to put some extra bricks on that foundation and we’re going to see where the chips are.”

Senior Mikayla Jamison, who transferred in from Arabia Mountain, has been a stalwart and averages 12.4 points and 6.6 rebounds. Two younger players have been instrumental in the hot start – 5-9 sophomore Carrington Wilson, who averages 15.5 points, 10.2 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 5.3 steals, and highly touted freshman Janiyah Jones, the team’s top scorer at 15.8 points.

Eagle’s Landing (10-2) is trying to bounce back from last year’s uncharacteristic 12-13 season, when the team still finished second in the region and reached the second round of the playoffs. The Eagles had won 20-plus games the previous four years. Coach Karshaun Peterson’s top returners are seniors Asia Gant and Jehari Jacobs and junior Asia Garth.

Defending region champion Dutchtown is off to a 6-6 start, although the Bulldogs lost four seniors from last year’s 22-9 team.

Senior guard Jade Anderson, who averaged 10 points last season, has taken over the leadership role and is expected to be a top offensive producer. Morgan Oglesby is a tough matchup, inside or outside, and Taylor Ward has a high motor that keeps things moving.

“We have a lot of freshmen who are going to have to play and that’s a challenge, throwing them into a varsity game from middle school,” said second-year coach Brittany Greene. “I’m just trying to bring them along with the ones we already have, who know what to expect. That’s going to be our toughest challenge.”

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Brittany Greene led the Dutchtown girls basketball team to the region championship in 2020-21, her first season as head coach.

Credit: Kate Awtrey

Brittany Greene led the Dutchtown girls basketball team to the region championship in 2020-21, her first season as head coach.

Credit: Kate Awtrey

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Brittany Greene led the Dutchtown girls basketball team to the region championship in 2020-21, her first season as head coach.

Credit: Kate Awtrey

Credit: Kate Awtrey

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