Class 5A blog: Tri-Cities, Woodward leads deep Region 3

Isn’t it odd that one of the regions considered to be a relative lightweight in football is considered a heavyweight when it comes to basketball?

Admittedly, Region 3 was not a great football league this year. Only two of four playoff qualifiers (region champion Creekside and Woodward Academy) got past the first round and neither advanced past the second round.

But a look at the state basketball rankings shows a completely different tale, where four of the top 10 ranked teams come from Region 3 – No. 3 Tri-Cities (8-4), No. 4 Woodward Academy (7-1), No. 6 Forest Park (4-0) and No. 9 Jonesboro (8-0). Region 3 girls teams in the top 10 include No. 2 Forest Park and No. 3 Woodward Academy.

Tri-Cities has played a robust schedule and the Bulldogs already hold wins over Parkview, East Coweta and Miller Grove and has split with perennial contender Fayette County.

Tri-Cities is led by Peyton Daniels and Chancellor Johnson. Daniels is a 6-foot-2 combo guard who has signed with Vanderbilt over offers from Georgia, Georgia Tech and Georgia State. Johnson is a 6-3 shooting guard ranked among the top 20 in Georgia.

Woodward has beaten Newton, Mays and Shiloh. The War Eagles lost to Pebblebrook, as did Tri-Cities. Woodward Academy’s top-ranked player is Will Richard, a rangy 6-foot-5 senior who has committed to Belmont. He averages 25.9 points and 10 rebounds through eight games.

A lot more will be known after this weekend when Tri-Cities plays at Woodward on Friday night.

Coach Dan Maehlman’s Jonesboro team is still young and developing. Sophomore Devon Rainey (13.7 points) and junior Yannis Woods (12.4 points, 12.1 rebounds) join senior Nate Adams (11.5 points, 7.2 rebounds) in forming a strong nucleus.

Jonesboro plays at Forest Park on Saturday. The Panthers have a gifted offensive team that’s also extremely young. Sophomore Jaquez Akins (19.3 points, 6.3 rebounds), junior Daniel Pounds (14 points, 7.8 rebounds), sophomore Dashawn Brown (12.3 points, 6.3 rebounds) and freshman Montz Redding (9.8 points) are the top four scorers.

Clinton reaches scoring milestone

Jackson County’s Kalib Clinton has become the school’s all-time leading scorer. He scored 35 points for the Panthers on Tuesday against Loganville and now has 1,778 points. That breaks the old mark of 1,775 points set by Vic Stewart from 1960-64. Clinton is a 6-foot-4 senior who averaged nearly 28 points and 11 rebounds as a junior. He has signed with Charleston Southern.

Southwest DeKalb and St. Pius clash Friday: This should be an outstanding doubleheader. The No. 1 St. Pius girls are 10-0 and have not allowed more than 40 points to any opponent. No. 7 Southwest DeKalb, which has ruled the region, has lost to defending state champion Forest Park and Hughes. This should be a defensive dandy.

The Southwest girls are led by forward Adrienna Brownlee (13.5 points, 9.0 rebounds) and Lauryn Bell (12.8 points). The top players for St. Pius are Kate McBride (32 vs. Grayson, 21 vs. Jefferson), Kelly Stephenson and Georgie Dooley.

The No. 1 St. Pius boys (10-1) should get a test from SWD (3-2), a traditionally strong program that lost by one point in four overtimes in the semifinal round last season. Southwest’s Jordan Sanders (13.5 points) leads the Panthers. The veteran St. Pius team is led by seniors Brookes Kahlert, Trey Acklin and Callum Petersen.