Round 3 preview: No. 1 Union Grove meets No. 2 Maynard Jackson

Arabia Mountain's Sha'nya Heath scored 33 points against Eagle's Landing in the second round of the Class 5A playoffs on Feb. 24, 2024.

Credit: DeKalb County Ath

Credit: DeKalb County Ath

Arabia Mountain's Sha'nya Heath scored 33 points against Eagle's Landing in the second round of the Class 5A playoffs on Feb. 24, 2024.

The two top-ranked girls basketball teams in Class 5A won’t be meeting in the finals. Instead, they will play in the third round on Tuesday when No. 1 Union Grove travels to play at Maynard Jackson at 6 p.m. in a rematch of last year’s third-round game. Jackson prevailed 54-47 in 2023 and went on to reach the Final Four.

The two clubs are the only teams who have held the top spot all year. Jackson (26-1) was No. 1 early in the season but ceded that spot to Union Grove (28-1) in mid-December after losing to North Paulding.

Both teams have won 17 in a row. Union Grove’s only loss came against Class AAA power and reigning state champion Hebron Christian.

Jackson had three first-team All-Region 5 selections: Taliah Cornish (14.7 points, 4.0 assists), Kennedie Cooper (11.1 points, 4.2 steals) and Shakira Gresham (10.4 points, 5.4 assists).

Union Grove features Region 2 Player of the Year Jordan Brooks (13.7 points, 3.9 rebounds, 3.8 assists) and all-region selection Nadea Smith (13.3 points, 7.4 rebounds).


Cartersville (17-12) at Harris County (25-3): Cartersville is coming off an overtime win against No. 4 Jefferson in the second round. The Canes are led by all-Region 7 selections K.K. Arnold (12.6 points), Senai Camper (8.3 points, 5.6 rebounds) and Ansley Griffin (8.4 points). No. 9 Harris County is a young team led by Brooke Bass, Ja’Niya Broome and Allana Coulter, who were all-Region 3 choices. The Tigers, who took the Region 3 tournament, have won eight straight.

Dalton (20-9) at Arabia Mountain (26-2): Dalton has won four in a row. The Catamounts feature Region 7 Player of the Year Grace Ridley, who has signed with North Georgia, and all-region choice Kemara Washington, Jolie Wingfield and Emma Hefner. Arabia Mountain is riding a 16-game winning streak. The Rams may the youngest team remaining in the tournament and are led by three freshmen – Sha’nya Heath (21.7 points, 5.4 rebounds, 4.5 assists), Charmaine Owens (13.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, 4.7 steals), and Jhia Primrose (6.9 points, 8.1 rebounds). Heath scored 33 in the second-round win over Eagle’s Landing.

Jones County (23-6) at Midtown (25-5): These two fine clubs have lived in the shadow of their high-ranked rival in their respective region. No. 5 Jones County has been chasing No. 1 Union Grove all year and No. 3 Midtown has been unable to catch No. 2 Maynard Jackson. Jones County is led by all-Region 2 selections Amaris Ridgeway and Carlie Skinner. Midtown has a trio of all-Region 5 choices in Devin Bockman (14.8 points), Hailey Wortmann (12.3 points, 8.9 rebounds) and Briaiah Lewis (10.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.7 assists).


Eagle’s Landing (21-7) at Tri-Cities (21-8): No. 2-ranked Eagle’s Landing faces No. 5 Tri-Cities in a rematch of the teams who played for the 2022 state championship. Eagle’s Landing, led by all-region players Clark Mastin and Chris Morris, bring a seven-game winning streak into the game. Tri-Cities, led by all-region picks Malique Johnson (15.5 points) and freshman Tre Keith (22.7 points), have won 11 in a row.

Maynard Jackson (20-8) at Tucker (23-5): Jackson has recovered from its late-season struggles and won its first two playoff games on the road. Cam Dover, Yusef Bower and Cassius Watkins lead the Jaguars. No. 4 Tucker had overpowered both of its playoff games, winning by an average of 28 points, are led by Region 4 Player of the Year Josiah Lawson and all-region picks Jakobe Williams, Jamar Graham and Khayri Dunn.

Warner Robins (21-7) at Winder-Barrow (25-4): Warner Robins, the No. 3 seed from Region 2, has won its first two playoff games on the road. The Demons are led by Jay Johnson, Cam Perkins and Cam Perkins. Winder-Barrow won the regular-season Region 8 title but lost to Clarke Central in the tournament final. The Bulldoggs feature three all-region players – Jerrin Samuel, Jaden Baskin and Tyrin Sims.

Dutchtown (19-9) at Kell (25-3): This third-round game is between two championship-caliber teams. No. 3 Dutchtown is led by Region 2 Player of the Year Joah Chappelle, as well as all-region selections Matthew Hinton and Jamir Russell. No. 1 Kell, the defending state champions, is riding a 24-game winning streak. The Longhorns are led by Region 6 Player of the Year C.J. Brown, who has signed with South Florida, and all-region picks Cannon Richards, Jaylen Colon and Chris McLavish.