BLITZ Girls Basketball Power Rankings, Pre-Season
Last season’s girls basketball as a whole presented many thrills and deep playoff runs. Let’s home that continues this season. Here are our official Pre-Season Power Rankings for the girls.
#1 RABUN COUNTY LADY WILDCATS
HEAD COACH: DeeDee Dillard, 13th Season
2017-18 RECORD: 24-7 (8-4)
REGION/PLAYOFFS: 8-AA 3rd / Elite 8
KEY LOSSES: Jaden Quilliams, Jordan Haban
KEY RETURNING PLAYERS: Georgia Stockton (21 ppg, 6 rpg, 2 spg), Laken Stiles (11 ppg, 5 rpg, 3 apg), Brooke Henricks, Kaitlin Coleman, Destiny Deetz, Natalie Nix
OUTLOOK: Last year the Lady Cats made the quarterfinals without one of their best players in Brooke Henricks, who is back after missing nearly the whole season. Georgia Stockton (Presbyterian commit and reigning Player of the Year) is back, as well as Laken Stiles. Those three will lead what should be a Final Four team under the legendary DeeDee Dillard.
#2 BANKS COUNTY LADY LEOPARDS
HEAD COACH: Steve Shedd, 3rd Season
2017-18 RECORD: 25-6 (10-2)
REGION/PLAYOFFS: 8-AA Region Champions / 2A Elite 8
KEY LOSSES: Allison Smith (15 ppg), Maddie Thomas (transfer to Cherokee Bluff; 12 ppg), Lauren Shedd
KEY RETURNING PLAYERS: Jaycie Bowen (Georgia College commit, 13 ppg, 8 rpg), Amber Williams (9 ppg, 8 rpg), Kailyn Gilstrap, Heather Vaughan (transfer from Habersham Central, 15 ppg)
#3 DAWSON COUNTY LADY TIGERS
HEAD COACH: Steve Sweat, 22nd Season
2017-18 RECORD: 15-13 (6-6)
REGION/PLAYOFFS: 7-AAA 4th / 3A Rnd 1
KEY LOSSES: Abi Chatham, Calli Watson, Emma Brown
KEY RETURNING PLAYERS: Kaylee Sticker (Clemson commit), Anna Lowe
OUTLOOK: No doubt, this team lost a lot in last year’s seniors. However, anytime you bring back a division one player like Kaylee Sticker, you’re ahead of most other teams. Sticker missed a chunk of last season to injury, but the #5-ranked Lady Tigers will be led by an All-State Sticker (17.6 ppg, 6 rpg) and Anna Lowe, as well as Sophia d’Oliveira and Madison Anglin….and LEGENDARY coach Steve Sweat!
#4 JEFFERSON LADY DRAGONS
HEAD COACH: Greg Brown, 1st Season
2017-18 RECORD: 23-7 (7-3)
REGION/PLAYOFFS: 8-AAAA Runner-Up / 4A Elite 8
KEY LOSSES: Jazmin Allen (15 ppg, 12 rpg), McKenzie Tyner (11 ppg), Akera Benton, McKenzie Ulmer, Nia Johnson, Mariah Starks
KEY RETURNING PLAYERS: N/A
OUTLOOK: This is a difficult spot to be in. A new head coach takes on a group that lost six seniors that were all key playmakers on a quarterfinals team. This will now be a YOUNG team with just one senior. However, the past two deep playoff runs and the fact that it’s Jefferson means this “rebuild” may just be a “reload.”
#5 WHITE COUNTY LADY WARRIORS
HEAD COACH: Jarvis Davenport, 3rd Season
2017-18 RECORD: 14-13 (5-3)
REGION/PLAYOFFS: 7-AAAA Runner-Up / 4A Rnd 1
KEY LOSSES: Rachel Gearing, Kyleigh Johnson, Emma Cook, Mikayla Sullens
KEY RETURNING PLAYERS: Dasha Cannon (13.4 ppg, 5 rpg, 4 apg, 3 spg), Naomi Crumley
OUTLOOK: As a young team ahead of its time, White County made the playoffs last year with a very youthful roster. This year will be the same, with three seniors and a ton of talented underclassmen. Dasha Cannon is the real deal and just a sophomore, and Naomi Crumley is back too!
#6 UNION COUNTY LADY PANTHERS
HEAD COACH: Corey Garrett, 2nd Season
2017-18 RECORD: 15-10 (6-6)
REGION/PLAYOFFS: 7-AAA 5th / No Playoffs
KEY LOSSES: Bailey Daniel (1,000-pt scorer)
KEY RETURNING PLAYERS: Andelin Hill (8 ppg, 8 rpg), Kait McCarter (12 ppg, 8 rpg)
OUTLOOK: The Lady Panthers barely missed state last year, and return juniors Andelin Hill and Kait McCarter. It does hurt losing a leader and 1,000-point scorer in Bailey Daniel, but there is enough talent to help offset that loss, and this young team (two seniors) should be good for the foreseeable future.
#7 TALLULAH FALLS LADY INDIANS
HEAD COACH: Brandy Corbett, 2nd Season
2017-18 RECORD: 10-15 (6-7)
REGION/PLAYOFFS: 8-A 5th / No Playoffs
KEY LOSSES: Morgan Alexander
KEY RETURNING PLAYERS: Nyah Williams (20 ppg, 5 rpg, 2 spg)
OUTLOOK: The program’s all-time leading scorer is back in Nyah Williams for her senior year, as she comes in with 1,313 pts. A great coach in Brandy Corbett is at the helm, and this means success. This team lost just one senior from last year, so this could be the year the Lady Indians make a run.
#8 LUMPKIN COUNTY LADY INDIANS
HEAD COACH: David Dowse, 2nd Season
2017-18 RECORD: 9-15 (2-10)
REGION/PLAYOFFS: 7-AAA 7th / No Playoffs
KEY LOSSES: Hope & Holly Foster, Kadie Chambers, Maddie Self
KEY RETURNING PLAYERS: Mackenzie Pulley (14 ppg, 6 rpg, 2 apg), Isabelle Davenport (11 ppg, 3 rpg), Ashlynn Wistoski
OUTLOOK: Lumpkin had some big strides last year with 9 wins, the most in the last decade. That was only the beginning. Despite losing four seniors, the Lady Indians reload with Mackenzie Pulley, Isabelle Davenport and Ashlynn Wistoski among others. This team should reach double-digit wins easily and make a run for a state tournament appearance.
#9 STEPHENS COUNTY LADY INDIANS
HEAD COACH: Laura Baker, 1st Season
2017-18 RECORD: 11-15 (3-6)
REGION/PLAYOFFS: 8-AAAA 5th / No Playoffs
KEY LOSSES: Tykia Thompson (13 ppg, 6 rpg), Anaiah Wilson
KEY RETURNING PLAYERS: Lindsay Moore
OUTLOOK: Six seniors are gone from last year’s group. This is a very young roster with a new head coach, so the sky is the limit. Lindsay Moore, a sophomore, proves to be a key piece of the future of the program.
#10 COMMERCE LADY TIGERS
HEAD COACH: Brad Puckett, 5th Season
2017-18 RECORD: 9-18 (4-9)
REGION/PLAYOFFS: 8-A 8th / No Playoffs
KEY LOSSES: Marae Carruth, Gracie Hamilton
KEY RETURNING PLAYERS: Bryanna Sanders (10 ppg), McKenzee McRee
OUTLOOK: Much like some others in our area, it’s a youth movement. Commerce got some great play from Bryanna Sanders, one of the top region players last year as just a freshman. McKenzee McRee is also back for her senior year, so double-digit wins should be a shoe-in and perhaps a trip to state.
#11 HABERSHAM CENTRAL LADY RAIDERS
HEAD COACH: Bill Bradley, 2nd Season
2017-18 RECORD: 5-21 (3-7)
REGION/PLAYOFFS: 8-AAAAAA 5th / No Playoffs
KEY LOSSES: McKenzie McDuffie (13 ppg, 7 rpg), Halle Black, Heather Vaughan (transfer to Banks)
KEY RETURNING PLAYERS: N/A
OUTLOOK: This is a complete transformation of the roster. Seven seniors are gone as well as Heather Vaughan to Banks County. That leaves just four players from the team back this year.
#12 TOWNS COUNTY LADY INDIANS
HEAD COACH: Brian Hunnicutt, 2nd Season
2017-18 RECORD: 6-19 (4-9)
REGION/PLAYOFFS: 8-A 9th / No Playoffs
KEY LOSSES: Madison McClure
KEY RETURNING PLAYERS: Taylor Cornett, Kristin Byers, Erika Spano, Kennedi Henson
OUTLOOK: The youth movement rebuild last year resulted in six wins and four in region play, which was a nice surprise. The girls are still going to be young this season but will have four seniors to help guide the team.