With hoops season over, here’s the final breakdown of our local programs in the last Power Rankings until next season.
#1 DAWSON COUNTY TIGERS
PREVIOUS RANKING: #1
The Tigers had by far the most successful season, winning 11 straight going into the first Final Four appearance in school history. The duo of Luke Chism and Jasper Gibson was nearly unbeatable, and the cast around them with guys like Eli Burruss, Campbell Reed, Ahmad Kamara, Trey Pruitt, and others was unreal. A region title over #1-ranked and former state champs GAC was just the beginning. This team was one of the best we’ve ever seen.
#2 JEFFERSON DRAGONS
PREVIOUS RANKING: #3
The Dragons’ season ended far sooner than they wanted, but it was a pretty good season with all the players it had to replace from last year. Kevin Morris’ group was ranked as high as #5 in the state, and earned a playoff game at home after a region runner-up finish.
#3 STEPHENS COUNTY INDIANS
PREVIOUS RANKING #4
Ty Nails and the Indians advanced to the Sweet 16, getting hot at the perfect time. They nearly toppled brand-new suprise team Denmark, but fell in overtime to end their season just shy of the quarterfinals.
#4 BANKS COUNTY LEOPARDS
PREVIOUS RANKING: #2
Carl Cleveland was a one-man wrecking crew, averaging a double-double on the season with over 25 points per contest. Others stepped up through some growing pains, and guys like Dakota Orr and Pierce Martin will return even better next year with Cleveland. There will be some pieces like Wes Ledford and Noah Rylee that will be sorely missed. The season included a huge win over powerhouse Elbert County, but the Leopards fell in the opening round against Callaway on the home court after finishing as region runner-up.
#5 UNION COUNTY PANTHERS
PREVIOUS RANKING: #5
The Panthers were led by Sawyer Drake and Pierson Allison to a round one appearance on the road. The boys played very well down the stretch, and will return most of their team next season.
#6 TOWNS COUNTY INDIANS
PREVIOUS RANKING: #7
Towns County’s Kolby Moss was legit, as was Will Travis. There are some good pieces to build on for the Indians, who are better than the record indicates.
#7 TALLULAH FALLS INDIANS
PREVIOUS RANKING: #6
The Indians were led by Matthew Weidner this season, and posted 10 wins while missing out on the playoffs. They still proved to be a tough out.
#8 LUMPKIN COUNTY INDIANS
PREVIOUS RANKING: #9
Ignore the record. Jeff Steele’s group gelled at the perfect time, as the Indians got to the state playoffs as a surprise team, and barely missed advancing to the region title game. Lumpkin fell to North Murray in the opening round, and unfortunately, lose stars Jake Granger and Matt Seabolt to graduation.
#9 RABUN COUNTY WILDCATS
PREVIOUS RANKING: #10
The same message as Lumpkin…Rabun battled it out to the end and made the playoffs despite the 22 losses. Kasin Old was often times electric, as was Cameron Lovell and others. Rabun fell at Bremen in the opening round.
#10 WHITE COUNTY WARRIORS
PREVIOUS RANKING: #8
Austin Harris’ career comes to a close and it was fantastic. There was a lot of youth around him, and the Warriors struggled to find a spot in what is one of the toughest regions in the state.
#11 HABERSHAM CENTRAL RAIDERS
PREVIOUS RANKING: #11
21 losses for the Raiders hurt, but there were bright spots, one of which was Dontarious Bailey’s play that earned him All-Region recognition.
#12 COMMERCE TIGERS
PREVIOUS RANKING: #12
Commerce had some quality play from Jalen Dorsey and Creed Dunbar, but there was a lot of growing pains around those two. Dorsey graduates, but Dunbar is just a sophomore, so will lead this team in the future.