With hoops season over, here’s the final breakdown of our local programs in the last Power Rankings until next season.
#1 RABUN CO LADY WILDCATS
PREVIOUS RANKING: #1
What’s not to like about the Lady Cats? DeeDee Dillard didn’t want the season to end in the quarterfinals, but that doesn’t erase a #2-state ranking, 26 straight wins, a region title, and an incredible season. The agonizing part is that if the girls had won the Elite 8, Final 4, and State Title, that would have given Dillard exactly 300 career wins. That will come very quickly next season. Losing 1,000-point scorers Georgia Stockton and Brooke Henricks, as well as Kaitlin Coleman will hurt. But Lake Stiles, Destiny Deetz, and other young players will be back to anchor the team.
#2 JEFFERSON LADY DRAGONS
PREVIOUS RANKING: #2
What a season for the extremely young Jefferson Lady Dragons! A #1-state ranking came along with a year that saw them win the regular season region title and advance to the Elite 8. Natalia Bolden, Livi Blackstock, and Deshona Gaither were three of the primary leaders on this team that will be even better next year!
#3 DAWSON CO LADY TIGERS
PREVIOUS RANKING #4
The Lady Tigers were ranked once at #3 in the state, and Kaylee Sticker (Clemson signee) had an unforgettable season. Sticker and the cast that included Maddie Anglin, Sophie D’Oliveira, Marlie Townley, and Anna Lowe among others were terrific. The girls battled on the road after getting into the state tournament as a #3-seed, winning twice on the road to advance to the quarterfinals before falling in a close one. Sticker highlighted her career by becoming the all-time leading scorer at Dawson County.
#4 BANKS CO LADY LEOPARDS
PREVIOUS RANKING: #3
It was yet another great year for Banks County, who used the leadership of seniors like Jaycie Bowen, Amber Williams, Kailynn Gilstrap, Layna Parson, and Kennedy Smith. Junior transfer Heather Vaughan was lights out as well. The Lady Leopards got to the Sweet 16, and were ranked as high as #5 in the state.
#5 TALLULAH FALLS LADY INDIANS
PREVIOUS RANKING: #6
The Lady Indians won their first tournament game ever, advancing to the Sweet 16 behind the play of Nyah Williams, the all-time leading scorer. Lillie Free and Katy Corbett were also key playmakers that helped TFS win a school record 18 games. Most of the team will be back next year except Williams, who will won’t be able to be replaced by one person.
#6 WHITE CO LADY WARRIORS
PREVIOUS RANKING: #7
Dasha Cannon was even better as a sophomore after a sensational freshman year last season. Bentley Cronic, Naomi Crumley, Maddie Futch, Ellie Gearing, Rachel Lovell, and all the rest will be back next year with Cannon. This was still a young group with no seniors, so a third place region finish and state playoff appearance was pretty solid.
#7 TOWNS CO LADY INDIANS
PREVIOUS RANKING: #9
Towns County got back into the playoffs for the first time in five years, and advanced to the Sweet 16 in the process. The 14 wins was the most since the ’13-14 Elite 8 team. Kennedi Henson was the primary leader on this team, which does lose a lot of talented seniors and will have to fill some holes.
#8 LUMPKIN CO LADY INDIANS
PREVIOUS RANKING: #5
The girls deserved more. The Great Eight played their hearts out, but fell just short of a state tournament appearance for the first time in 20 or more years. The 17 wins is a school record, and many of the eight will graduate, leaving Isabelle Davenport to lead the way through hopefully an easy rebuild under coach David Dowse. Mackenzie Pulley, a 1,000-point scorer, will be sorely missed. The girls were ranked as high as #7 in the state.
#9 UNION CO LADY PANTHERS
PREVIOUS RANKING: #8
Union should be higher, but the girls were upset in the region tournament to be held out of the state tourney. This team was uber-talented with Andelin Hill, Kait McCarter, and Ava Hunter leading the way. At one point, the girls were ranked #6 in the state.
#10 COMMERCE LADY TIGERS
PREVIOUS RANKING: #10
The Lady Tigers and Bryanna Sanders were pretty good this season, making the state tournament and making a serious run at a region title. This team should remain a contender for quite awhile.
#11 STEPHENS CO LADY INDIANS
PREVIOUS RANKING: #11
The Lady Indians are still a young group, and will surely learn from this season and move forward even better next season. To get to state in that region, Stephens just needs to be better than one other region team in a five-member region. Still, the goals will be higher than that.
#12 HABERSHAM CENTRAL LADY RAIDERS
PREVIOUS RANKING: #12
The Lady Raiders will look to build off this difficult season.