Girls Hoops Power Rankings: End of Season
The 2019-20 season has come to a close. One thing that’s become clear is girls hoops in this part of the state is ridiculously good. So while many may complain about our final rankings, teams 1-10 all made the playoffs. This was a tough task indeed.
#1 JEFFERSON LADY DRAGONS
LAST RANKING: #2
The Lady Dragons, ranked #2 in the state, made another deep playoff run, and won their 8-AAA regular season and tournament championship. This team rarely struggled, and earns our nod for the top team in the final power rankings. It became now a 4-year streak of making the Elite 8!
T2 RABUN CO LADY WILDCATS
LAST RANKING: #1
Rabun could not have picked a worse time to struggle. The Lady Cats fell in the region tournament opener to Banks, pushing them to the consolation game. They fell again to become the 4-seed that was ranked #1 in the entire state once upon a time. The girls were forced to head to top-ranked Douglass in what should have been the state semifinals game, where they fell by a single basket. Laken Stiles hit 1,000 career points in her final game. This was not the ending anyone pictured, and while many would punish the team more in rankings (below Banks who beat them one out of 3 games this year), the fact remains as a full body of work they were one of the best teams in the state.
T2 UNION CO LADY PANTHERS
LAST RANKING: #3
Union keeps hold of their top 3 spot (at #2) in our final power rankings, and were state-ranked #5 at one point. The dream season resulted in the first known 20-win season in at least a decade. The girls won the region title and while Rabun didn’t, Union was bested twice by the Lady Cats, which factors in. These girls were rarely defeated, and played exceptionally well with Ava Hunter, Kait McCarter, Andelin Hill, and Brooke Dockrey leading the way. The Elite 8 run is the first since 2001, nearly 20 years. If not for a tip-in with 2 seconds to go, these girls would be in the Final Four…or better. What an incredible team!
#4 WHITE CO LADY WARRIORS
LAST RANKING: #7
Yes, White County lost to some below in our power rankings…BUT, arguably no team was hotter down the stretch than these Lady Warriors, who got to the Sweet 16 for the first time in decades. Junior Dasha Cannon reached 1,000 points this year, and they’ll return her along with key players like Maddie Futch. The girls were ranked in the top 10 this season.
#5 BANKS CO LADY LEOPARDS
LAST RANKING: #11
Banks County made a gigantic leap from our last power rankings, going from #11 up to #5. That’s a testament to the team finally firing on all cylinders when it mattered most. That included taking down top-ranked Rabun in the region tournament, and finishing as region runner-up. That wasn’t the end. A home playoff game resulted in a win and a march to the Sweet 16. Something else to think about…the #10-ranked team at the beginning of the season narrowly lost to such teams at Jefferson (#1) by 3 points, Stephens (#7) by 3 points, Lumpkin (#8) by 9 points, Union (#6) by 5 points and 4 points, and won games against Putnam (#7), Rabun (#1), and Stephens (#7) during the season. Changes your opinion on them more than likely. This team was far better than a 15-16 record would suggest. Heather Vaughan surpassed 1,000 career points during the campaign.
#6 STEPHENS CO LADY INDIANS
LAST RANKING: #4
The Lady Indians were ranked #7 in the state, won the region championship (regular season), and took runner-up honors in the tournament. They fell in the opening round of state, but had a fantastic turnaround season after accumulating just 5 wins the year prior. Big wins including over Dawson (below), Banks (above; split), and Habersham (split). Big things coming again next year as many of these players will be back.
#7 DAWSON CO LADY TIGERS
LAST RANKING: #5
Dawson’s season ended quickly with a first round loss to Cedar Grove. Marlie Townley and Sophia D’Oliveira will be sorely missed, but with Maddie Anglin, Mariah Benson, and Kirklyn Porter returning, things are still looking very bright.
T#8 LUMPKIN CO LADY INDIANS
LAST RANKING: #6
Lumpkin County was a top-10 team for a portion of the season, and Isabel Davenport (1,000 points) and newcomer Kate Jackson, along with Lexi Pierce, formed a great trio to build around. The girls got their first state playoff bid in over a decade, and will hope to use that as a launch pad going into next season.
T#8 TALLULAH FALLS LADY INDIANS
LAST RANKING: #8
Tallulah Falls, along with Lumpkin, anywhere else in the state would be far up the list. Again, it’s a testament to the level of ball around here. The Lady Indians had a stellar group consisting of Katy Corbett, Lillie Free, Denika Lightbourne, and others who gelled together early to get the program to a Sweet 16.
#10 HABERSHAM CENTRAL LADY RAIDERS
LAST RANKING: #10
The Lady Raiders made a fantastic turnaround, going from 5 wins to 13 in a just one season, and making the playoffs. Great things to come in Mt. Airy.
#11 COMMERCE LADY TIGERS
LAST RANKING: #9
Commerce fell off near the end of the season, but still had a winning campaign. Bryanna Sanders will be heavily relied upon next season, and as she goes, so will the team. Carson and Grace Hobbs will also be huge factors.
#12 TOWNS CO LADY INDIANS
LAST RANKING: #12
Unfortunately, Kennedi Henson tearing her ACL had a lot to do with the way the season ended for Towns County. The Lady Indians will look for her to rebound next season. Sophia Shook and Vanessa Floyd were huge contributors this season as well.