All things good come to an end. After some major upsets in the playoffs, and some nice surprises, we reveal our final Power Rankings for 2019-20. Congrats to all the programs on their success throughout the season.
#1 JEFFERSON DRAGONS
LAST RANKING: #3
The Dragons won the 8-AAA Championship, and cruised into the State Championship for the first time ever. Ranked as high as #2 in the state, the boys closed the season strong with 13 straight wins prior to the championship game. The season included Jacob Radaker reaching 1,000 career points. Yes, they lost the head-to-head against Banks (below) in the season opener, but you can’t keep Jefferson out of the top spot with a run like this and closing so strong.
#2 BANKS CO LEOPARDS
LAST RANKING: #2
Banks County won the regular season and tournament championship, and made their much-anticipated Elite 8 run. Carl Cleveland polished off his career with 2,500 points and 1,000+ rebounds, joining an exclusive group in state history to accomplish that. Aside from a pair of regular season shocking losses (Rabun & Lumpkin), these guys pretty much were the team to beat all year, and were ranked as high as #2 in the state at one point.
#3 DAWSON CO TIGERS
LAST RANKING: #1
This was such an unfortunate ending for arguably one of the top teams in the state. The Tigers were at one point ranked #2 in Class 3A, and won the 7-AAA Championship (both regular season and tournament). However, Cedar Grove came into their building in round one, and shocked the entire state with a monster first half that proved insurmountable for this uber-talented group. Jasper Gibson eclipsed 2,000 career points in the loss. During the season, Campbell Reed also reached the 1,000-point mark.
#4 TOWNS CO INDIANS
LAST RANKING: #4
The Indians earned a runner-up finish in 8-AA for the first time in school history, playing in the region title game. Kolby Moss is the real deal, and will return next season for his senior year. The Indians’ 18 wins was the second-most in school history, after going for 19 in ’16-17 (which saw them reach the Sweet 16 that year).
#5 UNION CO PANTHERS
LAST RANKING: #5
Union put together a solid run and got into the postseason for a second straight year. Both Pierson Allison and Sawyer Drake joined the 1,000-point club during the season.
#6 TALLULAH FALLS INDIANS
LAST RANKING: #6
Tallulah Falls played some great ball at times, and edged its way into the playoff bracket in 1A Private. A 3-pointer at the buzzer in that opening round contest proved the end of the road for the Indians, who have been to state in 3 of the past 4 seasons now. Matthew Weidner became a 1,000-point scorer, and broke the school record for points in a career.
#7 WHITE CO WARRIORS
LAST RANKING: #7
The Warriors closed the season relatively strong, and an up-and-comer Silas Mulligan started to turn heads. He’s going to be a beast in the next couple of years.
#8 COMMERCE TIGERS
LAST RANKING: #8
The Tigers had some bright spots throughout the year, including the play of Creed Dunbar, Shawn Cunningham, and Ian McConnell. Those guys will all be back next season, which bodes well for a team that wasn’t far off from making the playoffs.
#9 LUMPKIN CO INDIANS
LAST RANKING: #9
This marked the end of the Jeff Steele era at Lumpkin, as the long-time legendary coach is calling it quits after what has been nothing short of an outstanding coaching career. The Indians also lose some great seniors in Pat Jackson, Peyton Polk, and Jacob Cumbie. Brian Cunane is a key player returning next season.
#10 HABERSHAM CENTRAL RAIDERS
LAST RANKING: #11
The Raiders saw Malachi Dooley really emerge as the face of the program for the next couple of years. He’ll need some other guys around him to step up, but this program is heading in the right direction, and were just minutes away from making the playoffs.
#11 STEPHENS CO INDIANS
LAST RANKING: #10
The Indians dropped 9 in a row to end the season. That pushes them below Habersham Central (the teams split in ’19-20). Jeremy Hughes knows this process will take some time, but he’s laying a foundation now.
#12 RABUN CO WILDCATS
LAST RANKING: #12
The Wildcats were a single bucket away from the postseason, so this one stings a little. There were some high moments in the season, including wins over Banks County and Putnam County.