It's not a region game, so it won't count in any standings, but when Wesleyan (Norcross)
on Saturday, it could be the top girls game of the regular season in Georgia.
Buford is the two-time defending champion of Class AA while Wesleyan has won Class A each of the past two years and AA the year before that.
‘'Wesleyan is always the biggest game of the season,'' said Buford junior guard Andraya Carter
, who has committed to Tennessee. "They always used to blow us out. Then we beat them my freshman year. It was huge. It's nice off the court, but on the court, it's always this awful rivalry.''
It's not out of the question that these are Georgia's best girls teams this season. Wesleyan is 18-2, its losses to Norcross (58-57) and to Spring Valley (62-44), the undefetaed No. 1-ranked team in South Carolina.
Wesleyan's leading scorer is 6-foot senior Grace Leah Baughn
, averaging 14.3 points. She was Gwinnett County's volleyball player of the year last fall. Second in scoring is Holli Wilkins
, the daughter of former NBA player Gerald Wilkins, at 11.5 points per game.
Buford is 15-1, with its lone loss to Riverdale of Tennessee 42-38. Riverdale (21-0) is ranked No. 13 in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25
Buford has two underclassmen who have committed to Tennessee in Carter and sophomore Kaela Davis
.MILTON-WHEELER HEADS LIST OF TOP BOYS GAMES
The top boys game of the weekend in Georgia will be Milton
, ranked No. 6 in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25
, playing at home Saturday against Wheeler (Marietta)
, which is perhaps the state's most storied program over the past two decades. Wheeler (14-5) has won five state titles, including the Class AAAAA crown in 2009.
Milton (17-2) defeated Wheeler for only the second time in history – by one point in overtime in the region tournament – during Milton's state championship run last year.
‘'Wheeler is just Wheeler,'' Milton coach David Boyd said. "It's hard to explain to people who don't understand how good they've been for such a long time. It's a huge game for us.''
Wheeler is led by junior center Charles Mitchell
. "He's our MVP,'' Wheeler coach Doug Lipscomb said. "He's carried us at times.'' He's averaging more than 20 points and 12 rebounds.
Mitchell will go up against Milton's Julian Royal
, who has committed to Georgia Tech. Mitchell is the more powerful, physical player, while Royal is a faster, all-court player. Both are 6-8.HILLGROVE'S NO. 1 RANKING FOLLOWED BY FIRST LOSS
The Hillgrove (Powder Springs)
girls team was ranked No. 1 in the state for the first time in its five-year history this week after a 13-0 start, replacing Norcross, which lost to North Gwinnett last week and also dropped out of the MaxPreps Xcellent 25.
It looks like the honor will be only temporary, though. Hillgrove, a metro Atlanta school in Powder Springs, lost to Campbell (Smyrna)
67-61 on Tuesday.
The defeat wasn't shocking. Campbell (13-4) was ranked No. 5 in most polls, and now the Cobb County teams are tied for the Region 4-AAAAA lead at 6-1. Hillgrove's top players are Virginia tech-signee Reka Hall
and junior point guard Selena Rodrigo
, who has committed to UNC-Charlotte.
More trouble could be on the was as Hillgrove plays No. 3 North Cobb (Kennesaw)
on Friday. Hillgrove coach Sheryl Fowler, who has more than 500 career victories, says her team had the right perspective on being No. 1.
‘'We're excited for the No. 1 ranking for the school because we're so young [opened in 2004], but we also know rankings are just a number,'' she said. "The rankings that count are at the end."Continue reading