Class AA is an interesting one and nearly always difficult to predict. This year isn’t any different. Who will raise the GHSA trophy in March? The road won’t be easy but it will be balanced. We dive deeper into the first round bracket.
FOUR BEST GAMES IN FIRST ROUND
Putnam County (18-9) vs Hapeville Charter (17-7)
Therrell (16-9) at Monticello (18-8)
Butler (17-7) vs Jeff Davis (20-7)
Fitzgerald (14-5) vs Dublin (23-5)
NOTABLE BRACKET NOTES
South Atlanta is currently on a 22-game win streak. The Hornets have not lost to a team from Georgia this season. Dondre Barnes and Jalen Stegall, All-Region performers this season, make up the reliable backcourt of the South Atlanta lineup.
Chattooga (24-1) has won 20 games in a row and their last closest game was a three point win over Cartersville at the Chattooga Christmas Tournament.
Banks County has won 19 games in a row. The last time Banks County lost was Dec. 10 at East Hall.
The semifinals will be held at Georgia College in Milledgeville on March 4.
SMALL FRAME, BIG GAME
In tournament situations, all you really need is a player that can hit a big shot. Size in this situation doesn’t really matter. For three teams in the Class AA bracket, they have the luxury of some of the best scorers in Georgia. All three stand under 5-foot-10.
Dublin guard Kameron Pauldo is the second leading scorer in Georgia at 27.7 points a clip. The 5-foot-9, 140-pound junior can pack a punch in a small package.
Carl Johnson of Putnam County is having one of the best seasons of anyone in Class AA. The 5-foot-7, 160-pound senior from Eatonton plays at full speed full time and avenged 26.5 points a game. He's quick to the rim and equally pesky on the defensive end.
Ashton Bonner of Monticello The 5-foot-8, 130-pound guard has been on a tear in the 2017 part of the season. He’s averaging 20 points a game on the year.
LOW SEED, HIGH CEILING
Westside-Augusta (14-9) is a four seed and will travel to Swainsboro (17-10) in the best pairing of high seed/low seed games in the first round. The winner will move on to play the victor of Therrell/Monticello in another even pairing. Westside has lost some close ones and beat a handful of teams that could go deep into the bracket.
KYLE SANDY’S FINAL REGULAR SEASON RANKINGS
- South Atlanta (24-1)
- Laney (23-5)
- Banks County (22-4)
- Butler (18-8)
- Early County (21-7)
- Chattooga (24-1)
- Thomasville (18-8)
- Monticello (19-8)
- Heard County (22-4)
- Dublin (22-5)
KEEP AN EYE ON ME
You probably don’t know the name Ja'Queze Kirby of Jeff Davis High School yet. But you will. You most certainly will. JDHS head coach Donnie Arrington called me before the season tipped off and said Kirby has a chance to be one of the best players in their region. Arrington knows a little something about talent. He coached Jakeenan Gant at Effingham County. Kirby leads Jeff Davis in every statistical category.
RELATED: Class AAA breakdown
DIVISION I BOUND
Reggie Perry, Thomasville (2018/Arkansas)
EARNED AN ELITE PREVIEW INVITE ALREADY
Reggie Perry, Thomasville
Anthony Edwards, Therrell
JUSTIN YOUNG’S PREDICTIONS
Final Four: Laney, Thomasville, Banks County, South Atlanta
Championship: Laney, South Atlanta
Winner: South Atlanta