Tag Archives: Westlake

Wheeler Enters Rankings, Grayson Falls And Westlake Girls Rise

The Wheeler Wildcats (24-7) moved into the latest Max Preps Top 25 high school basketball rankings this week for the first time this season. On the heels of a 60-59 victory over then-No. 2 Grayson in the Georgia 7A state finals, the Wildcats come in at No. 24. Grayson (30-2), who had been ranked most of the season in the top ten, fell out of the Top 25 and into the Next Five coming in at No. 26.


Wheeler, a blue blood program in Georgia with seven state titles, may have pulled an upset but they were not a weak team. The Wildcats had quality in-state victories over Grayson (1-1), Pebblebrook (2-1; 7A Sweet 16 loss to Grayson), East Coweta (7A Sweet 16), St. Francis (1A-Private State Champion), Milton (1-1; 7A Final Four), Shiloh (7A Sweet 16), Dutchtown (5A State Champion), Heritage (GISA 3A State Champion), Lanier (6A Finalist), Newton (7A Elite 8) and Kell (5A semifinalist)-all of which advanced to at least the second round. Wheeler only played three OOS games this season, a very low number by Wheeler standards, going 1-2 at the Kreul Classic with a victory over West Nassau (FL) (14-2) and losses to Deerfield Beach (FL) (15-8; 1st Rd exit in 7A state tournament) and Forest Hill (FL) (28-3; 7A Final Four). Wheeler’s OOS schedule proved to be weak overall.

Wheeler and Grayson split their two meetings this season with Grayson winning by five at Wheeler and Wheeler winning by one on a neutral floor. Grayson lost their two games by a combined five points, their only other loss was at region opponent Newton, who reached the 7A quarterfinals, 84-80 in overtime. Grayson defeated Newton 86-39 and 82-58 in their next two meetings this season to win the season series handily 2-1.

Grayson, who went into the fall trying to fill their schedule, had quality in-state wins over Berkmar (7A Elite 8), Milton (7A Final Four) , Pebblebrook (2x; 7A Sweet 16), Wheeler (1-1; 7A State Champion), Sandy Creek (4A Elite 8), Mountain Brook (AL) (7A Finalist), Memphis East (TN), McEachern (2x; 7A Final Four), Lithonia (5A Elite 8), Newton (2-1; 7A Elite 8), Archer (2x; 7A 1st Rd), Shiloh (3x; 7A Sweet 16) and Norcross (7A Elite 8). Grayson went 5-0 in OOS play defeating Crestwood Prep (Canada), Ramsay (AL; 5A Final Four), Wayne (OH; D1 District Semifinal exit), Memphis East (TN) and Mountain Brook (AL; 7A Finalist). Overall Grayson had some holes to fill in their schedule and though they went undefeated in OOS games, the OOS was not as strong as it could have been.

Wheeler and Grayson both showed that Georgia basketball as a whole is brutal night in and night out but that scheduling must improve across the board both in-state and with out-of-state quality competition. Neither is likely to be invited to GEICO Nationals. Grayson had the inside track until the one-point loss in the finals and still has a strong case based on their overall body of work but was it strong enough? If you saw Grayson play this year multiple times that should give you your answer, Yes.


On the girls side Westlake (30-2) moves up four spots from No.18 to No.14 in the latest girls Max Preps Top 25 high school basketball rankings. Westlake defeated Collins Hill (31-1) in the 7A state finals to become the first team since McEachern (2014-2017) to win three straight state titles in the highest classification in Georgia. Westlake went 24-0 against Georgia teams and 6-2 against OOS teams. The losses were to No.11 Paul VI (VA) and Centennial (NV). Westlake is in line to play in the GEICO Nationals, which have been moved from New York, New York to Dorman, South Carolina because of the coronavirus outbreak. Westlake last played in the GEICO Nationals in 2018.




Grayson Holds At No.2, Westlake Moves Up; Quick Notes Finals Game

The latest Max Preps High School Basketball rankings have been released and the same two Georgia teams are still there. On the boys side the Grayson Rams (30-1) remain at No.1 behind only Montverde Academy. Grayson will meet Wheeler (23-7) on Saturday night in Macon, GA in the class 7A finals.

Grayson won the previous meeting this season against Wheeler 73-68 back in December. The Rams went 5-0 against non-Georgia teams this season and are riding a 22-game winning streak entering the finals. Grayson has notable wins against teams that reached the semifinals including Alabama 7A runner up Mountain Brook (AL), two wins over McEachern and Milton. Wheeler went 1-2 in games again non-Georgia opponents and have victories over notable semifinal teams or better in 1A-Private champion St. Francis, 5A finalist Dutchtown, 5A semifinalist Kell, 7A semifinalist Milton (split two meetings this season), 6A finalist Lanier and 6A semifinalist South Cobb this season.

On the girls side, Westlake (29-2) moved up three spots to No. 18 from No.21. The Lady Lions will face Collins Hill (31-0) in the 7A Finals Saturday night in Macon, GA. Westlake is undefeated this season against Georgia teams as is 7-2 against non-Georgia teams. Collins Hill is 4-0 against non-Georgia teams and has not won a game by less than 15 points all season. Westlake has eliminated Collins Hill each of the last two postseasons including in the 7A state championship game last season.

Grayson and Westlake with state championship game victories will officially accept invitations to and play in the Geico Nationals April 3rd-5th in New York, NY.

No. 21 Westlake Advances To 7A Finals; Face Collins Hill Again

The Westlake Lady Lions (29-2) advanced to their third straight 7A Finals with their 15th straight win in a 62-33 victory over Cherokee (28-3) in the semifinals.  The No. 21 ranked team nationally used a pair of double-digit runs over the end of the second and beginning of the third quarters that put the game out of reach.


The Lady Lions closed the second quarter with an 11-4 run and led 31-17 at the half, then opened the third quarter with an 11-0 run and led 49-24 after three quarters. Ta’Niya Latson had a game-high 19 points, Raven Johnson tallied 14 points, six rebounds and four assists while Carlyse Hooks added 13 points for Westlake.

Cherokee, whose previously only loss to a Georgia team was to North Forsyth, was led by nine points from Kate Johnson and eight points from Ashlyn Andrus. The Lady Warriors only other loss this season came to St. Joseph’s Central (WV).

Westlake will play Collins Hill (31-0) in the 7A Finals next Saturday March 8th in Macon, Ga. Collins Hill defeated Campbell 54-37 in the 7A semifinals and has not won a game by less than 15 points this season.

Westlake, undefeated against Georgia teams this season, has eliminated Collins Hill the past two postseasons leading up to their second straight meeting in the 7A Finals. Westlake is the two-time defending state champ and seek to become the first team since McEachern to win three straight state titles in the highest classification.



No. 21 Westlake (GA) Into Final Four; Other Girls Quick Hitters

The Westlake Lady Lions defeated Norcross 63-34 in the Elite Eight on Tuesday night to advance to the 7A semifinals. Westlake has won 13 straight games, is undefeated against Georgia teams and will face Cherokee (27-2) in the semifinals on Saturday at Buford City Arena.


Westlake is ranked No.21 in the latest Max Preps Top 25 high school basketball rankings will be updated later today, Wednesday. The Lady Lions have won their three state tournament games by an average of 37.3 points against Etowah, Archer and Norcross.

Quick Hitters:

Collins Hill, the main threat to Westlake on the other side of the bracket, pulled away from McEachern in the third quarter for a 61-40 win to advance to the semifinals. Collins Hill is 34-0 and has won every game by 15 or more points this season. Collins Hill will face the Campbell (23-7) who defeated brookwood 53-50 on Wednesday night in the quarterfinals.

Forest Park (25-6) advanced to the 6A semifinals with a 62-21 win over Douglas County. Forest Park is averaging 63.6 points in three state tournament wins over Bradwell Institute, Sprayberry and Douglas County. Forest Park will take on Valdosta (28-2) in the semifinals. Valdosta got revenge over Dacula with a 57-46 win on Wednesday night.

Kell girls improved to 31-0 with a 64-54 victory over Jones County to advance to the 5A semifinals. Kell along with Collins Hill are the only undefeated teams in the state tournament in all classifications. Kell will meet Eagle’s Landing (21-8) in the semifinals in Fort Valley on Saturday.

Buford, the defending state champion, is on the other side of the 5A bracket is in the semifinals after a 58-47 win over Carrollton. Buford will face Woodland-Stockbridge (22-9) in the semifinals.

Carver-Columbus (23-4), the defending 4A state champion advanced to the semifinals with a 70-63 victory over Woodward Academy. The story however is McDonald’s All-American Olivia Cochran receiving two technical fouls resulting in an ejection within a five minute span in the fourth quarter. Cochran will miss the semifinals and finals in class 4A due to this ejection. Carver-Columbus will face Troup County (26-1) whose only loss of the season came to Sandy Creek in the region championship game. Sandy Creek was eliminated by Luella (25-5) in the quarterfinals.


Langston Hughes (24-5) eliminated the 6A favorite in Lovejoy (26-5) with a 59-55 win in the quarterfinals Wednesday night at Lovejoy. Langston Hughes will put a 17-game winning streak on the line when they face 25-4 Glynn Academy in the semifinals. The Lady Panthers five losses are to McEachern, Westlake, Jones County, Alexander and Winter Haven (FL). Lovejoy’s season is complete with a senior class that won a state title in 2018 and were the runner-ups in 2019.


Nationally Ranked Grayson (GA) and Westlake Advance In Georgia

The only two teams from the state of Georgia in the Max Preps Top 25 National high school basketball team hold serve in the latest rankings as they advance in the state tournament.


On the boys side Grayson (27-1) remains No. 2 after opening the Georgia GHSA 7A state tournament with a dominating 76-41 win over Discovery (GA). The Rams defeated Pebblebrook (GA) (16-14) 67-54 Wednesday night to improve to 28-1 an advance to the Elite Eight. Grayson, winners of 20 straight games, will host Norcross (GA) (26-3) next Wednesday night in the quarterfinals. Norcross was previously ranked for one week earlier this season. Grayson has never won a state title in history or advanced to the state finals.


On the girls side Westlake (26-2) remains at No. 21 after a first round win in the Georgia GHSA 7A state tournament over Etowah (GA) 73-31. Westlake improved to 27-2 after advancing to the Elite Eight Wednesday night with a 70-31 win over Archer (GA) (17-11). Westlake, winners of 12 straight games, will host Norcross (GA) (19-9) in the quarterfinals next Tuesday night. Westlake is the two-time defending champion in Georgia’s highest classification. Norcross has won three state titles in school history all since 2010, all in the highest classification.

Grayson (GA) and Westlake (GA) Hold Serve In National Rankings

The only two teams from the state of Georgia in the Max Preps Top 25 National high school basketball team hold serve in the latest rankings as they advance in the state tournament.


On the boys side Grayson (27-1) remains No. 2 after opening the Georgia GHSA 7A state tournament with a dominating 76-41 win over Discovery (GA). The Rams will host Pebblebrook in the second round and with a victory will host the winner of Norcross/Hillgrove in the quarterfinals. Norcross was previously ranked for one week earlier this season. Grayson has never won a state title in history or advanced to the state finals.


On the girls side Westlake (26-2) remains at No. 21 after a first round win in the Georgia GHSA 7A state tournament over Etowah (GA) 73-31. Westlake will face Archer in the second round and with a win would host the winner of Norcross/North Paulding in the quarterfinals. Westlake is the two-time defending champion in Georgia’s highest classification.

Westlake (GA) Girls No. 21 Nationally

The Westlake Lady Lions will enter the Georgia GHSA 7A State Tournament riding a 10-game winning streak, 19-0 against Georgia teams and the No. 21 team in the latest Max Preps Top 25 high school girls basketball rankings.

Westlake (25-2), the two-time defending state champion, are going for their third straight title in Georgia’s highest classification. McEachern-which won four straight from 2014 to 2018, and Collins Hill (2005-2007) are the last two programs since 2001 to win three straight titles in the highest classification. McEachern and Collins Hill each won five state titles since 2001 and are contenders again this season.


Westlake opens the state tournament hosting Etowah (12-16). Collins Hill (27-0), McEachern (17-9), Cherokee (25-2) and North Forsyth (25-2) are all considered contenders for the 7A title. Westlake defeated Collins Hill the previous two season in the Elite Eight in 2018 and the state finals in 2019. The only way the two teams would meet this season is in the state championship game again.

Westlake Ladies Lone Georgia School In National Rankings

Westlake (21-2) has been tied to the hip of Paul VI (VA) (19-3) since losing to them 67-58 in the the fifth game of the season. The girls rankings this year have been up and down and really weighing head-to-head tightly no matter how the team that loss the head-to-head has played throughout the season. The Lady Lions check in at No. 24 in the latest Max Preps Top 25 national rankings.

Westlake won 11 in a row after the Paul VI loss including victories over Bradley Central (TN) (19-3), Sacred Heart (KY) (18-1) and Spring Valley (NV) (19-5) before falling to Centennial (NV) (16-6). Sacred Heart (KY) is currently ranked No. 25.


Westlake, who has not loss to a Georgia opponent this season and has a victory over 6A favorite Lovejoy (GA), will complete the regular season against Campbell this weekend before the region tournament next week. The Lady Lions are the heavy favorite to repeat as Georgia 7A state champions are led by juniors Raven Johnson (14.8ppg 5.0rpg 4.0apg 4.5spg) and sophomore sensation Ta’Niya Latson (15.7ppg 2.4rpg 2.1apg 2.9stl). Junior Briana Turnage and senior Lydia Freeman (Georgia Southern) are also key pieces for Westlake.


Lovejoy (GA) (20-4), the only other Georgia team nationally ranked this season, fell out of the rankings two weeks ago and have loss three of their last four games to Hoover (AL) (27-1), National Christian Academy (MD) (18-6) and Forest Park (GA) (19-5). Lovejoy is now tied for first with Forest Park region 4-6A heading in the final week of the regular season. Lovejoy’s four losses this season are by a combined 15 points and they have posted a 2-2 OOS record.

National Georgia Girls Westlake (GA) and Lovejoy (GA) Updates; Other Team Notes

Westlake and Lovejoy have been holding the flag this season nationally for Georgia girls basketball. Each have highly talented rosters and deep schedules both nationally and in-state. It’s time ot take a look at these two and others from Georgia as we enter the heart of region lay ahead of the region and state tournaments.


Westlake (GA) (16-2) is currently ranked 17th in Max Preps Top 25 and were riding an 11-game winning streak entering the Big West Shootout in Las Vegas last weekend. The Girls Max Prep National Top 25 has been quirky most of the season with drastic movements week after week. When the latest rankings are released later this week it’s not sure if the Lady Lions will be in them after a 73-61 loss to Centennial (NV) (8-5)- ranked No.2 in Nevada, snapped their win streak in the first of two games at the Big West Shootout.

Westlake rebounded the next day to defeat Spring Valley (NV) (14-2) 61-44, Spring Valley is ranked No. 1 in Nevada and completed their heavy national schedule 6-2 against out-of-state teams with wins over St. John’s (D.C), Fort Myers (FL), Bradley Central (TN), No.22 Sacred Heart (KY) and Vance (NC). Their only other loss of the season is to No.16 Paul IV (VA). Westlake has defeated tough in-state for Lovejoy (GA) (15-1) earlier this season 55-52. Names to Know: Raven Johnson (Jr.), Brianna Turnage (Jr.), Lydia Freeman (Sr.) and  Ta’Niya Latson (Soph.)

Lovejoy (GA) (16-1) is the other girls team from Georgia currently ranked coming in at  No.20 however with the way the rankings have gone in girls basketball this season they stand a chance to fall out. The Lady Wildcats won their seventh straight game with a 73-31 win over region opponent Drew over the weekend. Lovejoy (GA) has defeated tough in-state opponents Forest Park, Holy Innocents and Wesleyan this season along with out-of-state foes Riverdale (TN) and Vance (NC). Lovejoy has remaining OOS games against Hoover (AL), National Christian Academy (MD) (12-5) and St. Francis Prep (NY) remaining in January. Names to know: Genesis Bryant (Sr.), Anaya Boyd (Sr.) and Bryana Hardy (So.)

Other Team Notes Of Interest:

Forest Park (GA) (13-5): Is 1-4 in out-of-state games this season to heavy national opponents Hoover (AL), Riverdale Baptist (MD), New Hope Academy (MD) and Montverde Academy (FL) in addition to an in-state loss to Lovejoy who they will meet again before the end of the regular season. Their biggest in-state wins are to Holy Innocents (GA), Beach (GA) and two wins over Stephenson (GA). Names to know: Jasmine Stevens (Jr.), Jasmine Jacob (Sr.), Joi Reid (Sr), Sania Feagin (Jr.)

Collins Hill (GA) (19-0): Collins Hill is not playing one of the stronger schedules.  The Lady Eagles remain undefeated and went 4-0 against OOS teams McKinley (LA), McGill-Toolen (AL), Providence Day (NC) and Myers Park (NC). Collins Hill has won every game by at least 16 points, has not allowed an opponent to score more than 48 points and is winning by an average margin of 33 points-a-game this season. Columbia (GA) and McGill-Toolen (AL) lost to Collins Hill by 16 and 17 points respectively in the closest games this season.  Collins Hill last remaining true regular season tests are against region foe Peachtree Ridge- who they have defeated by 22 points earlier this season, and against 1A-Private Wesleyan (GA) over the MLK Holiday. For those that like to look ahead,  Collins Hill stiffest test would come in the state championship game against most likely Westlake as both teams are expected to win their regions and be on opposite sides of the bracket. Westlake has eliminated Collins Hill the last two seasons in the quarterfinals and finals respectively. Names to know: Asjah Inniss (Sr.), Sacha Washington (Jr.), Eden Sample (Jr) and Kamryn Collins (Jr.) and LaCambria Shakespeare (Jr.)

Buford (GA) (17-0): Again a very DEEP team. No OOS games on schedule. Quality wins: Valdosta, Holy Innocents, Wesleyan, Peachtree Ridge, Loganville  and Norcross. Names to know: Tate Walters (Sr.), Katelyn Kline (Sr.) and Blair Wallis (Jr.)

Dacula (GA) (17-2): 2-1 vs OOS. Losses to Wesleyan (GA) and Oak Ridge (TN). Quality wins over Valdosta (GA), Lanier (2x)  and Dobyns-Bennett (TN). Veteran team anchored by a sophomore Names to know: Lazaria Spearman (So.), Nyla Moore (Sr.) and Keyanna Gibbs (Sr.)

St. Francis (GA) (14-3); Unbeaten against Georgia teams and 3-3 so far in OOS games. OOS losses to Hoover (AL), Hazel Green (AL) and Lake Highland Prep (FL).  Two OOS games remaining against Armwood (FL) and Tampa Bay Tech (FL). Quality Wins: Carver-Columbus (GA), Mercer County (KY), Columbia (GA), Clovis West (CA)  Names to know: Savannah Samuels (Sr.), Mia Moore (Jr), Amirah Abdur Rahim (Sr.) and Erica Moon (Fr.)

McEachern Head Coach Phyllis Arthur is steering a youthful group through a tough schedule

McEachern (GA) (10-8): Not the record or the firepower they’ve been recently known for yet always playing a tougher than normal schedule with only two seniors. 7 of 8 losses to OOS opponents, 2-7 in OOS games, 7 OOS opponents losses have combined record as of 1/14/2020 of 103-27 a .792 percentage. Lone in-state loss to North Paulding. Quality wins: Bishop Kenny (FL), Douglass (GA), Carver-Columbus (GA), North Cobb Names to know: Caelan Ellis (Soph.), Denim DeShields (Jr.) and Daelyn Craig (Sr.)

Others To Track:

Americus-Sumter (15-0), Beach (11-7), Brunswick (10-6), Campbell (16-3), Carver-Columbus (12-4), Cherokee (17-2), Harrison (15-4), Holy Innocents (12-5), Jefferson (16-3), Kell (18-0) and Valdosta (15-2)

Westlake Season Complete; No GEICO Nationals

Westlake (30-0) won their second consecutive 7A state championship this past weekend in Macon with a 60-53 win over Collins Hill. Raven Johnson and Lydia Freeman each scored 16 points while Brianna Turnage scored 14 in the victory.  The win put them in serious contention for a return visit to the GEICO Nationals in New York where the Lady Lions played last year and lost in the semifinals to eventual champion Central Valley (WA).

Westlake will not be return to GEICO Nationals according sources close to situation have confirmed they were not invited. St. Johns (MD) was selected after they made a petition to the state of Maryland.

The Lady Lions end the season on a 50-game winning streak and are 60-2 the past two seasons under head coach Hilda Hankerson. They are the first team to repeat as state champions in the highest classification since McEachern won four consecutive titles from 2014-2017.