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Today, we look at the upcoming Georgia Elite Classic by focusing on some of the biggest names playing in Thursday's junior game. We also release the Week 6 boys basketball rankings. 

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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

By Kyle Sandy

Norcross remains No. 1 after holiday slate
Norcross holds tight at No. 1 in Class AAAAAAA after a 2-2 showing at City of Palms, knocking off defending Class AA champion Pace Academy in the process, 53-44. The Blue Devils' two losses came by a combined five points to IMG Academy and Brentwood Academy Wheeler has shaken off its slow start and will enter the Tournament of Champions on a four-game winning streak. The Wildcats rise four spots to No. 3 after winning the Chick-fil-A Classic American Division Championship with a 64-53 win over John Carroll, MD.
There was no movement in Class AAAAAA, but No. 1 Gainesville did have a close call at the Carrollton Christmas Tournament, beating the Trojans in the championship game 53-46. Jonesboro finished City of Palms 3-1, defeating Neumann-Goretti, PA 65-53 in their final game. No. 5 Brunswick had a nice week, beating Monroe 67-52 at the McDonald's Tifton Invitational and finishing 2-0 at the event.
Buford 's resume in Class AAAAA got stronger with a 60-45 win over Class AAA No. 10 Cedar Grove at the War Eagle Classic. The Peach State Classic helped sort out the rankings as No. 2 Eagle's Landing fell in the title game to Class AA No. 1 South Atlanta, but beat Class AA No. 4 Therrell and Lithonia in the process. Fayette County holds on at No. 4 after a 2-1 mark at the Peach State Classic, their lone loss coming to South Atlanta. The Tigers defeated Southwest DeKalb 64-56. The Panthers had a rough go at the tournament, going 1-2 and slipping two spots to No. 8. Class AAAA No. 9 North Clayton defeated Southwest DeKalb in overtime 70-64.
Back into the mix in Class AAAA are No. 6 Henry County and No. 9 North Clayton due to their quality wins and strength of schedule. The Warhawks proved they are still dangerous, winning three in a row including two against ranked teams. They knocked Maynard Jackson out of the Class AAAAA rankings behind Javon Greene's 46-point explosion and followed up by beating Class AA No. 6 Monticello 82-72 to win the Chuck Miller Classic Championship. North Clayton's record isn't pretty but they picked up two wins against ranked teams as well at the Peach State Classic. After losing to Class AA No. 1 South Atlanta 60-56, they stopped Southwest DeKalb (70-64 OT) and Therrell (39-37).  Debuting in the poll is Americus-Sumter, who just beat Class AA No. 5 Dublin 58-55 in the Phoebe Sumter Shootout Championship.
6-foot-11 Xavier-signee Kentrevious Jones has left No. 1 Westside-Macon. The Seminoles should be allowed to implement a more free flowing style of play behind Khavon Moore, Trey Foster and Samone Reed, keeping Westside a legit state title threat. Up to No. 2 is Greater Atlanta Christian, who held off St. Pius in overtime. Cedar Grove plummets from No. 3 to No. 10. The Saints went 0-2 at the War Eagle Classic, falling to Class A-Private No. 7 Holy Innocents' (62-54) and to Buford.
South Atlanta is the team to beat in Class AA. They have picked up five wins against teams who have spent time in the Top 10 and even more impressively, on their march to the Peach State Classic Championship, they defeated larger schools from Class AAAA and AAAAA. They turned back Class AAAAA No. 2 Eagle's Landing with a 14-2 run to win the title 61-47 at Clayton State. The hottest team behind the Hornets is No. 2 Josey. The Eagles have emerged as the best team out of Augusta and did so in nail-biting fashion, beating Glenn Hills 59-56 and No. 9 Laney in the Holiday Round Ball Classic Championship, 46-43.
In Class A-Private, No. 2 St. Francis defeated Milton 85-81. Holy Innocents' jumps Whitefield Academy at No. 7 after beating Cedar Grove and the Wolfpack losing to Class AAAAAAA No. 2 Newton, 82-58. Darlington drops out after tough 56-52 loss to Calhoun in overtime in the Rome News-Tribune Festival Championship. King's Ridge Christian resurfaces at No. 10 and has won four straight.
Calhoun County still looks like the top dog in Class A-Public, blowing out Manchester 68-53. Crawford County slips to No. 9 after being upset by Southwest-Macon 63-62. Clinch County is up to No. 6 but they have a rematch looming with Turner County tonight in the Ronalda Pierce Holiday Hoopfest Championship. Twiggs County bows out of the Top 10 after a 63-51 loss at Swainsboro and is replaced by No. 7 Wilcox County, who beat No. 10 Montgomery County 68-53.
1. Norcross (12-2)
2. Newton (10-0)
3. Wheeler (8-3)
4. McEachern (8-0)
5. Westlake (7-3)
6. Collins Hill (12-1)
7. Pebblebrook (5-5)
8. Tift County (12-1)
9. Berkmar (9-4)
10. Peachtree Ridge (7-3)
1. Gainesville (10-0)
2. Jonesboro (9-2)
3. Langston Hughes (7-3)
4. South Paulding (9-1)
5. Brunswick (9-1)
6. Heritage-Conyers (6-3)
7. South Cobb (9-2)
8. Alpharetta (12-1)
9. Dacula (7-3)
10. Lakeside-Evans (8-3)
1. Buford (9-0)
2. Eagle's Landing (10-2)
3. Miller Grove (8-3)
4. Fayette County (10-2)
5. Cedar Shoals (9-2)
6. Warner Robins (10-1)
7. Riverwood (11-1)
8. Southwest DeKalb (9-4)
9. Union Grove (9-2)
10. New Hampstead (8-4)
Class AAAA
1. Sandy Creek (5-2)
2. Upson-Lee (12-0)
3. LaGrange (9-1)
4. Eastside (9-2)
5. Richmond Academy (9-3)
6. Henry County (9-5)
7. Perry (10-2)
8. Burke County (6-2)
9. North Clayton (5-5)
10. Americus-Sumter (9-1)
Class AAA
1. Westside-Macon (6-2)
2. Greater Atlanta Christian (9-2)
3. Liberty County (8-5)
4. Central-Macon (8-1)
5. Pace Academy (3-5)
6. Morgan County (6-2)
7. Calhoun (9-0)
8. Islands (7-3)
9. Johnson-Savannah (8-3)
10. Cedar Grove (5-4)
Class AA
1. South Atlanta (12-1)
2. Josey (12-2)
3. Thomasville (4-4)
4. Therrell (9-3)
5. Dublin (6-4)
6. Monticello (8-5)
7. Callaway (3-2)
8. Putnam County (8-2)
9. Laney (9-3)
10. Chattooga (8-1)
Class A-Private
1. Greenforest (7-2)
2. St. Francis (10-0)
3. Southwest Atlanta Christian (6-3)
4. North Cobb Christian (7-2)
5. Aquinas (6-1)
6. Lakeview Academy (6-3)
7. Holy Innocents' (5-4)
8. Whitefield Academy (6-3)
9. Tallulah Falls (10-0)
10. King's Ridge (7-4)
Class A-Public
1. Calhoun County (8-0)
2. Quitman County (11-1)
3. Taylor County (7-2)
4. Wilkinson County (6-2)
5. Treutlen (10-0)
6. Clinch County (9-0)
7. Wilcox County (9-2)
8. Central-Talbotton (8-3)
9. Crawford County (8-4)
10. Montgomery County (8-2)


Class of 2018 set to shine at Georgia Elite Classic

Stars align on Thursday, December 29 as the state's top juniors from across Georgia travel to Walter H. Cantrell Stadium at McEachern High School in Powder Springs to test their skills at the Elite Junior Classic. Handpicked from all over the Peach State, talent will be aplenty as scouts keep an eye on what transpires.
Players such as Texas A&M-commit Cade Fortin, four-star tight end Tyneil Hopper and state champion Terrick Small Jr. will all take the field. Known commodities to those on the verge of breaking out, storylines will be fruitful.
Fortin enters the event as the most accomplished passer. After being pressed into duty at North Gwinnett as a sophomore, the following offseason Fortin's stock exploded and he parlayed it into Texas A&M verbal on August 15. He proceeded to see his play on the field improve from the 2015 season, throwing for 1,841 yards, 16 touchdowns and three interceptions this year.
Fortin will split snaps under center for the National Team with Mike Barrett of Lowndes, who threw for 2,753 yards and 27 touchdowns in his own right. Both will have a pair of Parkview receivers to get the ball to in Miles Marshall and Justin Long. Marshall caught 47 passes for 773 yards and nine scores while Long added 43 for 557 yards and five touchdowns. Both know firsthand about Barrett's abilities as Lowndes beat the Panthers 35-34 this year with Barrett throwing for 287 yards and rushing for 63.
Speaking of rushing, the American Team will have a strong stable of backs with Dante Black (Brookwood), Clay Harris (Norcross) and Nolan Edmonds (Alpharetta). Edmonds is a three-star back that rushed for 647 yards and eight touchdowns in eight games while Black and Harris are both versatile out of the backfield.
Griffin Collier (Tift County) and Cameron Lewis (Eagle's Landing) quarterback the American Team and both will have Hopper available to throw to. The versatile pass catcher can play all over the field and caught three touchdowns for Roswell this season.
Defensively, Norcross' Nazir Sy is a terror along the line. The defensive tackle tallied 50 stops, eight sacks and 16 tackles for a loss. He joins defensive ends Sean Smith (Lamar County), Caleb Washington (North Atlanta) and Kingsley Enagbare (Peachtree Ridge) who will all be bringing pressure and challenging the National Team's trenches which features the likes of John Harris (Mill Creek), Griffin McDowell (Lee County) and Jalen Goss (Lowndes County).

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