Two-time defending boys state champion Upson-Lee wound up in the loss column for the first time since February of 2016 and had its 75-game winning streak snapped over the holidays. Class AAAAAAA Discovery, which opened its doors for the first time the same year as the Knights’ other most recent loss, defeated Upson-Lee 75-57. Upson-Lee answered with a 58-51 win over Jones County on Jan. 5 in its next outing, but region contests on this week’s slate against Mary Persons and Spalding will provide a clearer picture as to where this year’s squad stands heading into the final two months of regular season action.
There are no more undefeated teams left on the boys side, but plenty of contenders and teams that are trending in the right direction. No. 2 ranked St. Pius scored a 72-68 overtime win against Loyola Blakefield (MD) in the St. Pius Christmas Tournament and carries a 12-game winning streak after suffering an 85-64 loss to Class AAA powerhouse Greater Atlanta Christian on Nov. 27.
Sandy Creek dropped a tough 72-71 road trip to rival Fayette County, but still has one of the higher scoring squads in the entire classification and will take on a tough 7-4 Chapel Hill team at home this Tuesday in a game to watch for.
One-loss Henry County (16-1) took this year’s Chuck Miller Classic with a collection of victories and rides an 11-game winning streak following a 68-58 loss to Woodward Academy on Dec. 4. These two squads will meet again on Jan. 15 at Henry County in what should be a great rematch before the Region 4-AAAA tournament commences in February.
On the girls side, junior Olivia Cochran is leading 15-0 Carver-Columbus at a Player of the Year pace in the Tigers’ ongoing quest for this year’s Class AAAA state title. The group defeated Cairo 95-37 in their latest outing—marking the fourth time this season that the Lady Tigers have netted at least 90 points.
Defending state champion Spalding continues to play at a high level too, and the defensive-minded Jags have scored notable victories over Josey (51-40) and Southwest DeKalb (54-45) to kick off the New Year.
Madison County (16-1) is another team to watch, and the Red Raiders have the memory of last year’s 55-53 loss to Spalding in the Elite 8 to sharpen their focus as they continue to dominate the slate. Flowery Branch, which is new to Class AAAA this season, is scoring 57.3 ppg and is limiting opponents to just 40.3 ppg on the defensive end. The Falcons dropped their season opener to Class AAA Dawson County 65-57, but defeated the Tigers 59-45 in a rematch two weeks later, and have gone 11-0 against instate opponents ever since.