Georgia High School Championship Contender Preview – Class 2A
- South Atlanta – The South Atlanta Hornets lead our GHSA class 2A discussion, and rightfully so coming off an impressive 29-1 campaign last year which included a state championship finish at McCamish Pavilion. The Hornets’ run through the state tournament was not as close as other classes in our preview series, as they won every game but one by a double digit margin, including a 35 point victory in the final game over Swainsboro. Last year’s roster, which included 10 players in all, were led by a plethora of upperclassmen including 7 seniors that have exhausted their eligibility for this season. In that 2017 class was 6’7” versatile big man Tyler Thornton as well as captain point guard Frank Bailey. The deduction of those impact and veteran players will take its toll on this year’s Hornets squad as they’ll now look to senior guards Jalen Stegall and Dondre Barnes to carry the load for a what will be a relatively new team under coach Michael Reddick.
- Banks County – The Leopards from North Georgia come into the season fresh off an unscathed record in region 8 but oust
ed in the state tournament round of sweet 16 to Josey high school at home. The program is trending in the right direction under coach Mike Cleveland after a 23-5 overall record last year and with enough experience returning, another region title and further run in the state playoffs is a legitimate expectation. Banks County has a significant advantage on the inside in senior Dylan Orr , sophomore and coaches son Carl Cleveland to go along with a solid back-court prospect in senior guard Gabe Martin.
- Swainsboro – Even though their final game resulted in a 35 point loss in the state title game, there is reason for optimism for the Tigers of Swainsboro for the upcoming season. They only lose 3 players from last year’s roster and return leading scorer (26.8 ppg), all state first team performer, and senior guard Jaylan McKinney Also returning, is their tallest and most formidable inside prospect in senior forward Eddie Roberts. McKinney had a productive summer with the Middle Georgia Bucks this AAU season and will look to lead the Tigers who are the defending region 1 champions. If this core of returning players can bring the same level of energy that was displayed in last year’s tournament, another trip to the title game is something that shouldn’t come as a surprise in this classification.
Thomasville – The Bulldogs come into the season with major hype, mainly around their team’s and the state of Georgia’s top overall 2018 prospect, forward Reggie Perry. The Mississippi State commit made a splash on the Adidas gauntlet this summer with the Arkansas Hawks as well as in Colorado Springs with Team USA. He’s a patient but powerful above the rim big man inside with the ability to put it on the floor from the outside and make his way to the basket. He along with 6”9” junior captain Titus Wright make up one of the better front courts in the state. As a team the Bulldogs only lost 2 senior guards in Jordan Powell and Jordan Jones so experience won’t be a factor coming into the 2017-18 campaign. Thomasville are defending runners-up behind Early County in region 1 so dethroning them is priority before any state championship aspirations however with the players mentioned as well as a strong nucleus back for another season, there is plenty to be excited about with this team.
- Dublin – This Fighting Irish squad is coming off a final four run that saw them ousted by Swainsboro in a closely contested matchup in the state tournament a season ago. This year they return to action with championship aspirations and plenty of returning talent to do it. Leading the way is 27.7ppg scorer and senior guard Kameron Pauldo. A cat quick, all around scorer, Pauldo was responsible for 38% of his team’s offensive output alone. He along with senior Bryce Guyton will be a great duo for coach Paul Williams again this season. The Irish went unscathed in regular season region play but lost a heartbreaker to Washington County in the region tournament championship game, putting them in a tougher position for state tournament competition. They will look to avenge that loss and finish the drill in both region 3 and class 2A.