Posted On: 01/1/18 8:00 AM
It has been a great holiday of hoops and the second half of the 2017-2018 season is about to be in full effect. Here is a look at our top 5 public school programs below. McEachern, Pebblebrook, Wheeler, Kennesaw Mountain, and Campbell round out the top 5 this week (12/31-1/6).
McEachern (Powder Springs, GA) – Record: 11-1 – Good Wins: Simeon (IL), Hudson Catholic (NJ), Ranney School (NJ), Wheeler, Holy Spirit, Miami Christian (FL), Westside Macon. Bad Losses: None
The Indians are coming off the Christmas break with a record of 5-1. Coach Thompson and his sqaud headed to the City of Palms Tournament in Orlando, one of the best holiday tournaments in the country. McEachern faced Ranney (NJ), who feature two of the top prospects in the nation according to ESPN in 2019 WG Scottie Lewis and SG Bryan Antonie, Hudson Catholic (NJ), who feature three of the top prospects in the nation according to ESPN in 2018 PG Jahvon Quinerly, 2018 CG Luther Muhammad (Ohio State), and 2018 WG Louis King (Oregon), University School (FL), who feature the #2 player in the nation for the class of 2019 in 2019 F Vernon Carey and ESPN 25 2020 WG Scottie Barnes, and Simeon (IL), who feature one of the top players in the nation for the class of 2018 in 2018 WG Talen Horton Tucker. As you see they faced major talent around the country but came up short from capturing the tournament title with their only loss coming to the University School (FL). 2020 PG Sharife Cooper showed out and showed his talents to the world, averaging 27 ppg and having a monster 42 point game against Hudson Catholic (NJ) and hitting the game winning buzzer beater. The Indians traveled back to the peach state to participate in the Tournament of Champions held at Wheeler High School. McEachern then defeated Westside Macon and Miami Christian (FL). McEachern will have a few days off as they face another nationally known opponent in DeMatha (MD) at the Cancer Research Classic in Wheeling, WV.
Pebblebrook (Mabelton, GA) – Record: 11-2 – Good Wins: Meadowcreek, Douglas County, South Cobb, Jonesboro, Campbell, Grayson, Lower Richland (SC), Shiloh, Wheeler, Blanche Ely (FL). Bad Losses: None
There was a lot buzz going around that Pebblebrook was not going to be good this season with the depature of star 2018 PG Drue Drinnon, 2019 F Jared Jones, and senior star Collin Sexton (Alabama), well look at the Falcons so far and how many qualities wins they have. The Falcons come back from break with wins over region rivals Campbell and Wheeler and capturing the Tournament of Champions National Division Peach Bracket title. A perfect 6-0 over Christmas break and Coach Washington and his Pebblebrook squad are still at the top. This might be the best guard orientated team this season in the state of Georgia. 2018 guards Josh Graham, DJ Murray, Grant Howard, and 2019 PG Jalen Harper have a strap from anywhere on the court. Let us not forget the job 2018 WG Mervin James (Canisius) has done so far this season. James is coming off a great championship game performance in the Tournament of Champions coming out with 26 points and 11 rebounds against florida powerhouse Blanche Ely (FL). Mervin also had his first 30+ perfomance against region rival Campbell coming out with 32 points. The Falcons will face region opponent Newnan on Wednesday Jan. 3rd before heading to Tampa Bay, FL this weekend.
Wheeler (Mareitta, GA) – Record: 9-5 – Good Wins: Campbell, Miami Christian (FL), Buford, Mount Bethel, Cedar Shoals. Bad Losses: None
It has been a pretty decent year for Wheeler for the first year head coach in Coach Thompson. The Wildcats come back from break with a 3-3 record. Wheeler hosted the 2nd Annual Tournament of Champions but unfortunately this season Wheeler did not make the championship game with close losses to Oak Ridge (FL) and Holy Spirit Prep. The Wildcats got a couple of good wins over break as well with a huge win over Miami Christian (FL) and over region rival Campbell. 2018 C EJ Montgomery is having a monster year for Wheeler so far. the The 6’10 senior is averaging 25.6 points per game and 10.6 rebounds per game. EJ leads Cobb County with the most 20+ point performances with 10 so far. Coach Thompson and his Wheeler squad does not have time for breaks as their schedule is still on the tough end with three big games ahead of them. Wheeler will travel to Duluth Tuesday night Jan. 2nd to participate in the 1st Annual Big South Shootout, two nights later they will host region rival Westlake and then head to West Virginia to face Webster Grove (MO), who feature one of the top players in the nation in 2018 F Cartre’Are Gordon (Saint Louis), in the Cancer Research Classic.
Kennesaw Mountain (Kennesaw, GA) – Record: 9-2 – Good Wins: Roswell, Salem. Good Losses: None
The Mustangs suffered their first lost of the season over break in the SEBA Showcase on Saturday Dec. 16th to Hoover (AL). Kennesaw then participated in the New Manchester Holiday Tournament before Christmas and made it to the final with wins over Morrow and Salem. Unfortunately the Mustangs came up short with the lost to Lithonia. Kennesaw is one game away from matching their win total from last season. The Mustangs were my pick for preseason most improved team with stars 2019 WG Jalyn McCreary, 2019 PG Khalil Shaheed and 2018 CG Josh Strong. Shaheed has not been able suit up for the Mustangs as of yet due to eligibility reasons but will be making his debut Friday night Jan. 6th as they travel to region rival Hillgrove. McCreary and Strong can use the extra help but these two have been leading their squad this season. Jalyn is averaging 19.5 points per game and 8.1 rebounds per game. Josh is averaging 21.5 points per game. This can arguably be the #1 duo in Cobb, both guys combine for thirteen 20+ point performances. Kennesaw will face Hillgrove, Walton, and North Paulding before their first meeting with powerhouse McEachern, will host the Indians on Thursday night Jan. 11th.
Campbell (Smyrna, GA) – Record: 11-4 – Good Wins: East Hamilton (TN), Science Hill (TN), Leon (FL). Bad Losses: None
Our 5th best team in Cobb goes to the Campbell Spartans. There are no star studs on the Campbell roster this year but Coach Gwynn and his staff will have them compete. This season’s squad has a really great balance scoring wise with 2019 WG Brandon Deravaine, 2018 WG Kiya Randolph, 2019 WG Donovan Grant, and 2019 PG Terrell Burden. Spartans suffered a couple losses early on during the break, with losses to Hiram and region rivals Wheeler and Pebblebrook. Campbell had Pebblebrook on the ropes in their game but the Falcons of Pebblebrook ran away with the victory after winning 83-81 in overtime. Since then the Spartans are on a 5 game winning streak with wins over two Florida squads and after winning their own Christmas Tournament this past weekend. 2019 PG Terrell Burden has rose to one of our Midseason Cobb POY Nominees. Terrell is averaging 17 points per game and is playing the same role as former senior Tyree Crankfield played last season. Burden is the spark of the team and brings the energy and physicality on the court. Like I said they are a balanced scoring squad, Deravaine, Randolph, Grant, and Burden combine for twelve 20+ point perfomances. The Spartans will be participating in the 1st Annaul Big South Shootout on New Year’s Day at Duluth High School and will face Northeast of Macon, GA.