Meadowcreek players celebrate their win Saturday night as Norcross forward Joseph Toppin (5, right) walks off of the court after the Class AAAAAAA boys championship game at McCamish Pavilion. Meadowcreek won 56-43.
Photo: PHOTO / JASON GETZ
Photo: PHOTO / JASON GETZ

Boys basketball rankings: Four first-time champs finish No. 1

Meadowcreek, Warner Robins, Thomasville and Aquinas won their first state championships in boys basketball last week. Langston Hughes, Upson-Lee and Wilkinson County successfully defended titles. Greater Atlanta Christian added an eighth championship to its bulging trophy case. 

All are ranked No. 1 in the final Atlanta Journal-Constitution high school boys basketball poll, which made room for several previously unranked Cinderella teams such as Class AA finalist Vidalia and semifinalists Heritage-Conyers, Hiram and Burke County. 

The most surprising winner? Meadowcreek. 

The 32-year-old Gwinnett County school hadn’t had a state-championship in any sport until its boys soccer team broke through last spring. Then last fall, its woebegone football program had its first winning season since 1990. 

But nothing topped what happened Saturday night in the final state-championship game of the basketball season. The Mustangs defeated Norcross, its crosstown rival and Gwinnett’s most storied big-school boys basketball program, 56-43 in the Class AAAAAAA final. Meadowcreek had lost to Norcross three times this season, twice by one point. 

“This is for the Meadowcreek community,’’ Meadowcreek boys coach Curtis Gilleylen said. ‘’We’ve been an underdog community for so long. This is going to put Meadowcreek on the map.” 

Championships for Warner Robins (AAAAAA), Thomasville (AA) and Aquinas (A) also were a long time in coming. Those schools date to the 1950s and beyond. 

Other state champs added more layers of tradition. 

Upson-Lee in AAAA extended its winning streak to 63 games, tied for third-longest in history, and became the second boys program in over 60 years team to complete back-to-back undefeated seasons, the first since Randolph-Clay in 2004-05. 

Wilkinson County won its 10th state title, all since 1999 under coach Aaron Geter. That’s the most titles for any school since 1951, or since Lanier of Macon won the last of its 13. 

GAC won its first since 2014 but fifth this decade and eighth overall, which ranks third all-time among boys programs. 

Class AAAAAAA 

1. Meadowcreek (26-6) 

2. Norcross (28-4) 

3. McEachern (26-3) 

4. Newton (27-4) 

5. Pebblebrook (26-3) 

6. Grayson (22-7) 

7. Peachtree Ridge (24-5) 

8. Mountain View (22-6) 

9. Wheeler (18-11) 

10. Etowah (24-3) 

Class AAAAAA 

1. Langston Hughes (26-5) 

2. Gainesville (24-7) 

3. Jonesboro (20-8) 

4. Brunswick (24-3) 

5. Heritage-Conyers (17-9) 

6. North Atlanta (19-9) 

7. Douglas County (21-6) 

8. Tri-Cities (21-10) 

9. Cambridge (24-2) 

10. Stephenson (21-5) 

Class AAAAA 

1. Warner Robins (28-3) 

2. Miller Grove (23-8) 

3. Buford (24-5) 

4. Lithonia (23-7) 

5. Clarke Central (25-7) 

6. Stockbridge (24-7) 

7. Jackson Atlanta (25-3) 

8. Columbia (19-10) 

9. Hiram (23-10) 

10. Southwest DeKalb (18-12) 

Class AAAA 

1. Upson-Lee (31-0) 

2. St. Pius (28-4) 

3. Sandy Creek (25-6) 

4. Baldwin (24-7) 

5. Americus-Sumter (25-4) 

6. Cartersville (21-7) 

7. Salem (21-7) 

8. Carver-Columbus (22-9) 

9. Burke County (15-9) 

10. Westover (22-7) 

Class AAA 

1. Greater Atlanta Christian (28-3) 

2. Morgan County (29-2) 

3. Johnson-Savannah (23-6) 

4. Jenkins (25-6) 

5. Cedar Grove (23-7) 

6. Central-Macon (23-6) 

7. Westside-Macon (21-11) 

8. Pace Academy (17-12) 

9. Towers (18-10) 

10. Hart County (17-13) 

Class AA 

1. Thomasville (28-3) 

2. Glenn Hills (27-3) 

3. Vidalia (23-8) 

4. Laney (28-4) 

5. Dublin (23-4) 

6. Therrell (20-8) 

7. Swainsboro (20-7) 

8. South Atlanta (25-5) 

9. Banks County (25-5) 

10. Washington County (18-9) 

Class A (Private) 

1. Aquinas (27-5) 

2. St. Francis (27-4) 

3. Eagle’s Landing Christian (27-4) 

4. Christian Heritage (27-3) 

5. North Cobb Christian (22-7) 

6. Greenforest Christian (16-12) 

7. Holy Innocents’ (21-10) 

8. Stratford Academy (19-8) 

9. Lakeview Academy (21-8) 

10. Mount Vernon Presbyterian (18-11) 

Class A (Public) 

1. Wilkinson County (26-6) 

2. Montgomery County (24-4) 

3. Calhoun County (25-3) 

4. Manchester (21-7) 

5. Woodville-Tompkins (25-4) 

6. Lanier County (25-4) 

7. Macon County (19-5) 

8. Central-Talbotton (22-4) 

9. Georgia Military College (24-4) 

10. Terrell County (20-10)

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