Prep Zone

Atlanta high school sports news from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Half of the top 10 loses; Walker a McDonald's All-American

It was a turbulent week for Class AAAAAA basketball teams as five girls teams and five boys teams ranked in the top 10 suffered at least one loss over the past seven days.

Among those suffering losses were both No. 1-ranked teams – the Harrison girls and the Gainesville boys.

Gainesville took its first loss of the season, falling 63-60 on Saturday against Class AAAAA No. 2 Cedar Shoals. The Red Elephants fell to No. 2 in this week’s rankings are were replaced at No. 1 by South Paulding, which moved up from No. 3 after a 3-0 week that included a 57-42 victory over fourth-ranked Hughes in an important Region 5-AAAAAA game.

Harrison’s girls team lost to Class AAAAA No. 1 Buford 49-43 in overtime on Saturday. The Hoyas held on to their No. 1 ranking, however, based primarily on their 64-48 victory over current No. 2 Douglas County earlier this season. It also worked in the Hoyas’ favor that last week’s No. 3 team, Winder-Barrow, was routed by Class A private-school No. 1 Holy Innocents’ on Saturday.

Here are some of the other top stories from Class AAAAAA basketball from the past week:

*Honors for Walker: Jonesboro’s M.J. Walker has been selected as a McDonald’s All-American and will play in the prestigious all-star game on March 29 in the United Center in Chicago. Walker, a 6-foot-5 guard, is averaging more than 30 points per game this season, has more than 2,000 career points and has led the Cardinals to three consecutive state finals, winning titles in 2014 and 2015. He has not announced his college decision. Other Georgia players named McDonald’s All-Americans are boys Collin Sexton (Pebblebrook, signed with Alabama) and Wendell Carter (Pace Academy, Duke) and girls Mikayla Coombs (Wesleyan, Connecticut), Maya Dodson (St. Francis, Stanford) and Kasiyahna Kushkituah (St. Francis, Tennessee).

*Tough times: The Brunswick boys team, ranked in the top 10 for much of the season, has run into a rough stretch as it hit the heart of region play in 2-AAAAAA. The Pirates were 13-2 after a 69-57 victory over Glynn Academy on Jan. 6 but have since lost three out of four, including region losses to Richmond Hill and Effingham County last week. Brunswick is in a three-way tie for second place in the region and has dropped out of the top 10. ... Sequoyah’s girls team is another that has struggled lately after a hot start. The Chiefs have lost five of seven after opening the season 11-0. Four of the five losses came against teams ranked in the top 10. Sequoyah is in second place in Region 6-AAAAAA, two games behind Harrison.

*Where they stand: Here’s a look at the region standings as play begins on Tuesday. Note that the records are taken from MaxPreps, the official record-keeper for the Georgia High School Association, and that some of those records have not been fully updated.

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