It was a rough start to the week for ranked boys and girls Class AAAAAA basketball teams as four of the six that played on Monday came away with losses.
All three top-10 girls teams that played – No. 2 Winder-Barrow, No. 6 Alpharetta and No. 7 Northview – came up short.
Winder-Barrow lost 81-51 to Riverdale, the top-ranked team in Tennessee and the No. 3 team nationally, according to MaxPreps. The game was tied 11-11 midway through the first quarter, but Riverdale outscored the Bulldoggs 36-15 over the next 12 minutes to seize control. Winder-Barrow’s Olivia Nelson-Ododa, the No. 5-ranked player in the nation, finished with 12 points and 14 rebounds. Latrice Perkins led Winder-Barrow with 15 points.
Alpharetta fell to 14-3 with a 61-46 loss to Class AAAAAAA Marietta. It was the second consecutive loss for the Raiders, who dropped a 42-37 decision to Johns Creek in a Region 7 game on Friday. Fellow Region 7 member Northview (14-5) had its four-game winning streak snapped by Class AAAAAAA Lambert, 37-34.
The boys teams from Douglas County and Creekview escaped with wins Monday, but top-ranked Hughes (15-5) lost for the second time in four games. Hughes, which lost to Alexander 70-66 without leading scorer Landers Nolley last week, lost to Class AAAAAAA Grayson 65-64 at the Blue Collar Basketball Showcase at Peachtree Ridge. Nick Edwards scored the winning basket with one second remaining and finished with 24 points. Nolley had 35 points, 14 rebounds, three assists, three steals and two blocked shots, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.
No. 5 Douglas County beat Fayette County 68-65, and No. 9 Creekview beat South Forsyth 58-47.
Here are some of the other big stories in Class AAAAAA this week:
*Playing ’em close: If any team is going to be prepared for a tight game when the postseason rolls around, it would have to be the Richmond Hill boys. The Wildcats have played three region games in 2-AAAAAA, and all of them have been decided in the closing seconds or overtime. Richmond Hill beat Glynn Academy 74-66 in four overtimes in the region opener, then lost to No. 2 Brunswick 58-57 on a last-second shot by Marcus Scott and to No. 7 Bradwell Institute 62-60 in overtime on Friday. Richmond Hill (9-7, 1-2) returns to region action Thursday night at Effingham County and closes the week with a non-region game against Liberty County.
*A difficult weekend: The Harrison girls team has just one game this week (Friday at River Ridge), and that should give the third-ranked Hoyas time to regroup after a weekend in which they survived a slowdown game and then suffered their fourth loss. Harrison (15-4) beat Region 6 challenger Creekview 29-26 in double overtime to retain first place in the region. Harrison did not make its first field goal until the 4:33 mark of the second quarter, according to the Marietta Daily Journal, and the game was tied 21-21 at the end of regulation. The Hoyas took on Class AAAAA No. 1 Buford on Saturday and lost to the Wolves 57-35.
*Peaking at the right time: The Douglas County girls team fell off the radar after starting the season 1-3, but it appears primed for another postseason. The Tigers, who reached the quarterfinals last season, have won 10 of their last 11 games and are 14-5 overall. Douglas County beat Fayette County 64-54 on Monday behind a career-high 41 points from Amari Robinson, an honorable mention all-state selection last season who is averaging 24 points per game. Douglas County is 10-0 in Region 5, two games ahead of second-place South Paulding, which lost to the Tigers 63-46 last week and travels to Douglas County on Jan. 27.
*Top of the standings: With only about three weeks remaining in the regular season, at least four schools have a shot of having their boys and girls teams sweep first place in their regions. The current region leaders among boys teams are Valdosta (Region 1), Brunswick (R2), Heritage-Conyers (R3), Stephenson and Jonesboro (R4), Hughes (R5), Creekview (R6), Cambridge (R7) and Gainesville (R8). The first-place girls teams are Valdosta (R1), Brunswick (R2), Greenbrier and Heritage-Conyers (R3), Lovejoy and Stephenson (R4), Douglas County (R5), Harrison (R6), Northview (R7) and Lanier (R8).