The No. 3 Johnson-Savannah boys team has proven its worth.
Since losing to Jenkins (79-41) Dec. 18, the Atomsmashers have reeled off six victories, including a 93-45 victory against Groves on Jan. 12 and a 61-53 victory against Heritage on Jan. 15.
Shamar Jones leads the Atomsmashers in scoring (19.7 points), but the team has four players averaging in double-figures. Georgia commitment Amanze Ngumezi, a 6-foot-7 center, adds 15.8 points, 8.9 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game. The pair of Bowles brothers have come up big for the Atomsmashers -- E’Maury (7.6 points) and Emondre Bowles (10 points) combine for 17.6 points, and their cousins, Eelik (10.8 points) and Elavian (5.8 points) combine for 16.6 points per game.
Here is how the other top boys teams in the state are playing:
-- Top-ranked Morgan County has proven it is the team to beat. The Bulldogs are undefeated through 18 games and 4-0 in region play. In the MLK Classic at Morehouse College, Morgan County survived an overtime thriller against Meadowcreek, 50-44.
-- No. 2 Jenkins (13-3, 6-1) might have dropped a few games early in the season, but since its loss to Hillcrest (Ala.) n the Dwight Madison Christmas Tournament on Dec. 28, the Warriors have won five straight, including a 70-41 thrashing of Southeast Bulloch. More recently, Jenkins took a 63-44 victory against Lakeview Academy in the Blue Collar Basketball MLK Tournament at Peachtree Ridge.
-- No. 4 Westside-Macon has lost its last two games against quality opposition, but the Seminoles remain in the top 5. On Jan. 13 Westside fell to Newton 86-70 on the road and then lost to Holy Spirit Prep 74-64 Jan. 15. Star Khavon Moore, who’s averaging 22.6 points and 8.9 rebounds per game, scored 20 points against a Newton team that is led by 6-4 guard Ashton Hagans (UGA commit).
-- Fifth-ranked Greater Atlanta Christian hasn't lost a game since Dec. 19 to Trinity Christian, 62-57. Since that loss the Spartans have won seven straight, including a 72-41 victory against North Hall and a 70-39 victory against Union County, both on the road.
-- Rarely does a team lose its leading scorer and maintain a steady, dominant, pace. But that’s exactly what the top-ranked Lady Spartans of GAC have done after losing their leading scorer Robyn Benton (17.1 points, Torn ACL), in a tournament in Naples during the holiday break. The Benton-less Lady Spartans moved past North Hall, 67-55, and defeated Union County 61-38. Taylor Sutton, a Middle Tennessee State signee, is averaging 16.5 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game. Caria Reynolds is good for 12 points per game with 8.8 rebounds and 2.3 steals. Mary Martha Turner and Kennedi Williams average just shy of 10 points per game.
-- The defending champion and No. 2-ranked Beach Lady Bulldogs might have a chip on their shoulders at being ranked behind GAC, which it beat in the semifinals last season in Savannah. Since falling to Johnson-Savannah on Dec. 18, the Lady Bulldogs have reeled off five victories, including a 70-31 decision against Windsor Forest and a 44-31 victory against Glynn Academy.
-- Unbeaten Franklin County (19-0, 4-0) is No. 3 behind GAC and Beach, but it won’t take much to push the Lady Lions closer to the top of the rankings. The recent victories over Hart County (64-46) and Dorman, S.C., (58-38) improveds the case that they are one of the top teams in the class.
-- No. 4 Johnson-Savannah (10-3, 6-1) is coming off a 57-30 victory against Savannah. If there were any questions to the quality of the Lady Atomsmashers, the dominant 88-9 victory against Groves provided an answer. Johnson is led by a dynamic senior guard, Sy-Marieona Williams. At 5-3, Williams is averaging 18.4 points and 1.8 steals per game. J’Mya Cutter helps with 12.2 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game.
-- Fifth-ranked Central-Macon lost a close 66-62 game to Baldwin before the New Year, but the Lady Chargers have moved past four teams in convincing fashion -- 68-25 against Pike County; 61-46 against Southwest-Macon; 65-45 vs. Kendrick and 42-22 vs. Peach County. Central, which lost to Beach by one point in last season's quarterfinals, appears poised to make another run.