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FAB 5 POLL: Worth County boys hold on to No. 1 spot in Fab 5 Poll

The Randolph-Clay girls rise to No. 1 in the girls’ Fab 5 Poll

The Worth County Rams are waking up on Christmas as The Herald’s No. 1 team for the second week in a row, but they will need to keep their winning streak alive if they plan on staying on top as the calendar flips to 2014.

Worth County is 8-1 and on an eight-game winning streak heading into this weekend’s Portal Holiday Classic, but a handful of other teams around Southwest Georgia are also surging and are on the heels of the Rams and their No. 1 ranking.

No. 2 Westover (9-2) is riding a five-game winning streak and is coming off three impressive wins in the U-Save-It Classic; No. 3 Seminole County (6-1) would be undefeated if not for a road loss against Lee County; and No. 4 Calhoun County (9-0) is the lone undefeated boys team remaining in Southwest Georgia.

For now, however, Worth County is at the top of the list after a start that has been years in the making.

“The kids see their hard work is paying off,” Worth County coach Arthur Davis said. “This isn’t a one-year thing. It has taken us four years to get where we want to be. … I know football is always going to be No. 1 here, but I want us to be respected. I want people to know Worth County can play a little basketball and we can put a quality product on the floor.”

On the girls’ side, Randolph-Clay moves up a spot to No. 1 in the rankings after previous No. 1 Monroe went 0-2 over the weekend in the Washington County Christmas Tournament, dropping the 8-2 Lady Tornadoes all the way to No. 4.

Since a three-point win against Mitchell County on opening night, the Lady Red Devils (5-0) haven’t been challenged as they look to build on last year’s Class A state runner-up finish.

While Randolph-Clay might be the favorite in all of Class A, the Lady Hornets of Pelham are making an early case as state-title contenders in Class AA. Pelham (5-0) moves from No. 4 to No. 2 in the Fab 5 Poll after going 3-0 last week with wins against Cairo, Baker County and Seminole County.

Herald Super 6er Briunna Freeman and the Lady Hornets have been lighting up the scoreboard so far this season and will be ready to take over the top spot in the Fab 5 Poll if Randolph-Clay stumbles.

Equally hot on the girls side is No. 3 Dougherty (8-1), which has won eight straight games since losing to Monroe in its season opener, while Monroe (8-2) and Westover (8-3) round out the rest of the girls’ poll

The Westover boys climb up a spot to No. 2 after previous No. 2 Seminole County slipped up against Lee County, and the Patriots (9-2) are eyeing a Jan. 7 matchup against Worth County to not only reclaim the No. 1 position in the Fab 5 Poll but to move to the front of the Region 1-AAAA standings.

No. 3 Seminole County (6-1) had its perfect start ended in a 72-70 loss to Lee County on Dec. 17, but the Indians are still unbeaten in Region 1-A as they enter the new year.

No. 4 Calhoun County (9-0) is the only new face in either the boys or girls Fab 5 Polls, and the Cougars — who dropped a 4-5 Crisp County team out of the poll — are off to their best start in years.

The Cougars have had a relatively easy schedule so far this season and will be tested in the coming weeks, starting with a Jan. 4 matchup at Dougherty High.

The Randolph-Clay (5-2) boys drop a spot to No. 5 but were able to beat out Albany High for the final spot in the poll after edging the Indians on Monday in a U-Save-It Classic game where they fought back from a 15-point deficit in the fourth quarter and stole a victory with a game-winning 3-pointer from Marquin Jones.

Herald Fab 5 Basketball Polls

BOYS:

1) Worth County………………..8-1

2) Westover…………………..9-2

3) Seminole County…………….6-1

4) Calhoun County……………..9-0

5) Randolph-Clay……………….5-2

GIRLS:

1) Randolph-Clay……………….5-0

2) Pelham……………….……..5-0

3) Dougherty………………….8-1

4) Monroe………………………….8-2

5) Westover…………….……..8-3

Albany Herald Fab 5 High School Basketball Poll

BOYS

1) Worth County (8-1) – The Rams have been off since routing Baker County on Dec. 14, but they are still on an eight-game winning streak and at the top of the Region 1-AAAA standings.

Next: at Portal (Portal Holiday Classic), 8:30 p.m. Friday

2) Westover (9-2) – The Patriots were a perfect 3-0 in the U-Save-It Classic with wins against three quality teams, including Herald No. 5 Randolph-Clay.

Next: at Terrell County, 7:30 p.m., Jan. 4

3) Seminole County (6-1) – The Indians lost their first game of the season Dec. 17 to Lee County but bounced back with a win against a Pelham team that is the favorite in Region 1-AA.

Next: at Bainbridge, 7:30 p.m., Jan. 3

4) Calhoun County (9-0) – The Cougars are in the Fab 5 Poll for the first time this season after surging to a perfect 9-0 start, but they might be tested Jan. 4 against an athletic Dougherty squad.

Next: at Dougherty, 7:30 p.m., Jan. 4

5) Randolph-Clay (5-2) – The Red Devils rebounded from Saturday’s loss to Westover with a thrilling win against Albany High, which would have taken Randolph-Clay’s spot in the Fab 5 Poll if Red Devil senior Marquin Jones hadn’t hit a game-winning 3-pointer with 4.5 seconds left on Monday.

Next: vs. Long County (Thomasville Christmas Tournament), TBA, Thursday

GIRLS

1) Randolph-Clay (5-0) – The Lady Red Devils take over as the No. 1 team for the first time this season and will be the favorites throughout this week’s Thomasville Christmas Tournament.

Next: vs. Twiggs County (Thomasville Christmas Tournament), TBA, Thursday

2) Pelham (5-0) – The Lady Hornets haven’t been tested yet this season and were a perfect 3-0 last week with wins against Cairo, Baker County and Seminole County.

Next: at Wilcox County, 6 p.m., Friday

3) Dougherty (8-1) – The Lady Trojans have won eight straight since losing to Monroe in their season opener and are the hottest team in Region 1-AAAA heading into Christmas.

Next: at Loachapoka, Ala., 2 p.m., Thursday

4) Monroe (8-2) – After starting the season with eight straight wins, the Lady Tornadoes went 0-2 in the Washington County Christmas Tournament over the weekend with losses to Rockdale and Washington County.

Next: at Brunswick, 7 p.m., Thursday

5) Westover (8-3) – The Lady Patriots have lost three of their last four games and are hanging on to the last spot in the Fab 5 Poll.

Next: at Terrell County, 6 p.m., Jan. 4