Westover’s Josh Moore dribbles in for a layup in a game earlier this season. The Patriots are back in the No. 1 spot in the Fab 5 Poll heading into this week’s Region 1-AAAA tournament. (Staff Photo: John Millikan)
A little more than two months ago, the Westover Patriots debuted as the No. 1 team in The Herald’s Fab 5 Poll.
Welcome back to the top.
The Patriots slipped out of the top spot immediately back in December with a loss to Worth County, but Westover has peaked at the end of the season and reclaimed its spot atop the poll with a 58-42 drubbing of Worth on Feb. 4 to knock the Rams out of the No. 1 ranking.
Outside of Westover settling back into its starting position, much has changed this season in the polls, which conclude today with the Calhoun County boys moving into the No. 2 spot and the Pelham and Monroe girls teams staying at Nos. 1 and 2.
Rounding out the boys poll is Pelham (20-3) at No. 3, Worth County (20-5) at No. 4 and Seminole County (19-2) at No. 5, while the rest of the girls poll consists of No. 3 Crisp County (15-10), No. 4 Westover (19-5) and No. 5 Randolph-Clay (20-4).
The Westover boys have won five games in a row and went 3-0 last week with a trio of Region 1-AAAA wins to lock up the No. 1 seed in this week’s region tournament.
“We wanted to show everybody that Westover hasn’t (gone) anywhere,” Westover’s CJ Davis said after scoring 11 points last week against Worth County. “We’re still here.”
Right behind the Patriots are the Calhoun County Cougars, who avenged their only loss of the season Saturday with a 64-53 victory against Randolph-Clay to finish the regular season 22-1 and with eight straight victories. The No. 2 ranking is the highest for the Cougars this season as they look to stay hot as the No. 2 seed in this week’s Region 1-A tournament.
Pelham takes Southwest Georgia’s longest boys winning streak into the postseason with its 16 straight victories, while Worth County has won seven of its last eight and Seminole County has won five in a row since a loss to Calhoun County on Jan. 25.
On the girls side, Pelham wasn’t just unbeatable during the regular season. The Lady Hornets were basically unchallenged.
Pelham went 3-0 last week and wrapped up its undefeated regular season with a 67-41 win against Brooks County. The 23-0 Lady Hornets have won 19 of their games by more than 20 points and have an average margin of victory of 37.7 points this season. They entered last year’s Region 1-AA tournament with 12 straight wins, which means the Lady Hornets have won 35 straight regular season games.
It has been a special season in Pelham, one the Lady Hornets hope isn’t anywhere close to over.
The Monroe girls jumped on the back of Herald Super 6er Key Key Price this season and went undefeated in Region 1-AAAA to snag the No. 1 seed in this week’s tournament. The Lady Tornadoes went 3-0 last week — including a thrilling overtime win against Randolph-Clay — and have won 13 straight games. The semifinals and finals for the Region 1-AAAA tournament will be at Monroe, which is a good thing for the Lady Tornadoes, who are a perfect 9-0 at home this season.
The No. 2 seed in the Region 1-AAAA tournament is owned by Crisp County, and don’t be deceived by the Lady Cougars’ 15-10 record — they are one of the hottest and most talented teams around. Crisp beat Westover, 48-41, on Wednesday to clinch the No. 2 seed and is 11-3 in its last 14 games with two of those losses coming in the final seconds.
The Lady Patriots lost out in the battle for the region’s No. 2 seed, but they bounced back with a win vs. Dougherty and will open the region tournament today against either Albany or Cairo — two teams Westover swept in the regular season.
The final spot in the Fab 5 Poll goes to the Randolph-Clay girls, who nearly upset Monroe last week but have still won eight of their last nine games. The Lady Red Devils enter the Region 1-A tournament as the No. 1 seed and will play either Calhoun County or Stewart County tonight.
HERALD FAB 5 POLLS
2) Calhoun County……………..22-1
4) Worth County………………20-5
5) Seminole County …………..19-2
1) Pelham …………………….23-0
2) Monroe ……………………21-4
3) Crisp County ………………15-10
4) Westover …………………..19-5
5) Randolph-Clay …………….20-4
ALBANY HERALD FAB 5 BASKETBALL POLLS
1) Westover (18-5) — The Patriots went 3-0 last week and knocked off former No. 1 Worth County to not only jump back into the No. 1 spot in the poll but also claim the No. 1 seed in this week’s Region 1-AAAA tournament.
Next: Region 1-AAAA semifinals vs. TBD, 8:30 p.m., Thursday
2) Calhoun County (22-1) — The Cougars have been Southwest Georgia’s biggest surprise this season, but at this point it wouldn’t be much a shock to anybody to see them make a deep run in the state playoffs.
Next: Region 1-A quarterfinals vs. Quitman County/Baker County, 7 p.m., Wednesday
3) Pelham (20-3) — The Hornets have won 16 games in a row and are the clear favorites to win the Region 1-AA title on Friday.
Next: Region 1-AA semifinals vs. Fitzgerald/Thomasville, 8:30 p.m., Thursday
4) Worth County (20-5) — The Rams lost to Westover and missed out on the Region 1-AAAA top seed, but they still earned an automatic berth into the state playoffs.
Next: Region 1-AAAA semifinals vs. TBD, 5:30 p.m., Thursday
5) Seminole County (19-2) —The Indians went 4-0 last week, including a win against Region 1-AAAAA No. 1 seed Bainbridge, and will open the Region 1-A tournament as the No. 1 seed.
Next: Region 1-A quarterfinals vs. Miller County/Webster County, 8:30 p.m., Wednesday
1) Pelham (23-0) — The Lady Hornets have won 35 straight regular season games dating back to last year and are outscoring opponents by an average of 37.7 points per game.
Next: Region 1-AA semifinals vs. Fitzgerald/Cook, 7 p.m., Thursday
2) Monroe (21-4) — The Lady Tornadoes have won 13 straight and are 9-0 at home this season entering the Region 1-AAAA tournament, which they host.
Next: Region 1-AAAA semifinals vs. TBD, 7 p.m., Thursday
3) Crisp County (15-10) — The Lady Cougars beat Westover to clinch the No. 2 seed in this week’s Region 1-AAAA tournament and will look for Herald Super 6er Nasheema Oliver and Kayla Green to take them deep in the state tournament.
Next: Region 1-AAAA semifinals vs. TBD, 4 p.m., Thursday
4) Westover (19-5) — The Lady Patriots lost out on the No. 2 seed in the region tournament, but they bounced back with a win against Dougherty in the final game of the regular season.
Next: Region 1-AAAA quarterfinals vs. Albany/Cairo, 7 p.m., today
5) Randolph-Clay (20-4) — The Lady Red Devils nearly beat Monroe for the second time this season, and Randolph-Clay is clearly the top team in Region 1-A and maybe all of Class A.
Next: Region 1-A quarterfinals vs. Calhoun County/Stewart County, 8:30 p.m. today