The second-seeded Knights are last year’s 2A champions, beating region 6 rivals Columbia in the championship. The year before, they had won 3A. They’ll be looking for a triple round in their final year in 2A before moving up to 4A, and it will be a challenge now that 5-star winger Matthew Cleveland is at Florida State. The Knights have senior wing Josh Reed back, and runner-up Kyle Greene replaces graduated Maddison Durr.
Westside (7-1, 1-1 Region 4)
The No.3 Patriots reached the second round last year and have the lineup to go further this season. They are led by great juniors Khalon Hudson (20.8 points, 12.2 rebounds, 1.2 blocks) and Jalexs Ewing (18.3 points, 11.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.5 steals) . They also get 14.8 points from junior Amauri Tillman. None of their top five in minutes played is a senior.
Thomasville (7-2, 0-0 Region 1)
The Bulldogs, ranked No.4, reached the semifinals last year, where they lost to Pace Academy. Their two losses are against the same team, unranked Bainbridge 4A, 55-54 in their first game of the season and 59-50 on December 8. All of their wins, which include three Florida teams, have been over 20 points.
Butler (5-5, 2-0 Region 4)
The No.5 Bulldogs reached the quarterfinals last year, where they lost to Pace Academy. It’s a senior squad with their top three scorers Kedar Bodie (14.3 points), Kendrell Glanton (11.2) and Elijah Martinez (8.0) all set to graduate. Senior Chance Finklin leads the team in rebounds (6.8) and blocks (3.5). All of their losses were suffered by ranked teams including Columbia No.1 59-55 on December 4 and Washington County No.6 61-59 on December 22.
For the top 10, go here.
SF Josh Reed, Pace Academy
Senior, 6 feet 7 inches and 210 pounds
A 3-star consensus, Reed is one of two ghosts on last year’s AJC All-State squad. He is the only player ranked in the Rivals 150 for the class of 2022, arriving at No. 122. He signed with Cincinnati, picking the Bearcats out of his 20 and more other offerings that include Butler, Clemson, Georgia, Georgia Tech and Florida. State. In nine games, Reed is averaging 23.2 points, nine rebounds, 3.2 assists and two steals.
FC Mason Lockhart, Colombia
Senior 6ft 6in and 225lb
Lockhart is the other returning All-State player from last year. Last year for the Eagles, he averaged 13.4 points, 10.4 rebounds and two blocks as a junior. He has a reported offer from Mercer.
FC Khalon Hudson, Westside
6 foot 4 inch junior
Hudson is averaging 20.8 points, 12.2 and 1.2 rebound blocks for the Patriots. He has been described as a great all-rounder who can fill different positions.
PG Kyle Green, Pace Academy
Six-foot-two, 170-pound second year
Only a sophomore, Green leads 2A in assists with 6.2 per game, also totaling 10 points and 1.3 steals. Rivals rank him as 4 stars and he’s No. 35 overall in their class of 2024. He holds six Power 5 offerings, including Clemson, Georgia Tech, LSU and Ole Miss.
W Connor McKay, Rabun County
6’5 ”, 195-pound senior
A second selection for the All-State team last year, McKay is averaging 23.5 points, 9.2 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.9 steals and 1.5 blocks. He signed with Lander in early December.
Other notable players: Christian Anderson (sophomore, Lovett), Eren Banks (junior, Putnam County), James Nipper (senior, Laney), Jalexs Ewing (junior, Westside)