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Monday, March 7, 2011 - 6:11pm

Dynasties Dot Landscape of High School Hoops in Georgia

Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a dynasty as “a succession of rulers of the same line of descent.” From that definition, you can see why the world of sports has adopted the word “dynasty” to describe its most dominant teams.
In the history of Georgia high school hoops, there have been a few programs that have had such success. Three of them are either in the middle of their “reigns” or are recently removed from it.
Wheeler, for example, has won four state titles in Class 5A since 2002. The Wildcats are currently gunning for their sixth state title under head coach Doug Lipscomb, who won his first in 1994. Lipscomb has had several former players earn scholarships to college for their hoops skills, and has also sent a few all the way to the NBA. Some of his former Wildcats include: Shareef Abdur-Rahim, D.A. Layne, Jermareo Davidson, J.J. Hickson, DeQuan Jones and J.T. Tiller.
Norcross, ironically, has seen their rise to power come virtually during the same period as Wheeler’s. The Blue Devils won their first state title in 2006 and subsequently won the next two. Wheeler ended the run by eliminating Norcross in the 2009 playoffs after the Devils had defeated the Wildcats in the 2008 state finals and in the first round of the 2007 playoffs. The Wildcats also defeated Jessie McMillan’s squad in the 2005 finals, Norcross’ only loss that season. Some former Blue Devils to have had success at the next level were Jodie Meeks, Gani Lawal and Al-Farouq Aminu.
With these two heavyweights duking it out in Class 5A for much of the past decade, Miller Grove has staked its claim in Class 4A. The Wolverines have won the past two state titles under head coach Sharman White’s leadership and look to make it three in 2011. “The Grove” dominated previously unbeaten – and some people’s top-ranked team – Sequoyah in the second round by a not-so-close score of 72-53. Three more wins and Miller Grove will put itself in position to be the next great Georgia hoops dynasty.
One great dynasty of the late 20th century was Mitchell-Baker. Led by such talents as eventual Georgia star Jumaine Jones, the Eagles won state titles in 1990-1991 and from 1998-2000.
Other impressive boys dynasties were Westover with four consecutive Class 4A state titles from 1990-1993 and Woodbury from 1981-1985. Woodbury’s five straight titles is the most consecutive in the modern era for a boys team.

In girls hoops, dynasties have been a regular occurrence in Georgia. The most recent dynasty is still active, as the Wesleyan Lady Wolves have won seven state titles in the past nine years. Head coach Jan Azar’s program captured state titles in 2002, 2004-2006, 2008-2010. The first title the and last two titles came in Class A while the middle four came in Class AA. Despite their past success, this year’s bunch may be the best of all, as they are included in several national rankings.
Also impressive was Collins Hill’s run of five Class 5A titles between 2001 and 2007. Current Connecticut star Maya Moore helped key three straight titles from 2005-2007, including a national title in 2007. The Lady Eagles’ run came to an end the year Moore graduated, as they have not won a state playoff game since.
The Hart County girls may be the most impressive dynasty of all, as the Lady Bulldogs won six Class 4A state titles in a row from 1989-1994. That run set the record for most consecutive state championships in the modern era of Georgia high school basketball.
Southwest DeKalb won three titles in a row in Class 4A from 2008-2010, but were upset by Carver (Atlanta) in the region tournament and saw the streak end.
Also impressive, were runs by Lowndes from 1977-1980 (four straight titles) and Cherokee from 1967-1976 (five titles in that span).

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