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Lady Jackets picked No. 1 in preseason hoops rankings

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NA Championship No. 4 (copy)

The four-time defending state champion North Augusta girls' basketball team is ranked No. 1 in Class AAAA heading into the season.

The champs are still considered the team to beat.

North Augusta's girls' basketball team, winner of four consecutive state titles, is the top-ranked team in Class AAAA in the South Carolina Basketball Coaches Association's preseason rankings, released Friday.

Ranked second to start the season is South Pointe, runner-up to the Lady Jackets in each of the previous two seasons, followed by Westwood, Greenville, Irmo, Myrtle Beach, Dreher, A.C. Flora, Travelers Rest and West Florence.

The Lady Jackets graduated two all-state seniors in Tyliah Burns (Winston-Salem State) and J'Mani Ingram (Winthrop), but return loads of talent and experience – like Francis Marion signee Kiana Lee and star sophomore P'eris Smith.

It's their time to lead a North Augusta program with a 109-5 record during the four-year title run, 19 consecutive playoff wins and 45 straight wins in region games.

Aiken High's boys are looking for a championship of their own, and they'll start the season ranked second in Class AAAA. East Carolina signee RJ Felton was recognized as one of the state's Elite Boys, and he'll lead a deep, hungry group of Hornets.

They're not the defending Region 5-AAAA champions, though – that title belongs to North Augusta, the back-to-back league champions who are led by top-five senior Colin Rodrigues.

A.C. Flora is the preseason No. 1, followed by Aiken, Irmo, Hartsville, James Island, Myrtle Beach, North Augusta, Darlington, Travelers Rest and Greenville.

No other teams in the Aiken Standard coverage area are ranked, but two individuals were recognized as top-five seniors in Class A: Ridge Spring-Monetta's Jaliyah Bussey and Wagener-Salley's AJ Swedenburg.

Four-time defending state champion Dorman is No. 1 in the Class AAAAA boys' rankings, and Clover is No. 1 on the girls' side.

Keenan swept the Class AAA state championships in the spring, and the Raiders' boys' and girls' teams will start the season ranked No. 1.

Three-time defending champion Gray Collegiate is No. 1 in the Class AA boys' poll, and Christ Church is the girls' No. 1.

Great Falls' boys', who last year won their 11th state title in program history, are No. 1 in Class A. Military Magnet is No. 1 on the girls' side.

The first contest date for South Carolina High School League schools is Nov. 30. The playoffs are scheduled to begin Feb. 15 for the girls, with the boys starting the next day.

SCBCA Preseason Rankings

Elite Boys

John Butler, Christ Church; Jazian Gortman, Keenan; Cesare Edwards, Hartsville; RJ Felton, Aiken; Robert McCray, A.C. Flora; Julian Phillips, Blythewood; Jalen Breazeale, Dorman; DaVeon Thomas, Ridge View

Elite Girls

Milaysia Fulwiley, Keenan; Talaysia Cooper, East Clarendon; Aylesha Wade, Clover; Laila Acox, Ridge View; Jada Jones, Rock Hill; Mallory Bruce, Travelers Rest; Anala Nelson, Lower Richland; Joyce Edwards, Camden

*Seniors who are an “Elite” player will NOT also be a Top 5 senior in their classification.

Class AAAAA Boys

1. Dorman

2. Ridge View

3. Mauldin

4. Blythewood

5. Dutch Fork

6. Spartanburg

7. Goose Creek

8. Carolina Forest

9. River Bluff

10. Byrnes

Top 5 Seniors: Tyler Rice, Ridge View; Myles Jenkins, River Bluff; Jameson Tucker, Mauldin; James Lovorn, T.L. Hanna; Earl Burgess, Dorman

Class AAAAA Girls

1. Clover

2. Sumter

3. T.L. Hanna

4. Summerville

5. Ridge View

6. Rock Hill

7. J.L. Mann

8. Lexington

9. Nation Ford

10. Wando

Top 5 Seniors: Janiyah Hagood, J.L. Mann; Jalani Adams, Mauldin; Layken Cox, Sumter; Janae Whaley, RB Stall; Vanessa

Blake, Ashley Ridge

Class AAAA Boys

1. A.C. Flora

2. Aiken

3. Irmo

4. Hartsville

5. James Island

6. Myrtle Beach

7. North Augusta

8. Darlington

9. Travelers Rest

10. Greenville

Top 5 Seniors: Bailey Wiseman, James Island; Cohen Gaskins, James Island; Ayden Hickman, Myrtle Beach; Travis

Cooper, West Florence; Colin Rodrigues, North Augusta

Class AAAA Girls

1. North Augusta

2. South Pointe

3. Westwood

4. Greenville

5. Irmo

6. Myrtle Beach

7. Dreher

8. A.C. Flora

9. Travelers Rest

10. West Florence

Top 5 Seniors: Amber Burton, Dreher; Trinity Franklin, Greenville; Tabby Littlefield, Greer; Trinity Adams, South Pointe; Malayziah Etheredge, Westwood

Class AAA Boys

1. Keenan

2. Oceanside Collegiate

3. Seneca

4. Bishop England

5. Lower Richland

6. Georgetown

7. Southside

8. Marlboro County

9. Brookland-Cayce

10. Emerald

Top 5 Seniors: Daniel Brooks, Bishop England; Adam Comer, Broome; Banks Atkins, Chapman; Aubrey Richardson, Brookland-Cayce; DreVeon Scott, Marlboro County

Class AAA Girls

1. Keenan

2. Clinton

3. Southside

4. Lower Richland

5. Daniel

6. Bishop England

7. Wren

8. Marlboro County

9. Camden

10. Pendleton

Top 5 Seniors: De’Shanti Watts, Clinton; Sincere Hicks, Daniel; Jordan Thompson, Southside; Jamaria Sampson, Fairfield Central; Jaiha Williams, Bishop England

Class AA Boys

1. Gray Collegiate

2. Andrew Jackson

3. Christ Church

4. Greer Middle College

5. Burke

6. Wade Hampton

7. York Prep

8. Marion

9. Lee Central

10. Cheraw

Top 5 Seniors: Chase McDuffie, Gray Collegiate; Trevon Miles, Latta; Marshall Myers, Cheraw; TJ Sanders, Marion; Isaac

Hawkins, Legion Collegiate

Class AA Girls

1. Christ Church

2. Marion

3. Saluda

4. North Charleston

5. Woodland

6. Phillip Simmons

7. Latta

8. Mullins

9. Andrew Jackson

10. Blacksburg

Top 5 Seniors: Mikala Logan, Blacksburg; Kalisha Hill, Saluda; Tonaja Lester, Marion; Jen'Lea Nichols, Mullins; Moya

McDuffie, Latta

Class A Boys

1. Great Falls

2. Scott’s Branch

3. Southside Christain

4. C.E. Murray

5. Military Magnet

6. Calhoun County

7. Allendale-Fairfax

8. High Point Academy

9. Denmark-Olar

10. McCormick

Top 5 Seniors: Literyian Tyler, North; Ian Thomson, Southside Christian; Quiz Thomas, Johnsonville; Shawn Jones, Allendale- Fairfax; AJ Swedenburg, Wagener-Salley

Class A Girls

1. Military Magnet

2. High Point Academy

3. East Clarendon

4. Estill

5. Whale Branch

6. Lake View

7. Denmark-Olar

8. Cross

9. Scott's Branch

10. Blackville-Hilda

Top 5 Seniors: Rishonna Washington, Blackville-Hilda; Jaliyah Bussey, Ridge Spring-Monetta; Zhani Thompson, Whale Branch; Hannah Fuller, Southside Christian; Cambria Parker, Scotts Branch

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