Basketball notes: Spartan boys start season on tear

Mike Mitchell was used to winning with the Greater Atlanta Christian girls basketball and nothing has changed now that he is the Spartans' boys coach.

GAC is 7-0 and hasn't been challenged yet. The Spartans have won by an average of 28 points.

Although GAC's competition hasn't been the toughest, coaches around the state have certainly noted the success. The Spartans moved up to No. 4 in Class AA in the GaSports.com coaches poll last week.

Meanwhile, the girls have hardly taken a step back without Mitchell. They are 6-1 and were ranked No. 2 behind rival Wesleyan last week in the same poll.

Mitchell won three state titles in his seven years as girls coach, going 177-45. Switching to boys has hardly been difficult, however.

The Spartans missed the state tournament for the second straight year last season under veteran coach Ron Bradley, but four starters returned from the 15-win team.

The biggest challenge was replacing leading scorer and rebounder Taylor Wood, who signed a baseball scholarship with Georgia Tech. Trent Wiedeman, a 6-foot-6 sophomore, has stepped in to give GAC an inside presence.

The Spartans also got a boost when senior Ryan Ransom, a key reserve last year, joined the team after the end of football season.

The returning starters are seniors Brett Johnson and Chase Hudson, junior Taylor Metzger and sophomore Jake Mitchell, the coach's son.

The GAC girls didn't have any returning starters from last season's state championship team, but remain a top contender in Class AA.

Chan Means took over for Mitchell and the Spartans' only loss was to Class AAAAA contender McEachern in the championship game of the Dacula Shootout. Like the boys, they are 3-0 in 6-AA North.

The GAC boys and girls play at Holy Innocents' on Friday, then have a nonregion meeting with Madison County on Dec. 21 before playing in the Deep South Classic on Dec. 26-29.

Peachtree Ridge minus Bryant

Peachtree Ridge, which plays at Collins Hill tonight, lost one of its more experienced players when football standout Derrick Bryant left the team to concentrate on academics in preparation for signing with LSU for football.

Bryen Pyles and Bryant were the only returnees who saw much action last season when the Lions went 27-4 and beat Class AAAAA state champion Norcross in the Region 7 tournament.

Peachtree Ridge is 5-3 overall and 2-1 in the region this season, while Collins Hill is 5-2 and 3-1. The region loss for both teams was against No. 1 ranked Norcross.

Williams saves Mustangs

Meadowcreek, once down by 11 points, appeared to be headed for a loss against Class A power Whitefield Academy until Oregon signee Teondre Williams returned from a bloody blow to the face for the fourth quarter Saturday.

Wearing a clean jersey with a different number, Williams scored 10 of his 23 points in the final quarter as the Mustangs (3-2) pulled away in the final minute for a 67-58 victory.

Despite the loss of Chris Allen, now at Michigan State, from last season's 26-3 team, Meadowcreek is ranked in the Class AAAAA Top 10 again. But the Mustangs haven't gotten the expected boost from Tyler McDaniels, a 6-foot-8 transfer from North Carolina. The Tennessee Tech signee scored just four points against Whitefield Academy after going scoreless in a loss at Beach.

Girls showdown on Friday

The Mill Creek girls, 8-0 and ranked No. 3 in the state, host Duluth on Friday in a Region 7-AAAAA showdown. Duluth has won six straight since an opening loss to Greater Atlanta Christian in the Dacula Shootout.

Mill Creek, which beat Wesleyan to win the Parkview Tip-Off Tournament, is 4-0 in the region, while Duluth is 3-0 going into tonight's home game with North Forysth.

The game against Duluth is Mill Creek's last before playing in the Big Orange Classic in Hoover, Ala. The Hawks' first game will be Dec. 20 against Homewood, Ala.

Parkview-Dacula at Philips Arena

The Parkview and Dacula boys, who play Saturday at Philips Arena, are both unbeaten going into tonight. Class AAAAA Parkview (5-0) hosts Mt. Zion in a nonregion game, while Dacula (7-0) is at home against Madison County in an 8-AAAA contest.

Saturday's boys game will begin at approximately 2:30 p.m. after the girls play at 1 p.m.

The Atlanta Hawks face the Charlotte Bobcats at 7 p.m.

In addition to Parkview-Dacula, there are two other interesting boys matchups on Saturday. Berkmar is hosting defending Class AAAA state champion Tucker and M.L. King will be at Meadowcreek. Both Meadowcreek and M.L. King are ranked in the AAAAA Top 10.

Wesleyan to face Lovett

With Lovett playing for the Class AA football title against Buford, the Lions won't have all their players when they host Wesleyan in a 6-AA boys showdown on Friday.

Wesleyan began the season ranked No. 1, while Lovett - the defending region tournament champion - was also in the Top 10.

The Wolves lost 54-51 to Miller Grove, ranked No. 3 in Class AAAA, on Saturday to fall to 4-2.

Norcross waiting for test

The unbeaten Norcross boys, ranked No. 1 as they go for a third straight state title, host South Forsyth tonight. South Forysth is 7-1, but Norcross' first major test may not come until the Amare Stoudemire Invitational Classic.

The 16-team national tournament begins Dec. 19 outside Orlando and includes top teams from California, Pennsylvania, Mississippi and Alabama in addition to Florida and Georgia.

The Blue Devils' first game is against Westlake Preparatory of Davie, Fla.