Gwinnett hoops: More than Maya

Gwinnett County girls basketball has a pretty good ambassador in Maya Moore.

With every Connecticut win and every one of her amazing individual feats, the Collins Hill grad attracts more attention to basketball in the county where she honed her skills. Every USA Today cover and every national award will make people nationwide more curious about what the high school basketball is like in Moore's old stomping ground.

What will those folks find when they look into Gwinnett? The best high school basketball in the state of Georgia, hands down.

The talent passing through Gwinnett in recent years has included numerous high-level college players, not to mention a future WNBA first-rounder like Moore and two solid WNBA players in Sherill Baker of Greater Atlanta Christian and Christi Thomas of Buford.

The nation's leading college scorer this year at 26.9 points per game also is a Gwinnett product - Meadowcreek grad Amber Holt.

But the hoops here isn't just about individual stars. The local teams are maybe more impressive.

If the Mill Creek and Duluth girls make Friday's Class AAAAA state finals, they will earn the fifth all-Gwinnett girls state title game the past three seasons. Both the 2007 and 2006 finals in AAAAA and AA were between Gwinnett schools, Collins Hill and South Gwinnett in AAAAA and GAC and Wesleyan in AA.

Wesleyan has a chance to win another state title this weekend in AA girls, a classification the Wolves have ruled.

They have won four state titles in the past six seasons, joining rival GAC's three championships since 2001.

In all, county teams have won 14 girls basketball state titles since 2001. Collins Hill leads the way with five, followed by Wesleyan's four and GAC's three.

Central Gwinnett and Parkview also have won championships in the past seven years.

That doesn't even take into account the state runner-up finishes of late. Both South, GAC and Wesleyan have second-place showings at state the past two seasons, courtesy of another Gwinnett team.

Collins Hill (2004), Meadowcreek (2002), Wesleyan (2001) and Central (2000) also had runner-up finishes in recent state tourneys.

With three girls teams remaining in today's Final Four games, there's an outstanding chance Gwinnett will add to its state-title reputation, one that UConn's star freshman is publicizing.

But when it comes to Gwinnett girls hoops, there's so much more than Maya.

Will Hammock can be reached via e-mail at will.hammock@gwinnettdailypost.com. His column appears on Thursdays.