Wesleyan girls basketball coach Jan Azar doesn't always get the challenge she wants from playing fellow Class A programs, so she builds a tough out-of-region schedule to test her team.
One of those big tests comes Saturday, when the top-ranked Wolves host seven other girls basketball powers in the Battle of the Southeast.
"This event is a great time for all of the girls playing to get some college exposure while playing with their high school teams," Azar said. "The gym will be full of college coaches looking for players who can continue to play at the next level. It is also a great time for basketball fans to come out and enjoy an entire day of great basketball. All of the teams involved are ranked and will only get better after playing one another."
Wesleyan, the two-time defending state champion in Georgia's smallest classification, is fresh off winning the Turkey Shootout at South Forsyth. The Wolves beat North Cobb, AAAAA's No. 9 team, in the finals.
Another AAAAA challenge awaits Saturday in No. 8 Chattahoochee, led by one of the state's top juniors, Erika Ford, a Georgia commitment. Wesleyan, off to its first 3-0 start since 2000-01, counters with a deep lineup led by seniors Erin Hall (Wake Forest) and Logan Morris (Wofford) and top underclass standouts Grace Leah Baughn and Holli Wilkins.
The Wesleyan-Chattahoochee showdown is the last of four games at the showcase event, with a
5 p.m. start. It is preceded by the AAAAA third-ranked Norcross girls against Ramsay (Ala.) at 3:20 p.m., AAAAA No. 4 Campbell vs. Oak Hill (Va.) at 1:40 and No. 5 Mill Creek vs. Columbia (No. 4 in AAA) at noon.
Ramsay is ranked by Hoopgurlz.com in the Southeast region's top 10, as is its opponent, Norcross, which is led by two of the nation's top freshmen, Diamond DeShields and Kaela Davis, along with Tennessee Tech signee Briana Jordan.
Mill Creek and Clemson volleyball signee Moneshia Simmons will face a Columbia team featuring South Florida signee Akila McDonald.