AS WE GET knee-deep into region play, the state polls give us a good indication of who’s who among the large schools.
Irmo continues to roll, nabbing the top spot in the polls at 16-0, paced by Justin McKie and Detrek Browning.
The Jackets are the class favorites, but there are some who might have something to say about Irmo waltzing to the title.
Crosstown and region rival No. 2 Richland Northeast will challenge the Jackets. The Cavs are 13-3 and 2-0 in region play. The last time the two met was last January and the Cavs won that matchup.
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No. 3 Dorman has high hopes of getting to the finals, but the Cavaliers were upset by Byrnes on Tuesday, which will probably drop them in the next rankings.
That said, with the help of sophomore standout J.J. Acregia-Whiteside, the Cavs will be prepared for a playoff run.
Another team to watch for is T.L. Hanna at No. 5. These Yellow Jackets are unbeaten after edging Greenwood Tuesday night, 48-47.
Defending state champion and No. 1 Hartsville continues to run away from opponents at 14-0. Led by senior guard Devontae Washington and senior point guard Jaylen Shaw, the Foxes are a favorite to repeat as champs.
Dreher moved to No. 3 this week, but lost its first game Friday night to Lower Richland. The Blue Devils are an impressive team, led by sophomore Tevin Mack, and will be in the mix when the playoffs begin.
Lake Marion (No. 1) and Newberry (No. 2) have started strong, and No. 3 Keenan looked strong at the Chick-fil-A Classic.
Whale Branch and Allendale-Fairfax lead a strong field. The playoffs are going to be competitive.
Dutch Fork is unbeaten and appears to be the top contender as region play gets under way in 4A.
Lower Richland is No. 2 in 3A, behind Orangeburg-Wilkinson. Coach Debbie Stroman’s team showed its strength in a solid win against Dreher on Friday.