Pace Academy and Columbia

Pace Academy’s Josh Reed (30) and Matthew Aronson (0) defend against Columbia in the Class AA state boys basketball championship game last season.

Defending Class AA state boys basketball champion Pace Academy begins the 2021-22 season in the same position it ended the 20-21 campaign — No. 1 in the state.

The Knights are the top-ranked team in AA in Score Atlanta’s early-season state boys basketball rankings. Pace maintains its lofty standing going into the new season after winning the AA title with a 73-42 victory over Columbia — its second state crown in a row and third in five years.

The Knights are off to a strong start with wins in their first two games of the 21-22 campaign — defeating Therrell 70-27 in their season-opener Nov. 16 and then beating Class AAAAAAA powerhouse McEachern 63-55 Nov. 20.

Senior forward Josh Reed, who has committed to Cincinnati for college basketball, returns to lead the way for Pace.

St. Pius X and Galloway are also ranked among the top teams in the state with No. 3 rankings in AAAAA and A Private respectively. The Golden Lions are coming off of a AAAAA quarterfinal appearance last season, while the Scots made it to the second round of the A Private playoffs.

St. Pius lost nine seniors from last season’s elite eight team, but return senior Eamonn Kenah – a All-Region 5AAAAA selection in 20-21.

Galloway is off to a fast start with wins in four of its first five games, its lone loss coming to Class AAAAAA team Shiloh. Senior guard Anthony Arrington, the team’s leading scorer through its first five games with 26.2 points per game, has led the way so far for the Scots.

Last season’s Class A Private runner-up Holy Innocents’ is the only other ranked local team with a No. 9 ranking in its classification. The Golden Bears will try to make a return trip to the state finals after losing a close 43-41 decision to Mount Pisgah in last season’s A Private championship game.

Senior Walker Wolf and junior Harrison Verlander are among the key players for Holy Innocents.


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