Sydney Bowles Woodward

Woodward Academy’s Sydney Bowles (31) drives to the basket during a game last season.

Woodward Academy leads the way among local girls’ basketball teams as the top-ranked squad in Class AAAAA in the Score Atlanta pre-season basketball polls.

Woodward (22-1 last year) is aiming for its second consecutive AAAAA state championship after defeating Forest Park 62-59 in the title game last season.

Senior Sydney Bowles, who led the team with 22.2 points and 8.7 rebounds per game, and junior Sara Lewis (17.7 pts. per game), will lead the way for the War Eagles.

Galloway and Holy Innocents’ begin the 2021-22 season ranked high in the state after both teams made it to the Class A Private state semifinals last year, with Galloway ranked second and Holy Innocents’ third.

Galloway (18-7) will try to go one step further in the postseason after advancing to the final four, where it lost to eventual state champion Hebron Christian 66-51.

The Scots are led by four co-captains — seniors Maisie Pike, Kate Seltzer and Rebecca Dorian and junior Kyla Cain.

Holy Innocents (13-7) was also a A Private semifinalist, fall just short of a berth in the state title game with a 58-50 loss to eventual runner-up St. Francis.

Senior Naja Reeves, junior Olivia Hutcherson, sophomores Zaynah Preston and Brooke Sutter and freshman Hailee Swan are among the key players for the Lady Bears.

Westminster (17-3) is another local team with high hopes after being ranked second in the state in AAA as it tries to go farther in the state playoffs after losing to Lumpkin County 58-40 in the second round.

Junior Courtney Ogden, who led the team last year with 21.6 points and 8.6 rebounds a game, and sophomore Stella Chartrand (14.5 pts. a game) are among the key players for the Wildcats.

Wesleyan (12-6) is ranked right behind Galloway and Holy Innocents in the Class A Private rankings at No. 4.

The Wolves will try to make a deeper run in the postseason after falling to St. Francis 56-42 in the A Private second round last season.

Two other local teams have earned preseason state rankings, with St. Pius X (AAAAA) and Marist (AAAA) both ranked sixth in their respective classifications. Both teams lost in the second round of the state playoffs, with St. Pius losing to Hiram 43-40 in AAAAA and Marist falling to Flowery Branch 45-35 in AAAA.

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