It appears he was right. The Lady Knights (11-7, 2-0) beat Gilmer and Cedartown easily when they opened subregion play this week.
Prior to that, River Ridge had faced each of the other programs in the county at least once — going 3-3 against the competition from higher classifications. The Lady Knights also played talented teams from Holy Innocents’, Greenbrier, Blessed Trinity and St. Pius X.
Even when the Lady Knights took a few losses, Taylor figured it was just a matter of time before his team would be able to streak its way into the playoffs, much like it did last season. River Ridge had a record much like it does as this point and put together a 13-game winning streak that carried it to the Region 7AAAA title and the quarterfinal round of the Class AAAA state playoffs.
Taylor’s Lady Knights aren’t the only team in the county eyeing a region title.
Sequoyah (15-4, 9-0) and Creekview (14-5, 7-2) not only have the best overall records in their subregion, but in all of Region 7AAAAA.
While Creekview suffered region losses to Osborne, and another against Sequoyah in overtime, only the loss to the Lady Chiefs actually counted in the subregion standings. Creekview and Sequoyah will play again Tuesday — this time on the Lady Chiefs’ court — as they begin their second pass through the subregion.
Just two weeks remain in the regular season before Sequoyah hosts the Region 7AAAAA tournament, beginning Feb. 8.
Region 5AAAAAA, which features Cherokee, Etowah and Woodstock, is a bit cloudier.
Woodstock coach Julie Crowe said earlier in the season that she believed any team in the region could beat any other team on a given night. The teams are that evenly matched, and each seems to have at least once explosive player than can be a difference-maker.
Woodstock (8-8, 3-3) is one of two county teams near the middle of the pack. It’s separated from Etowah (7-9, 4-2) and Wheeler by just one game in the region standings and tied with Lassiter. Leading the region standings is Roswell (10-5, 5-1), which owns a four-game winning streak.
Rounding out the region are Milton and Cherokee (1-16, 1-6).
It’s hard to imagine a team that has undergone a more dramatic change in the course of a season. Last year, Cherokee finished with 29-2, winning 23 straight games leading up to a Class AAAAAA quarterfinal against Norcross.
But a mass exodus from the team, including Cherokee Tribune Player of the Year Aunesha Williams and her sister, Audrisha, both transferring to McEachern, left just one senior on the roster and little varsity experience to be found.
Cherokee won its only game when it hosted Lassiter in early December. They will begin their second run through the region tonight when it hosts Etowah, which will host the upcoming 5AAAAAA tournament.