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Teams of the Year: Greater Atlanta

5/18/2009

Editor's note: ESPN RISE Magazine honors the top teams in each of the magazine's 25 regions. Disagree with our choices? Vote for your favorite athletes here. And check out the honorees from other regions here.

Boys' Team of the Year

WHEELER BASKETBALL
Wheeler was once again the last team standing in Class AAAAA after dropping
Milton, 73-53, in the finals. The win was the fourth title for Wheeler since 2000.
Led by the senior All-State duo of Ari Stewart and Richard Howell, the Wildcats
concluded the season 25-7 and clinched their first title since 2005. Howell, a
North Carolina State recruit, tallied a game-high 21 points in the championship,
while Stewart, a Wake Forest recruit, added 20. Skipper Doug Lipscomb became
the 10th basketball coach in Georgia to win five state crowns.

OTHER FINALISTS

COLLINS HILL WRESTLING
The Eagles are used to being on top at the Class AAAAA meet and this year was
no exception. Led by senior champ Taylor Knapp, who recorded 51 wins, Collins
Hill racked up 12 placers and six state finalists to defend its state title.

MARIST SWIMMING
Winning championships is nothing new for the War Eagles, who captured their
seventh overall title and fourth this decade. Seniors Marty Long and Ross Bundschuh
and junior Jake Stephens powered the War Eagles to victory at state.

TUCKER FOOTBALL
The Tigers embarked on an unforgettable postseason run that culminated in
a 15-3 win over Marist in the Class AAAA title game. Led by senior LB Jonathan
Davis, the defense held the opposition to 11.3 points a game in the playoffs.

Girls' Team of the Year

BUFORD SOFTBALL
Despite squandering a one-run lead late in the title contest, Buford repeated
as Class AA champs in the fall. The Wolves put the game out of reach with a
four-run eighth inning to grab a 5-1 victory over Calhoun in the finals. Sophomore
pitcher Karly Fullem (16-1) hurled a complete game two-hitter with 13
K's in the victory. With the win came several postseason accolades, as nine
Buford players earned All-State honors. Headlining the group was junior 3B/C
Alysha Rudnik, who was also named GACA Class AA Player of the Year.

OTHER FINALISTS

LASSITER SWIMMING
With a bevy of returning All-State swimmers, Lassiter embraced the role as
favorites in Class AAAAA and successfully defended its state title. The Lady
Trojans scored 307 points without winning a single event.

REDAN BASKETBALL
Redan's march to the Class AAAAA crown had a little bit of everything -- solid
team play, a nail-biting victory over Parkview in the semifinals and a dominant
performance in the finals that wrapped up an undefeated season.

WESTMINSTER VOLLEYBALL
Led by senior setter Meg Buker, Westminster earned 40 wins en route to
claiming the Class A/AA championship. The Wildcats finished the season on
a seven-match win streak that ended with a 3-1 win over Lovett in the finals.