By Doug Gorman
If the Georgia Sports Writer's Association preseason girls' high school basketball poll, released today through the Associated Press is correct, the Jonesboro Lady Cardinals should be one of the favorites to contend for a Class AAAA state title.
The Lady Cardinals, who went 28-3 overall last season and 9-2 in Region 5-AAAA en route to advancing to last year's Elite 8, are ranked ninth.
Led by senior Jasmine Duffey, a 6-7, Division I prospect, the Lady Cardinals try to replace six graduated players from last year's region championship team.
Fellow seniors Kala Smith and LaToya Jackson also bring leadership to Lady Cardinals.
Junior Jawanda Duffey, joins her sister as a returner from last year's team
Jonesboro head coach John Kovzel, who is 120-49 in eight years with the Lady Cardinals, had to replace six seniors from last year's team, including point guard Shade' Smith, but has several player on this year's rosters, who could contribute.
Senior Lonnika Thompson, who moved to Jonesboro this year from New Orleans, is expected to also get plenty of playing time .
Junior Shanicka Reddick and sophomores Chase Morgan, and Bobbi Boyer are expected to contribute.
Joi Holifield, a freshman, begins her high school career with the Lady Cardinals.
The Riverdale Lady Raiders, who are now under the direction of head coach Sean Berry, and Morrow received votes but didn't break into the Class AAAAA poll.
None of the boys teams in Clayton County cracked the top poll, but Riverdale received votes in Class AAAAA and North Clayton picked up votes in Class AAAA.