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Five To Watch: Here's the best girls players to follow this season in Hall County
Basketball2022
East Hall's Maleah Harrison (2) drives to the basket while guarded by Flowery Branch's Bella Brick (10) on Jan. 21, 2022 in Flowery Branch. Photo by Bill Murphy

A number of underclassmen girls high school basketball players in Hall County took big steps forward in their respective games last season.

As the 2022-23 campaign gets underway, a number of those players are back and are working to take their games, and their teams, to an even higher level still.

Here is a look at five of the most intriguing players at local schools to watch closely as this season progresses.

1. Riley Black, Guard, Chestatee: Perhaps no player in the county had a bigger jump in her game in 2021-22 than the 5-foot-9 junior, who was named as Class 4A’s Most Improved Player by Sandysspiel.com after seeing her average catapult to 20 points, 10 rebounds, and 4 assists per game as a sophomore.

That jump also earned her second-team All-State honors by Sandysspiel.com, as well as first-team All-Region 8-4A by the region’s coaches.

Now a junior, Black is already raising eyebrows as a third-team preseason All-State selection in Class 4A and being named to the preseason Class 4A All-Junior team by prepgirlshoops.com/georgia.

2. Bella Brick, G, Flowery Branch: At 5-10, the senior has enough size to crash the boards, something she did effectively as junior last year by averaging 7 rebounds per game.

She has also shown she can play effective defense, as her 2.6 steals per game last year attest.

But Brick’s trademark is definitely her shooting touch, which is the antithesis of her last name, and which she put to good use not only during the season, but also in winning the 2022 GHSA Individual Girls 3-point shooting championship, as well as the GHSA’s Co-ed 3-point shooting champ.

In addition to her accolades on the basketball court, including being named honorable mention All-Region 8-4A and a spot on the GBCA/GACA All-Star team, Brick is also an accomplished cross-country runner, including winning the 2022 Hall County individual girls title and placing sixth at the Class 5A state meet.

3. Taliah Gaither, Lakeview Academy: After bursting onto the scene in Hall County as earning honorable mention All-Region 7-3A as a freshman at Cherokee Bluff last year, the 6-2 sophomore is back this year to build on her success.

However, she’ll be doing so at a different school after transferring to Lakeview Academy, and with the Lions moving from the Georgia High School Association to the Georgia Independent Schools Athletic Association, Gaither could thrive further this season.

4. Keke Jones, G, Gainesville: Though the Red Elephants has a rough 2021-22 campaign, the 5-4 senior had a solid all-around season on both ends of the court, averaging 12 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists and 5 steals per game.

Combined with fellow senior Keidra Young, who put up similar numbers in the front court last season, Jones could be a good fit in new coach Vanessa White’s up-tempo approach, and a big key to Gainesville having a bounce back season and looking to be a factor in the newly-revamped Region 8-6A.

5. Kristina Peach, G, North Hall: While Brick is certainly one of Hall County’s most accurate sharpshooters, she has competition for the top spot from this 5-5 senior, who shot an astounding 47 percent from behind the arc as a junior last season.

Peach also lives up to her last name with a well-rounded game by giving the Trojans proven scoring after averaging 13 points per game and attacking the glass for 4 rebounds per game as a junior last season, which earned her first-team All-Region 7-3A honors.

Read about the five to watch in boys basketball.

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