GHSA basketball
Photo: Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com
Photo: Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Class AAA blog: Breaking down the girls' state tourney bracket

We previewed the first round of the boys state high school basketball tournament Tuesday, so now it’s the girls turn. Thirty-two teams will take to the court Friday and Saturday to try to advance. Here's the bracket breakdown:

Top-left quadrant

R4 #3 Peach County at R1 #2 Worth County
R3 #4 Southeast Bulloch at R2 #1 Tattnall County
R6 #3 North Murray at R7 #2 North Hall
R5 #4 Redan at R8 #1 Hart County

Notes: Sixth-ranked Tattnall County, the Region 2 No. 1 seed, and third-ranked Hart County, the Region 8 No. 1 seed, are favorites in the top left of the bracket. Tattnall County is coming off a 58-31 victory against Pierce County in the 2-AAA title game. Hart County earned its No. 1 seed with a 68-64 victory against Jefferson in the 8-AAA title game. But eighth-ranked Peach County and Southeast Bulloch could shake up this quadrant. Peach County features senior Da’Nasia Shaw, a 5-foot-10 point guard, who’s averaging around 24 points per game. Another ranked team, No. 7 North Hall, will need a victory against North Murray in the first round to earn a likely meeting with No. 3 Hart County in Round 2.

Bottom-left quadrant

R1 #3 Monroe at R4 #2 Central-Macon
R2 #4 Brantley County at R3 #1 Beach
R7 #3 Dawson County at R6 #2 Coahulla Creek
R8 #4 Monroe Area at R5 #1 Lovett

Notes: Top-ranked Beach is the favorite to advance to the semifinals from this quadrant. It will face Brantley County, the Region 2 No. 4 seed, in the first round. Jaida Burgess, a 5-3 junior guard, is averaging around 17 points per game to lead Beach. Madison Evans, a 5-7 junior guard, is averaging around 14 points per game. Kaila Rougier, a 5-5 sophomore guard, adds around 13 points per game. Ninth-ranked Dawson County is coming off a 77-61 victory against Cherokee Bluff in the Region 7-AAA tournament, and if it wins in the first round, its likely second-round opponent will be Lovett, the Region 5 No. 1 seed. The Lady Lions captured the No. 1 seed with a 60-45 victory against Cedar Grove in the Region 5 title game. 

-Top-right quadrant

R2 #3 Liberty County at R3 #2 Johnson-Savannah
At Large Morgan County at R4 #1 Kendrick
R5 #3 Cedar Grove at R8 #2 Jefferson
R6 #4 Ringgold at R7 #1 Greater Atlanta Christian

Notes: Fifth-ranked GAC and fourth-ranked Johnson-Savannah are my picks to meet in the quarterfinals. Johnson-Savannah must beat Liberty County, then either Kendrick, the Region 4 No. 1 seed, or Morgan County, the at-large seed, to meet GAC in the quarterfinals. That said, GAC will need a victory against Ringgold in the first round and either second-ranked Jefferson, the Region 8 No. 2 seed, or Cedar Grove, the Region 5 No. 3 seed, to meet Johnson. Speaking of Jefferson, it has only lost three games this season and has enough talent to be a serious contender. Its toughest tests in the bracket could be games against GAC and Johnson-Savannah.

Bottom-Right quadrant

R3 #3 Islands at R2 #3 Pierce County
R4 #4 Rutland at R1 #1 Cook County
R8 #3 East Jackson at R5 #2 Pace Academy
R7 #4 Cherokee Bluff at R6 #1 Sonoraville

Notes: Tenth-ranked Sonoraville represents the only top 10 team in the bottom-right quadrant, and it is the favorite to move through to the quarterfinals. The Phoenix defeated Coahulla Creek 53-49 in the Region 6 title game to earn the No. 1 seed. Sonoraville will face Cherokee Bluff in the first round and likely will advance to face either East Jackson or Pace Academy in Round 2. Pace took Lovett to the final seconds in the Region 5 title game before losing 46-44. Cook County, the Region 1 No. 1 seed, defeated Brooks County 54-27 in its most recent game and will face Rutland, the Region 4 No. 4 seed, in the first round.

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