Here's a look at what transpired in the first round of the Class AAA high school basketball tournament and what to expect (possibly) in Round 2:
Survivors: Just one No. 1 seed lost in the first round, and it happened in the top-right quadrant of the bracket where Central-Macon lost to at-large seed Franklin County 45-43. All other No. 1 seeds – Dawson County, Crisp County, North Murray, Cedar Grove, Windsor Forest, Morgan County and Tattnall County – lived to play another day.
Victims: In the bottom-right quadrant of the bracket, Pace Academy, the Region 5 No. 2 seed, lost to Region 8 No. 3 Hart County 54-50, which could have been viewed as an upset. Westminster, the Region 5 No. 3 seed, sent Jefferson, the Region 8 No. 2 seed, packing, 53-50.
Played like contenders: Region 7 No. 1 Dawson County beat Ringgold, the Region 6 No. 4 seed, 58-27. Johnson-Savannah, the Region 3 No. 3 seed, handled Liberty County, the Region 2 No. 2 seed, 75-55.
Played like pretenders: Tattnall County, the Region 2 No. 1 seed, was taken to the wire in its 77-72 victory against Groves, the Region 3 No. 4 seed. Crisp County, the Region 1 No. 1 seed, got a close victory against Kendrick, the Region 4 No. 4 seed, and will have a test in the second round against Johnson-Savannah.
Best games on deck: The clear-cut best game in the second round has to be Morgan County, the Region 8 No. 1 seed, against Greater Atlanta Christian, the Region 7 No. 2 seed, in the top-left quadrant. In the bottom-right quadrant, Hart County, the Region 8 No. 3 seed, against North Murray, the Region 6 No. 1 seed, is another game worth monitoring.
My quarterfinal projection: Top-left: Tattnall vs. GAC. Bottom-left: Westside-Macon vs. Cedar Grove. Top-right: Beach vs. Dawson County. Bottom-right: Johnson-Savannah vs. Hart County.
Survivors: Two No. 1 seeds lost in the first round. In the top-right quadrant, at-large seed Morgan County defeated Region 4 No. 1 Kendrick 48-35. In the bottom-right quadrant, Region 4 No. 4 Rutland beat Region 1 No. 1 Cook County. The other No. 1 seeds – Tattnall County, Hart County, Beach, Lovett, GAC and Sonoraville – advanced.
Victims: In the top-left quadrant, Region 4 No. 3 Peach County upended Region 1 No. 2 Worth County 57-36. In the bottom-left, Dawson County, the Region 7 No. 3 seed, handed Region 6 No. 2 Coahulla Creek a 71-60 defeat.
Played like contenders: Region 8 No. 1 Hart County had no trouble in its 75-21 victory against Region 5 No. 4 Redan. Region 4 No. 2 Central-Macon fared equally well against Region 1 No. 3 Monroe with a 49-23 victory. Johnson-Savannah, the Region 3 No. 2 seed, dominated Region 2 No. 3 Liberty County 84-28. Beach, the Region 3 No. 1 seed, continued its dominance with a 60-23 victory against Region 2 No. 4 Brantley County. Hart County, the Region 8 No. 1 seed, handed Redan, the Region 5 No. 4 seed, a 75-21 defeat.
Played like pretenders: Truth be told, the teams that won played like they belonged. The closest margins in the first round: North Hall, the Region 7 No. 2 seed, defeated North Murray, the Region 6 No. 3 seed, 45-41. At-large seed Morgan County defeated Kendrick, the Region 4 No. 1 seed, 48-35. Rutland, the Region 4 No. 4 seed, beat Cook County, the Region 1 No. 1 seed, 58-53, and Pace, the Region 5 No. 2 seed, defeated East Jackson, the Region 8 No. 3 seed, 42-37.
Best games on deck: In the top-right quadrant, both games will impress. Johnson-Savannah will face Morgan County, and GAC will face Jefferson. All four programs could be semifinalists if the brackets and seedings were situated differently. But by virtue of region results, brackets and seedings, the conglomerate of talent in the top-right quadrant will force the cream to rise to the top earlier than anticipated.
My quarterfinal projections: Top-left quadrant: Peach County vs. Hart County. Bottom-left quadrant: Beach vs. Dawson County. Top-right quadrant: Johnson-Savannah vs. Jefferson. Bottom-right quadrant: Pierce County vs. Sonoraville.
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