Class AAAAA blog: Standings, scenarios for final weekend

Miller Grove’s Jahmil Barber (14) and Jamarcus Glover (25) contest for a loose ball with Southwest DeKalb’s Chandler Sanders.
Miller Grove’s Jahmil Barber (14) and Jamarcus Glover (25) contest for a loose ball with Southwest DeKalb’s Chandler Sanders.

This it the time of year that high school basketball coaches dream about.

“It’s the best time,” said Riverwood coach Buck Jenkins. “Basketball is a tournament sport. The regular season is great, but it can be a grind. It’s easy to be motivated and excited for tournaments and a chance to extend your season.’

The regular season comes to an end this weekend and region playoffs begins next week.

Here’s a look at the region leaders and scenarios that will play out this weekend, as the teams begin their march toward the state championship at the Macon Coliseum.

Region 1: Boys – No. 7-ranked Veterans (22-2, 6-1) has clinched the regular season title and finishes the season Friday against Harris County. No. 8 Warner Robins (18-4, 5-2) will finish second. The two teams split during the regular season Girls – No. 3 Veterans (22-2, 7-0) has nailed down first place and takes a 14-game winning streak into the playoffs. Region tournament at Veterans.

Region 2: Boys – No. 10 Statesboro (19-5, 7-0) is easily the class of the region. The Blue Devils take an 18-game winning streak into the final game of the season against South Effingham. Wayne County (12-2, 4-4) and New Hampstead (11-7, 3-4) are in a tussle for second place. Girls --  No. 4 Wayne County (21-1, 7-1) has won eight straight and is tied with Statesboro (19-5, 6-1). The two teams split their two regular-season meetings. Statesboro must beat South Effingham (13-11, 4-3) to secure the first-place tie. Region tournament at Statesboro

Region 3: Boys – Jonesboro (15-7, 8-2) has won five straight and has surged into first place. The Cardinals can nail down the regular-season title this weekend with wins over McIntosh and Starr's Mill. Fayette County (14-9, 9-3) and Whitewater (16-8, 7-4) are in pursuit. Girls – No. 9 Starr's Mill (19-3, 10-0) brings a 17-game winning streak into the final weekend. The Panthers have a showdown against second-place Griffin (17-8, 10-1) on Friday, then play Jonesboro on Saturday. Starr's Mill defeated Griffin in their first meeting.

Region 4: Boys – No. 2 Dutchtown (22-3, 13-1) and No. 3 Eagle's Landing (19-3, 11-1) must both be considered contenders for a state title. They split during the regular season, with both games going into overtime. Eagle's Landing still has games against Woodland and Stockbridge. Jones County (17-8, 8-6), Woodland (11-12, 7-5) and Union Grove (11-11, 6-7) are all solid teams. Even last-place Locust Grove is 13-11. Should be a fun region tournament. Girls – No. 5 Jones County (22-3, 12-2) has won 13 straight, but is likely to finish second in the region to Eagle's Landing (15-8, 11-1). Eagle's Landing will win the regular season if it defeats last-place Stockbridge on Friday. Woodland (16-7, 10-2) and Jones County meet in the final game and the winner will finish no lower than second. Region tournament at Union Grove

Region 5: Boys – No. 1 Lithonia (23-1, 11-0) has been the top dog all year in this very tough league. The Bulldogs will try to run the table Friday against rival Miller Grove (17-8, 9-2), the league's second-place team. Southwest DeKalb (12-12, 7-4), Columbia (13-10, 6-5) and Arabia Mountain (11-12, 4-7) will vie for the final two spots in the state tournament. Girls – No. 8 Southwest DeKalb (18-6, 11-0) has clinched the championship and has won seven in a row. The Panthers will be challenged on Friday by second-place Arabia Mountain (20-3, 9-2); SWD won the previous meeting. Columbia (12-8, 8-3) is another solid team. Region tournament at Arabia Mountain

Region 6: Boys – Riverwood (18-6, 11-2) can clinch first place in the region with a win over Decatur (17-8, 9-4) on Friday. The Raiders have been led by high-energy Nathan Henderson and Jonathan Brown, two of eight seniors on the veteran roster.  Maynard Jackson (15-7, 10-3) can sew up second place by beating Lithia Springs (12-12, 7-6). Girls – Riverwood (18-5, 11-2) and Jackson (16-8, 11-2) are tied for first going into the final weekend. Riverwood finishes with Decatur (10-13, 6-7), while Jackson's last game is against Lithia Springs (16-8, 10-3). Region tournament at Maynard Jackson

Region 7: Boys – No. 5 Kell (20-4, 14-1) has won 10 straight and clinched first place in this deep region. Hiram (18-6, 12-3) is on a six-game roll and finishes at Rome. Carrollton (17-7, 11-4), Cass (14-11, 9-7), Villa Rica (17-7, 8-7) and Paulding County (15-9, 7-8) all have a chance to make noise. Girls – No. 1-ranked Kell (24-0, 15-0) is the only unbeaten team in the state. The Longhorns complete the season Friday against last-place Paulding County. No. 10 Carrollton (15-9, 11-4), Rome (17-7, 10-5) and No. 6 Villa Rica (19-5-10-5) are jostling for the other seeds. Even Hiram (13-11, 8-7) and Cass (17-8, 8-8) have credentials needed to make the state tournament.  Region tournament semifinals and finals at Carrollton; early rounds at school sites.

Region 8: Boys – No. 4 Cedar Shoals (22-2, 8-1) hosts No. 9 Walnut Grove (13-7, 5-4) in the season finale. Defending state champion Buford (18-5, 7-2), the No. 6 team in the state, has won six in a row and closes the season at Clarke Central (13-7, 5-4). Girls – Defending state champion and No. 2-ranked Buford (23-1, 9-0) lost its first game of the season last weekend against Wesleyan, but heads into the playoffs in fine form. Loganville (18-6, 7-2) has emerged as the second-best team. Region tournament at Clarke Central

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