Class AAAAAA blog: Only four ranked boys teams make it to quarterfinals

The Class AAAAAA girls basketball quarterfinals, to be played Tuesday and Wednesday, will be filled with teams that were included in the top 10 of the rankings released just before the start of the state tournament.

That won’t be the case in the boys’ quarterfinals, where only four of the top 10 made it to the final eight. No. 1 Tri-Cities, No. 2 Alexander, No. 6 Tucker and No. 10 Douglas County will be joined in the quarters by unranked teams Brunswick, Mundy’s Mill, Gainesville and Heritage-Conyers. 

Overall, ranked Class AAAAAA boys teams went just 12-6 in the first two rounds. Three of those losses were inevitable because they came in matchups between ranked opponents. No. 4 Sprayberry lost to No. 8 Chattahoochee 78-62 in the first round; No. 3 South Cobb lost to Alexander 77-71 in the second round; and Chattahoochee lost to Tri-Cities 75-64 in the second round. 

Other ranked teams that were eliminated early include two-time defending champion Hughes, ranked ninth, which lost to Gainesville 73-69 in the first round, No. 5 Coffee (lost to Brunswick 76-74 in the second round) and No. 7 Cambridge (lost to Gainesville 98-88 in the second round). 

Gainesville, the runner-up last season, was the only team to defeat ranked opponents in each of the first two rounds. 

Ranked Class AAAAA girls teams had a much easier time, compiling a 17-2 record in the first two rounds. That’s the best record for the top 10 girls teams in any classification. Only three of the 17 victories were decided by fewer than 11 points. 

The only ranked girls teams that have been eliminated are No. 7 Douglas County, which lost to Dacula 60-55 in the first round, and No. 9 Stephenson, which lost to No. 6 Glynn Academy in the second round. 

Teams remaining in the girls bracket are top-ranked and defending champion Lovejoy, No. 2 Forest Park, No. 3 Northview, No. 4 Lanier, No. 5 Valdosta, No. 6 Glynn Academy, No. 8 Creekview and No. 10 Harrison. 

Here’s a look at the boys and girls matchups for the quarterfinals. The semifinals will be played Saturday at the University of West Georgia. The second-round scores and quarterfinal schedule are listed below: 

Boys 

*Douglas County at Brunswick: Tenth-ranked Douglas County is the only No. 4 seed remaining (boys or girls) and one of three boys teams left from Region 5. That’s the most by any region. Region 2 champ Brunswick is the only south Georgia team remaining. The Pirates (in 2015) are the only team from outside of DeKalb or Fulton to win a title in the second-highest class since 2003 Griffin. 

*Mundy’s Mill at Tri-Cities: Top-ranked Tri-Cities had to beat a regular-season No. 1 seed (Lanier) and No. 8 Chattahoochee to reach the quarterfinals, but the Bulldogs were up to the task, winning those two games by an average of 13.5 points. Mundy’s Mill, the Region 4 runner-up, is in the quarters for the first time after losing in the first or second round in seven previous state tournaments. 

*Gainesville at Tucker: Region 8 runner-up Gainesville eliminated two-time defending state champion Hughes in the first round, then beat No. 7 Cambridge 98-88 in double overtime behind a career-high 42 points from Rafael Rubel. Tucker, the Region 4 champ, also needed two overtimes in the second round, beating Evans 65-63 on a jumper by Braylen Seals with seven seconds remaining. 

*Heritage-Conyers at Alexander: Heritage was just 10-10 in late January but is 6-2 since and earned the No. 3 seed from Region 3 behind Greenbrier and Evans. Alexander is a No. 2 seed but is also ranked No. 2 after losing to Tri-Cities 57-56 in the Region 5 championship game. Malik Battle averages 16.9 points and had 26 in a 77-71 victory over No. 3 South Cobb in the second round. 

Girls 

*Glynn Academy at Lanier: Region 2 champion Glynn Academy is in the quarterfinals for the first time since its 1995 team reached the semifinals. The Red Terrors have lost just one game to a Class AAAAAA opponent, 44-37 against Brunswick on Jan. 25. Region 8 champion Lanier is in the playoffs for just the second time in the program’s brief history. Lanier lost in the second round last year. 

*Forest Park at Creekview: Region 4 runner-up Forest Park has lost four games, three to Lovejoy by a combined 10 points. The Panthers made six consecutive quarterfinal appearances from 2010 to 2015 but haven’t been back since. Creekview won the regular-season title in Region 6 but lost to Harrison in the tournament final. Creekview opened in 2006 and is in the quarters for the first time. 

*Lovejoy at Northview: This game is a rematch of last year’s semifinal, which Lovejoy won easily 70-42 on its way to its first state title. The Wildcats haven’t lost to a Georgia opponent since Dec. 16, 2017. It will also be a showcase for Lovejoy’s star junior guards – Genesis Bryant and Anaya Boyd – and Northview forward Ashlee Austin, a Rice signee and the Region 7 player of the year. 

*Valdosta at Harrison: Harrison, the state runner-up the past two years, was 12-8 in mid-January but comes into the quarterfinals riding a 10-game winning streak. Valdosta is in the quarterfinals for the second consecutive season. The Wildcats survived a scare in the second round, beating Bradwell Institute 67-66 in overtime on a three-point play by Ja’Mya Johnson with 11.9 seconds remaining. 

*Scores, schedule 

Boys 

Second-round scores 

Brunswick 76, Coffee 74 

Douglas County 74, Sequoyah 62 

Mundy’s Mill 65, Bradwell Institute 58 

Tri-Cities 75, Chattahoochee 64 

Tucker 65, Evans 63 

Gainesville 98, Cambridge 88 

Heritage-Conyers 59, Houston County 51 

Alexander 77, South Cobb 71 

Quarterfinal schedule 

(R5 #4) Douglas County at (R2 #1) Brunswick, 7 p.m. Wednesday 

(R4 #2) Mundy’s Mill at (R5 #1) Tri-Cities, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday 

(R8 #2) Gainesville at (R4 #1) Tucker, 6:30 p.m. Wednesday 

(R3 #3) Heritage-Conyers at (R5 #2) Alexander, 7 p.m. Tuesday 

Girls 

Second-round scores 

Glynn Academy 50, Stephenson 35 

Lanier 61, Sequoyah 37 

Forest Park 59, Richmond Hill 7 

Creekview 55, Hughes 47 

Lovejoy 62, Grovetown 26 

Northview 54, New Manchester 43 

Valdosta 67, Bradwell Institute 66 

Harrison 73, Dacula 62 

Quarterfinal schedule 

(R2 #1) Glynn Academy at (R8 #1) Lanier, 6 p.m. Wednesday 

(R4 #2) Forest Park at (R6 #2) Creekview, 6 p.m. Wednesday 

(R4 #1) Lovejoy at (R7 #1) Northview, 7 p.m. Tuesday 

(R1 #1) Valdosta at (R6 #1) Harrison, 6 p.m. Tuesday

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