Class AAAAAAA blog: Region-by-region look as playoffs near

This is the final week of the regular season of high school basketball. Region tournaments are next week. Here’s a look at where each region is heading down the stretch.

Region 1

Girls: No. 8 Tift County (17-5, 4-1) and No. 7 Colquitt County (18-4, 4-1) are tied for first place and likely will remain that way entering the tournament. They split their regular-season games, so the next tiebreaker is points allowed between the two, and Tift is ahead there. That’s significant because the No. 1 seed in this region gets a bye to the region final. Colquitt is the defending champion and the host school in the  tournament.

Boys: Camden County (17-5, 4-1) will get the No. 1 seed if the Wildcats beat Tift County (7-14, 2-3) on Friday. That’s big news for Camden, a school that hasn’t won a state-playoff game in boys basketball since 1975. No boys team in Region 1 is ranked.

Region 2

Girls: This is the deepest girls region in the highest class with three ranked teams – No. 1 Westlake (21-2, 8-0), No. 5 Campbell (18-5, 6-2) and No. 9 Pebblebrook (18-6, 5-3). Westlake, the defending state champion, has lost only to out-of-state opponents and stands No. 24 nationally in the Xcellent 25. They play Pebblebrook tonight at Campbell on Friday. They beat both by more than 25 points in their first meetings.

Boys: No. 6 Wheeler (16-6, 7-1) plays No. 9 East Coweta (16-7, 6-2) tonight and Pebblebrook (11-12, 4-4) on Friday. All have been ranked most of the season. Westlake (7-16, 3-5) won the tournament last year but is having its toughest season in years.

Region 3

Girls: It’s surprising that this traditionally strong region doesn’t have a ranked team, but the region didn’t put a team in the quarterfinals last year, either. McEachern (13-9, 6-2), North Cobb (16-7, 6-2), Marietta (12-10, 5-3) and North Paulding (16-6, 5-3) will make for a competitive tournament. McEachern, only a couple of years removed from its four straight state titles, has swept North Cobb and almost certainly will be the No. 1 seed and favorite to defend its region title.

Boys: No. 5 McEachern (16-5) is not the same national power it was in 2019, when the Indians won their first state title, but they’ve clinched the No. 1 seed in this region, which doesn’t have another team with a winning record.

Region 4

Girls: No. 3 Cherokee (22-2, 9-0) has clinched the No. 1 seed. No. 6 Woodstock (21-3, 9-0) looms as Cherokee’s main challenger. Cherokee has beaten its county rival by 24 and 14 points and won the region title last year before advancing to the state semifinals.

Boys: No. 10 Etowah (17-5, 8-1) and Cherokee 20-4, 7-2) have separated themselves. They play at Cherokee on Friday. Cherokee won at Etowah 48-36 on Jan. 10.

Region 5

Girls: No. 4 North Forsyth (21-2, 7-1) has won 14 straight since losing to West Forsyth (18-5, 6-2) in December and avenged that loss with a 51-31 win last week. North made the state semifinals last season. The tournament will be at Forsyth Central.

Boys: No. 4 Milton (19-4, 8-0) hasn’t had a region game closer than 15 points and is almost sure to break a state-playoff win drought that dates to the Eagles’ semifinal finish in 2016.

Region 6

Girls: No. 2 Collins Hill (23-10, 10-0) has won every region game by 20 or more points. The Eagles were state runners-up in 2019.

Boys: Peachtree Ridge (16-7, 8-2) and Discovery (13-10, 8-2) play each other on Friday at Peachtree Ridge, probably for the No. 1 seed. Discovery won its first-ever region title in boys basketball last year with a win over Peachtree Ridge in the final.

Region 7

Girls: Parkview (14-9, 9-1), Norcross (14-9, 9-2) and Brookwood (12-11, 8-2) enter the final week with chances at the No. 1 seed. Parkview will get it with a victory at Brookwood on Friday. None of the three is ranked. Norcross has the tradition with eight state quarterfinal finishes over the past 10 seasons, but Brookwood upset the Blue Devils 50-48 in last year’s tournament final.

Boys: No. 2 Norcross (22-2, 11-0) has beaten its main challenger, Berkmar (12-9, 8-2), by six and two points this season. Norcross is unbeaten in Georgia this year.

Region 8

Girls: No. 10 Grayson (15-8, 7-1) plays at Rockdale County (18-5, 6-2) on Friday. Rockdale won their first meeting 59-55 on Jan. 10. Grayson beat Rockdale 61-60 in double overtime in the 2019 tournament final.

Boys: With four ranked teams, this is the state’s toughest region in any class, so the tournament next week at Shiloh should be a good one. No. 1 Grayson (22-1, 7-1) is ranked No. 5 nationally by MaxPreps’ Xcellent 25 but lost to its region’s third-place team, No. 8 Newton (17-6, 5-3), in the early season. No. 7 Archer (15-8, 4-4) and No. 3 Shiloh (20-2, 6-2) also will contend.

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