High school basketball: Storylines heading into region tournaments

The road to the state championship begins next week. Here are some of the storylines heading into the final weekend of the regular season:

--The Woodland (Stockbridge) girls can lock up the top seed in the Region 4-AAAA tournament with wins over Stockbridge on Friday and Dutchtown on Saturday night.  The Region 4 tournament play-in games will be held Monday and Tuesday at Jonesboro.  The rest of the tournament will take place Wednesday-Saturday at Griffin.

Woodland is looking for its fourth straight trip to the state tournament. Last season, coach Ashley Maddox took a team that featured four seniors that went on to play at the next level to the quarterfinals. This year’s group is much younger, with freshman Vanessa Blagmon starting a point guard and three other freshmen playing key minutes.

The Wolfpack’s only four losses came against the same two AAAAAA schools Hughes and Newton, which are a combined 37-9 on the season.

--Redan and Columbus, the top two ranked AAA girls teams, coast into their region tournaments as the teams to beat. No. 1 Redan has beaten teams by an average of 40.3 points and is making a run at its second undefeated season under coach Jerry Jackson. The Raiders did it in AAAAA in 2009. Redan finishes the regular season against Stone Mountain on Friday and at Chamblee on Saturday. No. 2 Columbus has been nearly as impressive, with the Blue Devils’ only loss coming against AAAAA’s Northside in a holiday tournament. Columbus finishes the regular season against Troup on Friday and at Sandy Creek on Saturday.

Boys Notes

--No. 1 Columbia has clinched the top seed in the Region 6-AAAA boys tournament out of Sub-region A. It’s good thing, too, because the Eagles need the rest. Winter weather caused Columbia to have to play six games in six days, a stretch that ended with Tuesday’s win at Marist.

Columbia finishes up the regular season on Friday at Chamblee.  The Eagles will be the host school for the region tournament.

No. 5 South Atlanta needs to beat either Grady on Friday or Banneker on Saturday to earn the top seed out 6-AAAA Sub-region B.

--No. 3 Alexander can clinch the top seed in the Region 5-AAAA tournament with a win against No. 4 Fayette County on Friday. The Cougars have won 15 straight games, including a 64-57 road victory over Fayette County on Jan. 21.