Region champs shift gears to state tournament

The playoff field is set for the Class AAAA boys and girls state tournaments and the champions from last week’s region action headline the field. The final results from the region tournaments were for the most part expected with six of the eight No. 1 seeds on the boys’ side and five of the eight top seeds on the girls’ side winning their regions and preserving their No. 1 seeds for the state tournament. Here’s a look back at how the boys region action unfolded.

Region 1: After falling to Americus-Sumter in its regular season finale 63-56, No. 2 seeded Westover scored a big 67-57 win over the No. 1 Panthers to clinch the region title. Jordan Brown (18), Camryn Weston (18), Kris Gardner (16) and Michael Isler Jr. (10) each scored in double figures and 6-foot-8 freshman Isaac Abidde had a game-high three blocks to go with his eight rebounds and two points. 

Region 2: Class AAAA’s defending state champion Upson-Lee cruised to its 58th consecutive victory and took the top seed out of Region 2 with a 78-56 win over Mary Persons. 

Region 3: The teams split their regular season meetings, but it was Baldwin that won the big one. The Braved defeated Burke County 47-40 to clinch the region championship thanks to a 19-point, 13-rebound performance by senior Rodney Walker. 

Region 4: Woodward Academy entered the region tournament as the No. 3 seed, but toppled Henry County 71-68 in the semifinals before clinching their region championship in a 66-55 overtime victory against Salem. The War Eagles outscored Salem 13-2 in the extra frame and sophomore Walker Kessler led with a team-high 18 points. 

Region 5: Sandy Creek started 2018 on a sour note. The Patriots lost to Cartersville 62-58 on Jan. 9 and then fell 50-49 to LaGrange three days later. Now, they carry an 11-game winning streak into the state tournament. This impressive run includes a 67-45 win over LaGrange and a pair of wins over Cartersville, none bigger than Saturday’s 62-51 win over the Purple Hurricanes in the region final. 

Region 6: LaFayette ended the regular season with its only instate loss of the year (50-36 to Heritage-Catoosa), but coasted through the region tournament and appears to be back on track entering the state tournament. First was a 64-36 win over Ridgeland in the region semis and then the Ramblers scored a 72-56 victory over Northwest Whitfield to clinch the top seed. 

Region 7: Blessed Trinity edged rival Marist 49-42 in overtime to take the region crown after blowing out West Hall 72-45 in the semis. The Titans finished 8-0 in their five-team region.

Region 8: St. Pius looks like the favorite to challenge Upson-Lee’s title defense. The Golden Lions wrapped up a 10-0 region record in convincing fashion on Friday, defeating Jefferson 82-50. 



Class AAAA

First Round

Feb. 16-17

R6#3 Heritage-Catoosa at R5#2 Cartersville 

R8#4 Madison County at R7#1 Blessed Trinity

R2#3 Spalding at R1#2 Americus-Sumter

R4#4 Druid Hills at R3#1 Baldwin 

R5#3 Troup at R6#2 Northwest Whitfield 

R7#4 White County at R8#1 St. Pius

R1#3 Carver-Columbus at R2#2 Mary Persons 

R3#4 Hephzibah at R4#1 Woodward Academy

R8#3 Stephens County at R7#2 Marist

R6#4 Ridgeland at R5#1 Sandy Creek

R4#3 Henry County at R3#2 Burke County

R2#4 Perry at R1#1 Westover

R7#3 West Hall at R8#2 Jefferson 

R5#4 LaGrange at R6#1 at LaFayette 

R3#3 Thomson at R4#2 Salem

R1#4 Northside-Columbus at R2#1 Upson-Lee


Region 1: Top-ranked Carver-Columbus hasn’t lost to an instate program all season and just defeated Americus-Sumter for the third time this year (61-50) to clinch the Region 1 last weekend. The Tigers fell just short of taking home their first state title in program history last year, making it all the way to the finals and losing in a 68-67 heartbreaker to rival Columbus. This, however, is this year; Columbus is not even in the playoffs this time around and Carver swept them convincingly this season (68-39 on Dec. 19 and 81-33 on Jan. 19) for more contrast. Sophomore Olivia Cochran continues making a name for herself after transferring in from Hardaway this offseason and contributed 20 points and 18 rebounds in last weekend’s region championship.

Region 2: Like Carver-Columbus (14-0), Spalding (11-0) swept its way to a region title with a flawless record, but the parallels don’t stop there. The Jags narrowly lost 43-39 to four-time defending state champion McEachern Indians in a preseason scrimmage and haven’t lost to an instate opponent all season. Spalding is also searching for their first state crown and is being led by a talented Class of 2020 star like the Tigers. That sophomore is Corriana Evans and she chipped in a team-high 23 points and 13 rebounds in Spalding’s 72-37 win over Upson-Lee in the Region 2 title game.

Region 3: Burke County defeated Baldwin 66-61 in overtime last Friday, serving the Braves their only region loss of the season when it mattered most. Burke County junior Kianni Westbrook put on a clinic with a team-high 27 points on 10-of-15 shooting from the field and added 16 rebounds, six steals and a pair of blocks.

Region 4: Henry County is unbeaten in the state of Georgia this year and takes a 25-1 record into the playoffs. The Warhawks needed overtime to get past Woodward Academy 71-60 on Jan. 25, but cruised to a 73-58 win in the region semis to set up a 73-48 win over Luella in the finals. Senior point guard Brooke Moore was named Region 4-AAAA Player of the Year and leads a hungry Henry County team that is looking to build off of last year’s run to the Elite 8.

Region 5: Sandy Creek had lost to LaGrange 60-36 and 43-36 before their 44-38 victory over the Grangers last Saturday in the Region 5 championship game. As the No. 1 seed, however, it appears that Sandy Creek may have a steeper side of the mountain to climb than LaGrange since they are now in the same quadrant as 2017 state finalist Carver-Columbus.

Region 6: Northwest Whitfield kept its region record perfect (14-0) with a 36-34 win over Pickens last Friday. The 24-3 Bruins haven’t lost to a Class AAAA team all season and headline a tough bottom right quadrant of the bracket with Region 2 champion Spalding.

Region 7: Marist took care of Chestatee 43-39 in the semis before clinching the Region 7 crown with a 39-24 win over White County last Saturday. The War Eagles ride an 11-game winning streak and their systematic offense and defensive fortitude is capable of rattling any team and prying any team away from their standard pace.

Region 8: Jefferson captured the region title as a No. 3 seed (the only team in Class AAAA boys or girls to do so), beating No. 1 seed Madison County 67-54 in the finals after scoring a 53-42 win over St. Pius in the semis. Jefferson dropped back-to-back region games to the same opponents in January, but the Dragons have since beaten St. Pius twice and the Red Raiders once to carry an eight-game winning streak and a No. 1 seed into the playoffs. 



Class AAAA

First Round

Feb. 16-17

R6#3 Heritage-Catoosa at R5#2 LaGrange

R8#4 St. Pius at R7#1 Marist

R2#3 Perry at R1#2 Americus-Sumter

R4#4 North Clayton at R3#1 Burke County

R5#3 Troup County at R6#2 Pickens

R7#4 Chestatee at R8#1 Jefferson

R1#3 Westover at R2#2 Upson-Lee

R3#4 Thomson at R4#1 Henry County

R8#3 North Oconee at R7#2 White County

R6#4 Gilmer at R5#1 Sandy Creek

R4#3 Woodward Academy at R3#2 Baldwin

R2#4 West Laurens at R1#1 Carver-Columbus

R7#3 West Hall at R8#2 Madison County

R5#4 Central-Carroll at R6#1 Northwest Whitfield

R3#3 Cross Creek at R4#2 Luella

R1#4 Shaw at R2#1 Spalding

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