Seventeen ranked teams didn’t make it out of the first round of the state basketball tournament last week, and top-10 casualties might double in the second round, which begins Wednesday. There will be 28 games between top-10 teams over the two days.
Americus-Sumter’s boys in Class AAAA, Lovejoy’s girls in AAAAAA and Laney’s girls in AA — all ranked No. 1 — are among the more threatened.
Americus-Sumter, a 28-0 team from a school that’s never won a state championship in boys basketball, is home against No. 10 Blessed Trinity, the Region 7 runner-up. Americus-Sumter was the AAAA runner-up in 2019.
Americus-Sumter’s girls might have an even tougher challenge, though. Ranked No. 2, they are traveling to No. 6 Marist, which won Region 7 while Americus-Sumter finished second in Region 1 to defending AAAA girls champion Carver-Columbus.
Lovejoy’s girls, semifinalists or better the past three seasons, are host to No. 7 Harrison in a rematch of a 2018 state championship game, which Lovejoy won.
Laney’s girls must beat No. 8 Putnam County at home to extend their streak of quarterfinals to 15 seasons. Laney has won three state titles over the past five seasons.
Several other highly ranked teams face stiff round-of-16 tests.
Shiloh’s boys, ranked No. 2 in the highest classification, must play at No. 6 Wheeler, the Region 2 champion. All three of Shiloh’s losses have come against No. 1-ranked Grayson.
Douglass of Atlanta has both its boys and girls teams ranked in the top five, and both face danger from Augusta opponents in the second round. The fourth-ranked boys are on the road to No. 2 Glenn Hills while the third-ranked girls, the defending Class AA champion, are at home to Josey.
Beach of Savannah has reached the girls semifinals or better five of the past six seasons and won AAA in 2017. Ranked No. 4, Beach must travel to No. 3 Cedar Grove, which is aiming to reach the quarterfinals for the first time since 1983.
While highly ranked teams are fretting about difficult draws, several teams that aren’t ranked or steeped in tradition are happy still to be playing.
Savannah’s girls won their first state-playoff game in history last week at Worth County. They’re traveling 300 miles to Gainesville to face No. 7 North Hall, the Region 7-AAA champion.
East Coweta’s boys, who won their first state-playoff game since 1964, are playing at Region 6-AAAAAAA champion North Gwinnett.
Heritage-Conyers’ girls, who won their first playoff game since opening in 1976, are playing at Region 1-AAAAAA champion Hughes.
All winners advance to the quarterfinals, which are Feb. 25-26. The finals will be in Macon on March 4-7.
Below are the second-round games between top-10 teams in the AJC.com rankings.
No. 2 Shiloh at No. 6 Wheeler
No. 6 Sequoyah at No. 9 Richmond Hill
No. 7 Hughes at No. 5 Valdosta
No. 6 Lithonia at No. 7 Veterans
No. 8 Kell at No. 5 Warner Robins
No. 10 Blessed Trinity at No. 1 Americus-Sumter
No. 9 Greater Atlanta Christian at No. 5 Monroe
No. 4 Douglass at No. 2 Glenn Hills
No. 7 Butler at No. 9 Banks County
No. 7 Drew Charter at No. 3 Terrell County
No. 10 Mitchell County at No. 4 Calhoun County
No. 7 Pinecrest Academy at No. 9 Providence Christian
No. 8 Galloway at No. 2 Greenforest Christian
No. 10 North Cobb at No. 4 North Forsyth
No. 9 Pebblebrook at No.2 Collins Hill
No. 7 Harrison at No. 1 Lovejoy
No. 6 Wayne County at No. 2 Buford
No. 10 Arabia Mountain at No. 5 Starr’s Mill
No. 2 Americus-Sumter at No. 6 Marist
No. 5 Troup at No. 8 Cross Creek
No. 3 Beach at No. 4 Cedar Grove
No. 10 Pierce County at No. 2 Jefferson
No. 8 Putnam County at No. 1 Laney
No. 7 Josey at No. 3 Douglass
No. 10 Emanuel County Institute at No. 3 Calhoun County
No. 9 Wilcox County at No. 6 Bowdon
No. 9 Trinity Christian at No. 4 Wesleyan
No. 10 Lakeview Academy at No. 6 Greenforest Christian
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