Wheeler-Walton boys highlight final weekend of regular season

Congratulations to the boys teams at Tift County (21-2, 10-0), North Gwinnett (22-3, 15-1) and Lambert (19-5, 12-1), who have clinched regular-season region championships. Congrats to girls teams at Brunswick (21-2, 10-1), Newton (17-6, 10-0), McEachern (20-2, 14-0), North Forsyth (22-2, 12-1) and Norcross (18-4, 13-1). Barring major upsets this weekend, Roswell (x-x, x-x) will finish first in Region 6, and second-ranked Parkview (22-1, 14-1) and Archer (21-3, 14-1) will flip a coin for the No. 1 seed in Region 8.

Regular-season champions should be careful to be ready, though. Lambert wasn’t done celebrating when upset this week by Centennial 52-50. Xavier Jackson, a 6-2 guard who averages 18.3 points, had a 13-point, 4-rebound, 4-assist night for the Knights.

Also congrats to Pebblebrook. The Falcons upset sixth-ranked Hillgrove on Wednesday and are positioned to finish first in Region 4. More on that below. Got a call in to Pebblebrook coach George Washington to get more details.

Here are the seven best games this weekend in Class AAAAAA.

Friday boys

Wheeler (19-4, 12-0) at Walton (20-3, 11-2) – Seventh-ranked Walton has picked up two nice wins already this week over eighth-ranked Milton 68-63 and at Cherokee 56-48. Next is No. 1-ranked Wheeler, which beat the Raiders 76-73  on Jan. 14. Walton trailed by 15 in the fourth quarter but had an open 3-point attempt at the buzzer but missed. Avery Patterson scored 24 points and had five assists and five 3-pointers for Wheeler. Walton's Elijah Weems scored 28.

Pebblebrook (18-3, 12-2) at Marietta (17-7, 8-7) - Pebblebrook, ranked ninth, has been one of the best stories of the 2014 season in AAAAAA. The Falcons were 12-14 last season, 4-21 the season before. Now, they're on the verge of a first-place finish in a region that has had as many as four ranked teams this season. They upset No. 6 Hillgrove 48-42 on Wednesday and now control their fate. The Falcons must beat Marietta, then Campbell (9-14, 4-10) on Saturday, to wrap up the No. 1 seed from Region 4. Hillgrove (19-5, 12-3) would own the tiebreaker in a three-way tie with McEachern (18-4, 11-3).

Central Gwinnett (14-9, 7-7) at Berkmar (19-5, 13-2) – Berkmar needs to win this one to get the No. 1 seed in Region 8. If the Patriots lose, then Shiloh gets the regular-season region title by winning at Archer (9-15, 3-12). Shiloh has beaten Berkmar twice and dominated Grayson (19-5, 10-5) 71-53 on Wednesday and might be the tournament favorite in any event. Berkmar beat Central 65-59 on Jan. 14. Cental's Shaun Jones scored 24 in that one.\

Friday girls

Westlake (19-4, 7-1) at Hughes (20-3, 6-2) – Sixth-ranked Westlake can clinch first place in Region 3 with a victory over 10th0-ranked Hughes. A loss would force a three-way tie that includes eighth-ranked Douglas County (19-3, 7-2), and coin flips would determine seeding. Westlake routed Hughes 78-58 on Jan. 10. All three teams have been ranked at some point this season, and there's a steep drop off after those in the region. So the No. 1 seed is significant.

Duluth (13-9, 9-4) at Mountain View (17-5, 12-2) – Both of these Region 8 teams are 7-1 since New Year's Day. Duluth completed a regular-season two-game sweep of fourth-ranked Norcross with a 46-38 victory over the defending state champions on Tuesday. Endie Banks, a freshman, scored 18 points. 

Saturday boys

Luella (14-8, 9-1) at Newton (18-5, 7-3) - Luella should clinch the No. 1 seed in Region 2 with a victory over Alcovy (2-20, 2-8) on Friday. But this game will determine the No. 2 seed for the region tournament as Lovejoy (15-7, 8-3) is poised to move in if Newton can't win at home. This has become an intriguing region because underrated Morrow (12-12, 6-5) routed Luella 74-58 on Wednesday as DeMarkus Loman scored 21 points.  Luella and Morrow likely will meet in the semifinals of the region tournament. Luella beat Newton 73-67 in the first meeting. Luella is known for its size, but guards Kylin Terrell and A.J. Blanton were the stars in that game, combining for 41 points in that game. Newton's Jalen Glover made six 3-pointers and scored 25 points.

Newnan (16-6, 4-4) at Westlake (22-2, 7-1) – Westlake, ranked fourth in AAAAAA, might need to win this makeup game to get the No. 1 seed in Region. 3. That's if that second-place Tri-Cities (11-10, 5-2) wins at home against Douglas County (17-5, 5-4). Westlake beat Newnan 64-62 on Jan. 17 on a layup at the buzzer by Dominic Joseph. Tri-Cities and Westlake have split their games this season, so a coin toss would break a first-place tie.