HS primer: What you need to know about the state title games

McEachern will look to finish the drill Saturday when it faces Meadowcreek in the Class AAAAAAA boys final in Macon. (Jason Getz/Special to the AJC)

McEachern will look to finish the drill Saturday when it faces Meadowcreek in the Class AAAAAAA boys final in Macon. (Jason Getz/Special to the AJC)

Whether it’s the Wesleyan girls team chasing a 14th state title, or the Douglass girls and 12 others bidding for their first, the high school basketball finals in Macon are where history will be made during the next four days.

“This is our school’s 50th anniversary, and to be in the finals is a true blessing,’’ said Douglass girls coach Alana Allen, who got a congratulatory message this week from the office of Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, a 1987 Douglass graduate. “Our girls have worked all summer and all fall to prepare for this. We believed from the beginning we could make it to the finals, but to actually get to this point is a dream come true.’’

Here are other teams and story lines worth following closely beginning Wednesday at the Macon Centreplex:

Newcomers: Douglass and six other teams are in the finals for the first time, and six more programs never have won state titles. Those making their first appearances are McEachern's boys (AAAAAAA), Tri-Cities' boys (AAAAAA), Lanier's girls (AAAAAA), Americus-Sumter's boys (AAAA), Douglass' girls (AAA), Therrell's boys (AA) and Eagle's Landing Christian's boys (A Private). Others that have never won titles are Fayette County's boys (AAAAA), Carver-Columbus's girls (AAAA), Vidalia's boys (AA), Treutlen's boys (A Public), Marion County's girls (A Public) and Calhoun County's girls (A Public).

Favorites: Twelve of the 16 No. 1-ranked teams entering the tournament have reached the finals. Those are boys teams from McEachern (AAAAAAA), Tri-Cities (AAAAAA), Buford (AAAAA), Morgan County (AAA), Calhoun County (A Public) and St. Francis (A Private) and girls teams from Westlake (AAAAAAA), Lovejoy (AAAAAA), Buford (AAAAA), Carver-Columbus (AAAA), Marion County (A Public) and Holy Innocents' (A Private).

Cinderellas: Hart County's boys finished third in Region 8-AAA and are the only team outside the top six of the final regular-season rankings to reach the finals. They're playing No. 1 Morgan County for the AAA title Thursday. It would be Hart's first title in 33 years. Vidalia's boys are ranked No. 3 in AA, and Therrell No. 4, but neither won their region tournaments, and neither has won a state title in their 50-plus years of existence.

Looking to sweep: Buford (AAAAA), Carver-Columbus (AAAA), Hart County (AAA) and Calhoun County (A Public) have their boys and girls teams in the finals. There have been 18 schools in history to sweep both titles in the same season, most recently Buford in 2017. Hart County did it in 1963.

Best girls game: No. 1 Holy Innocents' vs. No. 3 Wesleyan in Class A Private, the first game this week, on Wednesday. They've played each other for a title each of the past four seasons, with Wesleyan winning three, including the past two despite losing to Holy Innocents' twice in the regular season. Holy Innocents' has beaten Wesleyan twice again this season. Wesleyan coach Jan Azar can set a state record for the most state titles as a Georgia high school basketball coach. She has 13, all with Wesleyan. That's tied with Selby Buck, who won 13 boys championships with Lanier of Macon between 1925-51.

Best boys game: No. 1 McEachern vs. No. 2 Meadowcreek in Class AAAAAAA, the last game this week, on Saturday. McEachern is 31-0 and ranked No. 1 in several national polls, including the MaxPreps Xcellent 25. No boys team from Georgia has won a national title since Southwest-Macon in 1979 or gone unbeaten in the highest class since Dunwoody in 1995. Isaac Okoro (signed with Auburn) and Sharife Cooper (five-star junior point guard) are all-class player of the year candidates. But McEachern never has won a state title, and Meadowcreek is the defending champ. The Mustangs have three Division I signees who are seniors – Jamir Chaplin (South Florida), Jalen Benjamin (UAB) and Damian Dunn (Temple).

Tickets/TV: Tickets are $15 per day and can be bought on site or through Ticketmaster. The games will be streamed live at NFHSNetwork.com/GHSA for $9.95, which provides access to all 16 games. Live statistics can been seen at ghsabasketball.weebly.com.



2 p.m. - A private girls (Holy Innocents’ vs. Wesleyan)

4 p.m. - A private boys (St. Francis vs. Eagle’s Landing Christian)

6 p.m. - A public girls (Marion County vs. Calhoun County)

8 p.m. - A public boys (Calhoun County vs. Treutlen)


2 p.m. - AA girls (Early County vs. Douglass)

4 p.m. - AA boys (Therrell vs. Vidalia)

6 p.m. - AAA girls (Hart County vs. Johnson-Savannah)

8 p.m. - AAA boys (Morgan County vs. Hart County)


11 a.m. - AAAA girls (Spalding vs. Carver-Columbus)

1 p.m. - AAAA boys (Americus-Sumter vs. Carver-Columbus)

6 p.m. - AAAAA girls (Buford vs. Villa Rica)

8 p.m. - AAAAA boys (Buford vs. Fayette County)


1 p.m. - AAAAAA girls (Lanier vs. Lovejoy)

3 p.m. - AAAAAA boys (Tri-Cities vs. Tucker)

5 p.m. - AAAAAAA girls (Westlake vs. Collins Hill)

7 p.m. - AAAAAAA boys (McEachern vs. Meadowcreek)

*The AAASP wheelchair basketball championship will be played at 3 p.m. between Gwinnett and Houston County.