Class 6A blog: Alexander, Hughes boys to battle for first place in Region 5

The Alexander and Hughes boys basketball teams will battle for first place in Region 5-6A when they meet Friday night in Fairburn in a matchup of top-five teams.

Both teams are 5-0 in region play, two games ahead of a pack led by No. 4 South Paulding, which is 3-2 in the region.

No. 5 Hughes is 8-5 overall after a 75-48 victory over Douglas County on Tuesday. The Panthers were 7-2 until a three-game losing streak against Pace Academy, Carrollton and Eagle’s Landing. Carrollton is the No. 10 team in Class 7A, and Pace Academy (4A) and Eagle’s Landing (5A) are ranked No. 1 in their classifications.

Top-ranked Alexander is 12-3 overall, with losses to Class 7A No. 3 Grayson and two out-of-state opponents. The Cougars rebounded from a 62-60 loss to North Florida Educational Institute last weekend in a tournament in Florida by beating region opponent East Paulding 75-42 Tuesday night. Alexander is led by junior forward Braedan Lue, who is averaging 16.3 points, 7.1 rebounds and 2.0 blocked shots.

The Cougars will travel to Thompson, Ala., on Monday to face Alabama power Hoover in the Thompson MLK National Showcase. Hoover is 20-2 and ranked No. 2 overall in MaxPreps’ Alabama rankings.

Here’s a look at several other top games involving Class 6A teams this weekend:


*St. Pius at South Cobb (Friday): St. Pius (11-5, 3-1) fell into a tie for second place in Region 4 with South Cobb (8-7, 3-1) after losing to first-place Marist 49-48 Monday night in a battle of top-three teams. The winner of this game will be alone in second behind the War Eagles (11-5, 4-0). South Cobb had lost five of six games until a big 87-82 victory Tuesday against fourth-place Riverwood.

*Pope at Blessed Trinity (Friday): Ninth-ranked Blessed Trinity (13-4) will host Pope (13-5) with first place in Region 7 on the line. Both teams are 5-0 in region play, two games ahead of third-place Alpharetta (9-8, 3-2). Pope is unranked in the AJC poll but No. 14 in the MaxPreps Class 6A rankings. The Greyhounds ended a three-game losing streak with a 74-47 win over Roswell on Tuesday.


*Rome at River Ridge (Friday): Top-ranked River Ridge (12-5, 5-0) will try to retain its grasp on first place in Region 6 when it takes on second-place Rome (11-5, 4-1), which trails the Knights by just one game. Rome started the season 2-3 but is 9-2 since. River Ridge will be on the road Saturday against 7A No. 3 Buford, which at 14-0 is one of just five remaining unbeaten teams in the state.

*Woodward Academy vs. Kell (Saturday): No. 4 Woodward Academy (11-5) will step out of Region 3 play and face Class 5A No. 1 Kell (12-4) in the MLK Holiday Invitational at Chapel Hill. Kell’s losses have come against Class 7A top-10 teams Brookwood and McEachern and two out-of-state opponents Woodward plays Athens Academy in another MLK event Monday at Holy Innocents’.