Class 6A blog: Top 4 boys teams in Region 7 to clash this weekend

Chattahoochee players celebrate their victory over Lanier during 2020 GHSA State Basketball Class Championship game at the Macon Centreplex in Macon on Saturday, March 7, 2020. Chattahoochee won over Lanier 69-66 in overtime.(Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)
Chattahoochee players celebrate their victory over Lanier during 2020 GHSA State Basketball Class Championship game at the Macon Centreplex in Macon on Saturday, March 7, 2020. Chattahoochee won over Lanier 69-66 in overtime.(Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

The top four boys basketball teams in Region 7-6A have already begun to separate themselves from the pack, and those teams will sort out the pecking order at the top of the eight-team league when they go head to head this weekend.

Chattahoochee (8-1, 3-0) and River Ridge (9-4, 3-0) are the only 3-0 teams in region play, and the winner of their game Friday in Woodstock will move into sole possession of first place. Chattahoochee is the defending Class 6A champion and sits at No. 2 behind Wheeler in this week’s Score Atlanta rankings. Wheeler won the 7A last year before moving down during reclassification.

River Ridge went 9-17 last year and failed to make the playoffs but has turned things around, already matching last year’s win total. The Knights started the season 1-2 but have won eight of 10 since, its only losses during that stretch coming against Class 7A schools Parkview and Etowah.

The other big matchup in 7-6A Friday night will take place in Canton, where Centennial will visit Creekview. Ninth-ranked Centennial (7-2, 2-0) has played one fewer region game than Chattahoochee and River Ridge but is undefeated in league play, and a victory will keep that Cougars in a tie for first place, at least in the loss column. Creekview is just 6-5 overall but has won three of four games in region play.

Centennial and Creekview both failed to make the state playoffs in 2020.

Here are some of the other top games in Class 6A this week:

Boys

*Shiloh at Lanier (Friday): Region 8-6A has four teams without a loss in league play, but No. 6 Lanier and No. 7 Shiloh are the highest-rated of the group. Lanier, the 6A runner-up last year, is 10-3 this season, with all three losses coming to teams ranked in the top five by an average of 8.7 points. Shiloh (9-3) lost to eventual champion Wheeler 65-64 in the Class 7A second round last year.

*Buford at Parkview (Saturday): No. 10 Buford began the 2021 portion of its schedule with an 88-80 victory over Rabun Gap to improve to 10-2. The Wolves closed out 2020 by going 2-1 in the Marlin Christmas Classic in Panama City, Fla. Parkview (5-3) has lost two of its last three, but both came against teams ranked in the top five of their classes (Tri-Cities and Providence Christian).

Girls

*Sprayberry at Kell (Friday): No. 7 Sprayberry (8-2, 5-0) and No. 4 Kell (9-2, 5-0) are the only remaining unbeaten teams in 6-6A play, so the winner will take sole possession of first place. Two players to watch are Sprayberry junior guard Flau’Jae Johnson, a second-team all-state selection last season, and Kell sophomore guard Crystal Henderson, who made first-team all-state in Class 5A.

*Buford at Greater Atlanta Christian (Saturday): This game matches two 2020 state champions – Buford in Class 5A (now in 6A) and GAC in 3A. Buford, which plays its Region 8-6A opener Friday night against Central Gwinnett, is 7-0 this season and No. 1 in the Score Atlanta rankings. GAC has won four straight games after an 0-3 start against a brutal schedule and is ranked No. 8 in 3A.

*Hughes at Holy Innocents’ (Saturday): Hughes reached the semifinals last year and has kept the momentum going this season. The Panthers are 10-1 and ranked No. 5, their only loss coming against Class A Private No. 1 St. Francis. This week, Hughes will face the No. 4 team in A Public, Holy Innocents’, which handed reigning state champ Forest Park its only loss against a Georgia opponent.

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