Region 7 lead at stake for girls, boys in Pope-Lassiter doubleheader

First place for both the girls and boys basketball teams in Region 7-6A will be at stake Friday night when Lassiter travels to Pope for a doubleheader between east Cobb County rivals with about a week and a half remaining in the regular season.

On the boys’ side, seventh-ranked Pope (18-4, 8-1) comes into the game with a game-and-a-half lead over Lassiter (16-5, 6-2) and a two-game lead over Sprayberry (15-7, 6-3) in the region standings. If the Greyhounds can complete the season sweep of the Trojans – Pope won 52-47 in overtime at Lassiter on Dec. 8 – they would clinch the No. 1 seed in the region tournament with one win in their final two games or one loss by Sprayberry, which split the season series with Pope.

If ninth-ranked Lassiter can avenge the earlier loss and then win its final three games, the Trojans would finish no worse than in a tie for first place that would be settled by the region tiebreakers. Another loss to Pope would drop Lassiter into a second-place tie with Sprayberry, which beat the Trojans 66-58 on Jan. 9 and plays them again on Feb. 2.

Pope’s girls team (16-6, 8-1), which entered the Class 6A rankings at No. 9 this week, comes into the game with a half-game lead over Lassiter, as both have one loss in region play but Pope has one more victory. A win by Pope guarantees that the Greyhounds will be the No. 1 seed in the region tournament if they win their final two games against Roswell (Feb. 2) and Blessed Trinity (Feb. 6). Pope defeated both of those teams by an average of 15 points earlier this month.

A victory by Lassiter (15-6, 7-1), however, would give the Trojans a half-game lead and, more importantly, would complete a sweep of the Greyhounds this season after winning 47-39 in the first matchup on Dec. 8. Lassiter can clinch the No. 1 seed with a victory against Pope and then winning two of its final three games, against Johns Creek (Tuesday), Sprayberry (Feb. 2) and Alpharetta (Feb. 6).

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


*River Ridge at St. Francis (Friday): River Ridge (17-4) faces St. Francis (15-6) of Class A Division I in a battle of defending state champs and No. 1-ranked teams. River Ridge has beaten three teams ranked in the 7A top six – No. 3 Buford, No. 4 Norcross and No. 6 North Paulding. The Knights also won 74-34 last week against A Division I No. 2 Galloway, which lost to St. Francis 71-70 on Jan. 12.

*Carrollton at Hughes (Saturday): This is one of two remaining non-region tests for fourth-ranked Hughes (15-3), which is undefeated in Region 5 play heading into Friday’s game against Paulding County. Carrollton (19-2) is No. 2 in 7A and has won 18 straight games since starting 1-2 with losses to 7A top-five teams Grayson and McEachern. Hughes plays St. Francis next weekend.


*Grovetown at Glynn Academy (Friday): These two teams will meet for the first of two games in nine days that are likely to settle first place in Region 2. Grovetown (13-7, 7-0) comes into the game with a half-game lead over Glynn Academy (18-3, 7-1), which has won five consecutive region games since a 73-61 loss to Lakeside-Evans on Jan. 6. Glynn entered the rankings at No. 10 this week.

*Habersham Central at Gainesville (Friday): Habersham Central (16-4, 5-2) remained within striking distance of first place in Region 8 with a 61-57 upset of second-ranked Shiloh (16-4, 6-1) on Tuesday. Now the Raiders will try to hold on to second place when they travel to Gainesville (6-13, 4-2). The Red Elephants, who are 6-4 since an 0-9 start, lost to Habersham 59-58 on Jan. 6.