10 region basketball tournaments stand above the rest
This is the week on the Georgia high school basketball calendar for region tournaments. For most teams, that making the region semifinals is mandatory for survival. About half of Georgia’s more than 800 boys and girls basketball teams will make it. The rest will pack it up for the season.
The region tournaments qualify teams for the state playoffs and also provide their seeds. Teams that win region tournaments are seeded No. 1, meaning home games and easier draws into the state quarterfinals.
Here are the five most intriguing boys and five most intriguing girls region tournaments:
Region 6-AAAAAAA (at Mountain View) – No other region in any classification has four teams as good as No. 5 Mountain View, No. 6 Peachtree Ridge, No. 10 Collins Hill and unranked (but ranked the week before) Duluth. Any of the four could make the state quarterfinals. A year ago, Mountain View won the region tournament as a No. 6 seed. It wouldn’t be a surprise this time if the Bears won. This tournament will feature three of the top 16 senior prospects in the state, per 247 Composite. They are Discovery’s Kalu Ezikpe (signed with Old Dominion), Peachtree Ridge’s Devin Vassell (Florida State) and Collins Hill’s Justin Lee (Northern Illinois).
Region 5-AAAAAA (at Douglas County) – Hughes, led by reigning AAAAAA player of the year Landers Nolley, is ranked No. 1 and is the defending state champion but no shoo-in to win its region with a field that includes No. 6 Douglas County (the host school) and No. 8 Tri-Cities. Then consider that unranked Alexander has beaten all three of those teams, and unranked Mays has swept Alexander.
Region 3-AAA (at multiple sites) – This is the unofficial championship of Savannah, a city rich in basketball tradition. No. 2 Johnson, led by Georgia signee Amanze Ngumezi, has beaten No. 3 Jenkins two out of three this season. Jenkins has made the semifinals finals each of the past four seasons and won AAA in 2015. Johnson won AAA in 2013. Eighth-ranked Windsor Forest is pretty good, too. The championship game will be Friday night at New Hamptstead.
Region 2-AA (at Josey) – Augusta’s finest, No. 1-ranked Glenn Hills and No. 2 Laney, are also Class AA’s finest through the regular season. Glenn Hills has won two of their three meetings, but Laney won the most recent, 59-49, on Jan. 19 and has won 13 straight games. Both have tradition. Laney has made the quarterfinals or better each of the past eight seasons and won Class AA in 2012. Glenn Hills won AAA in 2008.
Region 6-A (at St. Francis) – For a good picture of how the Class A private-school state playoffs might go, tune in here, where No. 1 St. Francis, No. 4 North Cobb Christian and No. 6 Christian Heritage will go at it in a 15-team rumble. Unranked Walker and Darlington also are top-15 programs in the private division. North Cobb Christian and Christian Heritage have split with each other, but St. Francis has played neither, as they are in different sub-regions that will come together for the first time this week. St. Francis has made the state semifinals for five straight seasons and won in 2014 and 2015. The Knights’ three leading scorers this season are sophomores, including top-scorer Dwon Odom, who has offers from Georgia Tech, Virginia and others. North Cobb has made five straight quarterfinals. Christian Heritage is new in the state-contending game.
Region 4-AAAAAA (at Mundy’s Mill) – Lots of pedigree in this region, which contains No. 1 Lovejoy, No. 4 Forest Park, No. 10 Tucker and unranked Stephenson. Lovejoy, a semifinalist last season, is in position to win its first state title. Forest Park has made three straight semifinals and five final fours in the past six seasons. Tucker was a state runner-up in 2016 and champion in 2014. Stephenson has won three state titles, most recently in 2015.
Region 8-AAAAA (at Flowery Branch and Johnson-Gainesville) – This region has No. 1 Buford and No. 3 Flowery Branch, who have byes until Friday’s semifinals and are expected to meet in Saturday afternoon’s championship game. Buford, the reigning state champion, has won all three of their meetings this season. Buford’s Tory Ozment has signed with Michigan State. Flowery Branch wing Taniyah Worth has signed with Alabama.
Region 8-AA (at Banks County and Putnam County) – No. 2 Putnam County, No. 6 Banks County and No. 8 Rabun County give this northeast Georgia region three top-10 teams, and fourth-place Elbert County has delivered Putnam’s only region loss. Rabun County was the Class AA runner-up last season, and Putnan County has made the semifinals two of the past four seasons. The championship will be played Friday night at Putnam County.
Region 3-AAA (at multiple sites) – No. 3 Beach and No. 6 Johnson-Savannah played for the AAA title last season, with Beach winning. Both have made the Class AAA final four the past two seasons (Beach the past four). Johnson has beaten Beach both times they’ve played this season, but those are Beach’s only losses, so Beach remains higher in the rankings. Their third meeting is expected to be Friday night at New Hampstead.
Region 5-A (at multiple sites) – Holy Innocents’, ranked No. 1, rolled through the region schedule fairly easily. The same might occur in the region tournament. But it’s an exceptionally strong field that includes No. 3 Wesleyan, No. 4 Our Lady of Mercy and No. 10 Eagle’s Landing Christian. Wesleyan beat Holy Innocents’ for the state title last season but is 0-2 vs. the Golden Bears this season. Landmark Christian, Galloway and Paideia also are good. Top players here include Georgia-signee Kaila Hubbard of Holy Innocents’, Florida State-signee Morgan Jones of Our Lady and Old Dominion-bound Amaya Register of Wesleyan. The quarterfinals through the finals will be played at Holy Innocents’.