Class AAAAAAA blog: Norcross hosts 4-game showcase; look at all 16 region races
Norcross’ boys basketball team is only 15-7 and ranked No. 7 in Class AAAAAAA with a week left in the regular season, but this is a team to watch again in the state playoffs, as always. Norcross has played eight of its 22 games against out-of-state opponents and recently scored an impressive-to-say-the-least 75-65 victory over Roselle Catholic of New Jersey, the No. 21 team in the country in the MaxPreps’ Xcellent 25 rankings.
Norcross will add to its out-of-state exposure on Saturday as the host school for the Peachtree Corners Invitational. Norcross will play Gray Collegiate, the No. 1-ranked team in South Carolina’s Class AA.
Wheeler, ranked No. 6 in AAAAAAA, will play Washington, D.C., power Gonzaga.
Also attending are Class AAA No. 2 Greater Atlanta Christian to face North Carolina Class AAAA defending champion Independence of Charlotte, and Class AAAAA No. 1 Buford to face River View, the No. 1 team in South Carolina’s AAAA.
Some of the marquee players will include Kyle Sturdivant (signed with Southern Cal) and Brandon Boston (five-star junior) of Norcross, Marcus Watson (Oklahoma State) of Buford, Malcolm Wilson (Georgetown) of Ridge View and Juwan Gary (Alabama) of Gray Academy.
Recommended for you
Recommended for you
Recommended for you
3:30 p.m. – Greater Atlanta Christian vs. Independence (N.C.)
5 p.m. – Buford vs Ridge View (S.C.)
6:30 p.m. – Wheeler vs Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.)
8 – Norcross vs Gray Collegiate (S.C.)
Region races coming to a close
Here’s a look at how each region race is unfolding with about eight days left in the regular season. Region tournaments ultimately will determine state-playoff qualifiers and seeds, of course.
BOYS: Norcross-Meadowcreek on Feb. 1 is the best game left.
Region 1 – Tift County (14-7, 4-0) and Camden County (14-6, 3-1) will play at Tift on Feb. 1 perhaps to decide the No. 1 seed in this four-team region. Tift won their first meeting 70-63 on Jan. 11. It’s unusual for Camden to be a contender. The school hasn’t won a state-playoff game since 1986.
Region 2 – Third-ranked East Coweta (21-1, 7-1) has the region won if the Indians can finish strong against low-end teams Campbell and Newnan. It’s a region with No. 5 Pebblebrook, No. 6 Wheeler and Westlake, which has appeared in the top 10, as well.
Region 3 – McEachern is ranked No. 1 in AAAAAAA and No. 1 or No. 2 in most every national rankings. McEachern will clinch the No. 1 seed with a victory over unranked Marietta (14-8, 5-2) at home Friday night.
Region 4 – Unranked Roswell (19-4, 8-0) has clinched the No. 1 seed.
Region 5 – Good race happening here. Milton beat Lambert 73-52 on Tuesday. Malachi Martin scored 25 points. Donaven Hairston had 19 points, seven assists, four steals and four rebounds. Milton had lost to Lambert 71-66 in overtime on Dec. 14. Both are 6-1 in region play but unranked.
Region 6 – No. 9 Discovery (19-3, 9-0) plays second-place and unranked Peachtree Ridge (16-6, 7-2) on Feb. 1, but the race for the No. 1 seed probably will be over by then. Discovery, a 4-year-old school in Gwinnett County, returned all starters from its 11-15 team and is virtually assured of its first state-playoff berth.
Region 7 – No. 7 Norcross travels to No. 2 Meadowcreek (18-4, 10-0) on Friday, Feb. 1., in a rematch of the 2018 state-championship game won by Meadowcreek after Norcross had beaten the Mustangs twice in the regular season and once in the region tournament. Meadowcreek beat Norcross 63-55 on Dec. 10. This is easily the best boys game remaining on the regular-season slate. Meadowcreek’s Jalen Benjamin (signed with UAB), Jamir Chaplin (South Florida) and Damian Dunn (Temple) are signed seniors.
Region 8 – No. 4 Grayson (20-2, 7-0) can clinch the No. 1 seed with a victory over Shiloh (14-7, 6-2) on Friday night. Grayson won the first meeting 61-59 in overtime on Jan. 4.
GIRLS: All eight first-place teams are ranked, and only one (Norcross) has lost a region game.
Region 1 – No. 6 Colquitt County (17-2, 4-0) has clinched the No. 1 seed.
Region 2 – No. 1 Westlake (20-0, 7-0) is home on Tuesday against No. 8 Pebblebrook (18-3, 7-1). Westlake won the first meeting 75-50 on Jan. 11. Westlake has won 39 straight games not counting its post-season loss in the GEICO national championship last year. The Lions start five underclassmen on the current 20-0 squad led by sophomore Rachel Johnson, who averages 16.2 points and 9.3 rebounds.
Region 3 – No 4 North Cobb (20-1, 6-0) plays at unranked Hillgrove (15-6, 6-1) on Friday night to sort out first place. North Cobb won their first meeting 46-44. North Cobb won its first 17 games before losing to Class A power Wesleyan on Jan. 12.
Region 4 – No. 5 Cherokee (20-3, 8-0) plays at unranked Roswell (17-6, 7-1) on Friday night. Cherokee won the first meeting 61-34 on Jan. 8.
Region 5 – No. 9 North Forsyth (17-4, 7-0) plays at unranked and second-place Forsyth Central (14-8, 5-2) on Friday night. North Forsyth won the first meeting 57-33 on Jan. 15.
Region 6 – Expect No. 2 Collins Hill (21-1, 10-0) to clinch the No. 1 seed with a victory over North Gwinnett (9-12, 4-5) on Friday night.
Region 7 – This is the only region in which the first-place has lost a region game. That occurred when No. 7 Brookwood (15-6, 7-2) defeated No. 10 Norcross (14-9, 9-1) 54-44 last week. But Norcross is expected to win out, so these teams that split their regular-season games won’t renew hostilities until the region tournament with Norcross as the No. 1 seed.
Region 8 – No. 3 Grayson (20-2, 7-0) plays at Rockdale County (13-9, 5-2) on Friday, Feb. 1, but Grayson likely will clinch the No. 1 seed with victories over Shiloh and South Gwinnett before that.