Top-ranked Buford boys, Griffin girls face tough roads to title
The Buford boys and Griffin girls enter the state tournament as the No. 1 ranked teams in Class AAAAA. But the trek to the title game won’t be easy for either team, who will be tested early and had the misfortune of landing in a difficult side of the bracket.
Buford (24-2) won the Region 8 championship by beating No. 2-ranked Cedar Shoals for the third time this season – on the Jags’ home court to boot. The Wolves open the tournament with Lithia Springs (15-11), where victory would pit them against the winner of the game between Dutchtown (19-7) and New Hampstead (16-8). A third-round match could be against No. 3 Warner Robins (23-3).
Griffin (25-1) opens against Veterans (11-14), but would then face the winner of the game between No. 8 Villa Rica (25-3) and Arabia Mountain (19-5), which spent much of the season in the top 10. Awaiting in the third round would likely be Maynard Jackson.
The addition of another classification this year has further weakened the playoffs and allowed for more mediocre teams to be rewarded with a trip to the state tournament.
In the boys tournament, eight of the 32 teams have losing records and three others are .500. Griffin brings a 6-20 record into the playoffs. Veterans is 11-12 and earned the right to host a first-round playoff game.
In the girls tournament, there are four teams with a losing record and one team at .500. The worse record belongs to South Effingham at 7-21.