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Area teams open region tournaments in good shape
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Monday, Feb. 11
Region 8-AAAAA tournament
At Apalachee
Flowery Branch boys vs. Heritage, 7:30 p.m.
Region 8-AAAA tournament
At Johnson
Lumpkin County girls vs. Stephens County, 4 p.m.
Chestatee girls vs. Walnut Grove, 8:30 p.m.
Region 8-A tournament
At Towns County
Towns County boys vs. George Walton, 8:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Feb. 12
Region 8-AAAAA tournament
At Apalachee
Gainesville girls vs. Cedar Shoals, 4 p.m.
Flowery Branch girls vs. Apalachee/Winder-Barrow winner, 7 p.m.
Region 8-AAAA tournament
At Johnson
Chestatee boys vs. Stephens County, 7 p.m.
Johnson boys vs. Lumpkin County, 8:30 p.m.
Region 7-AAA tournament
At Buford
White County boys vs. Dawson County, 6 p.m.
Banks County boys vs. Buford, 7:30 p.m.
At North Hall
West Hall boys vs. East Hall, 6 p.m.
North Hall boys vs. Fannin County, 7:30 p.m.
Region 8-AA tournament
At Greene County
Jefferson boys vs. Oglethorpe County, 5:30 p.m.
Region 8-A tournament
At Towns County
Towns County girls vs. Prince Avenue/Tallulah Falls winner, 7 p.m.
Lakeview boys vs. Hebron Christian/Prince Avenue winner, 8:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Feb. 13

Region 7-AAA tournament
At Dawson County
Banks County girls vs. Fannin County, 6 p.m.
East Hall girls vs. Dawson County, 7:30 p.m.
At Buford
White County girls vs. North Hall, 6 p.m.
West Hall girls vs. Buford, 7:30 p.m.
Region 8-AA tournament
At Greene County
Jefferson girls vs. Oglethorpe County, 7 p.m.
Riverside vs. Rabun County, 8:30 p.m.
Region 8-A tournament
At Towns County
Commerce girls vs. Providence, 4 p.m.
Lakeview girls vs. Hebron Christian, 7 p.m.
Commerce boys vs. Athens Academy, 8:30 p.m.

Friday, Feb. 15
Region 8-AAAA tournament
At Johnson
Girls consolation, 4 p.m.
Boys consolation, 5:30 p.m.
Girls championship, 7 p.m.
Boys championship, 8:30 p.m.
Region 8-AA tournament
At Greene County
Union County girls vs. Rabun County/Washington-Wilkes winner, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 16
Region 8-AAAAA tournament
At Apalachee
Girls consolation, 4 p.m.
Boys consolation, 5:30 p.m.
Girls championship, 7 p.m.
Boys championship, 8:30 p.m.
Region 7-AAA tournament
At North Hall
Girls consolation, 3 p.m.
Boys consolation, 4:30 p.m.
Girls championship, 6 p.m.
Boys championship, 7:30 p.m.
Region 8-AA tournament
At Greene County
Girls consolation, 4 p.m.
Boys consolation, 5:30 p.m.
Girls championship, 7 p.m.
Boys championship, 8:30 p.m.
Region 8-A tournament
At Hebron Christian
Girls consolation, 4 p.m.
Boys consolation, 5:30 p.m.
Girls championship, 7 p.m.
Boys championship, 8:30 p.m.

In high school basketball, a stellar regular season doesn’t mean much if it’s not backed up by strong play at the year’s end. By the same token, a disappointing two-plus months can be all but wiped off the books by just a couple of wins when region tournaments roll around. 

It’s that time of year for area hoops. Across Northeast Georgia, teams will be battling this week for playoff berths and favorable positions in the upcoming state tournaments, and many local teams are primed to play for titles come the weekend.

REGION 8-AAAAA: The Gainesville boys closed the season with a flourish and have been rewarded. The Red Elephants boast the region’s longest winning streak after winning their final eight games of the regular season and emerged from a four-way tie for first place with the No. 1 seed entering this week’s tournament.

Gainesville (16-9) will take on the Flowery Branch/Heritage winner on Tuesday with a berth in the state playoffs on the line.

The Falcons (7-16) will need two wins to reach state, starting with tonight’s game against Heritage.

On the girls side, Flowery Branch (22-3) cruised to the No. 1 seed with a 15-1 mark in region play blemished only by a loss to No. 2 seed Cedar Shoals after the Lady Falcons had already claimed the regular season crown.

Flowery Branch will open play at 7 p.m. Tuesday against the winner of tonight’s Apalachee/Winder-Barrow game.
The Gainesville girls are seeded seventh and will open play at 4 p.m. Tuesday against Cedar Shoals.

Both teams need one win to earn spot in the state playoffs.

Region 8-AAAAA semifinals are scheduled for Friday and the finals are Saturday. All games will be played at Apalachee High School in Winder.

REGION 8-AAAA: The 8-AAAA tournament tipped off Saturday with the boys and girls play-in games, and now Johnson High School will host the final three rounds of play.

The Knights (21-4) are the top seed on the boys side after finishing off an unbeaten run through the region with a 90-70 win over No. 3 seed Eastside last week. Johnson, which began the season with eight straight wins, enters the tournament on a season-best 11-game winning streak and will face Lumpkin County at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday needing a win to secure a playoff berth.

The Chestatee boys (13-10) are the No. 4 seed and will face No. 5 Stephens County at 7 p.m. Tuesday with a spot in state at stake. Like Johnson, the War Eagles have played some of their best basketball in the second half of the season and enter the week as winners of 11 of their last 13 games.

The Johnson girls were eliminated with a loss at Walnut Grove on Saturday, but the Chestatee girls will carry the torch for Hall County as the No. 1 seed. The Lady War Eagles (20-5) have won four straight and need a win over Walnut Grove at 8:30 tonight to return to the state playoffs.

The semifinals will be held Thursday, with the finals on Friday.

REGION 7-AAA: The boys race has been heated throughout the season and fittingly wasn’t decided until a coin flip on Friday. North Hall (23-2) took the No. 1 seed after forcing a tie by defeating No. 2 seed Buford (19-6) and won the coin toss that followed. Now, the Trojans and Wolves begin the tournament on opposite ends of the bracket and seemingly headed for a third meeting in the finals. But neither team should expect an easy path to Saturday night, as each of the region’s top-five seeds have shown the ability to pull the occasional upset.

On Tuesday night at Buford, the Wolves will take on No. 7 Banks County, while No. 6 White County will face No. 3 Dawson County. Meanwhile, at North Hall, the Trojans will take on No. 8 Fannin County, and No. 4 East Hall meets No. 5 West Hall.

The girls tournament opens Wednesday with No. 1 Buford hosting No. 8 West Hall and No. 4 North Hall taking on No. 5 White County, also at Buford. Meanwhile at Dawson County, the No. 2 Lady Tigers will host No. 7 East Hall, and No. 3 Banks County will meet No. 6 Fannin County.

The semfinals and finals will be held Friday and Saturday at North Hall.

REGION 8-AA: The second-seeded Jefferson boys will take on No. 7 Oglethorpe County at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, while the Lady Dragons enter as the No. 3 seed and will face No. 6 Oglethorpe County at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
Riverside, the No. 6 seed on the boys side, closes out the first round facing No. 3 Rabun County at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, and No. 5 Union County will take on No. 4 Washington-Wilkes at 5:30 p.m.

Each team will need one win to earn a state playoff berth, and all games will be held at Greene County High School in Greensboro.

The Union County girls have already earned their spot in the state playoffs, taking a bye to the semifinals with the region’s No. 1 seed. The Lady Panthers await the winner of Rabun County/Washington-Wilkes on Friday night.

REGION 8-A: The Lakeview boys (18-6) cruised to the No. 1 seed in the North subregion with a 10-2 region record and showed their championship potential with a 61-60 win over Athens Christian — the South’s No. 1 seed — on Thursday.

Under new GHSA rules for this season, the Class A state playoffs will be split into 16-team public- and private-school brackets. Only the region champion is guaranteed a spot in the postseason; the remaining teams will be determined by a power rankings system. At the outset of the Region 8-A tournament, the Lakeview boys are ranked No. 15 in the state, likely making a deep run -- if not a championship -- imperative for the Lions' state playoff hopes. 

The Lakeview girls enter as the No. 2 seed from the North subregion and will open tournament play at 7 p.m. Wednesday against Hebron Christian, the South’s No. 3 seed.

Games will be played at Towns County through Wednesday; the semifinals and finals will be held at Hebron Christian on Friday and Saturday, respectively.

Regional events