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Gainesville, West Hall, Flowery Branch among teams seeking to prolong run in GHSA state playoffs
Lakeview Academy teams hoping to top rivals and secure spot in second round
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Gainesville’s Tae Turner (2) shoots the ball during Saturday’s Region 8-AAAAA tournament game against Cedar Shoals at Winder-Barrow High School. - photo by Erin O. Smith

Schedule

Friday’s games

Girls

Class A first-round game

Lakeview Academy girls 60, George Walton 33

Second-round games

Class AAA

West Hall girls 60, Washington County 48

Laney 64, Dawson County girls 45

Class AAAA

Buford girls 59, Mt. Zion 48

Class AAAAA

Flowery Branch girls 59, Northside- Columbus 41

Columbus 47, Gainesville girls 42

Boys

Class A first-round game

Lakeview Academy boys 82, Hebron Christian Academy 76 (OT)

Saturday’s games

Class AAA

Westside-Augusta 79, East Hall 59

Central (Macon) 69, Banks County boys 67

Laney 91, Lumpkin County boys 45

Class AAAAA

McIntosh 87, Gainesville boys 84 

 

The state playoffs are a marathon, not a sprint, for area basketball teams looking to reach Macon. While Lakeview Academy’s basketball teams are just beginning their journey in Class A, nine other local teams have already picked up postseason wins and have their eyes set on the second round. 

A victory on Friday or Saturday will mean a spot in the state quarterfinals for many teams, an honor that would rewrite history books for schools like Flowery Branch, West Hall or Lumpkin County.

Meanwhile, traditional powers like Buford, Gainesville and East Hall are seeking to prove they still belong in the tournament conversation.

Class A

Lakeview Academy girls vs. George Walton

When: 6 p.m. Friday

Where: Lakeview Academy, 796 Lakeview Dr, Gainesville

Records: Lakeview Academy girls (22-6, Region 8-A champions), George Walton (13-12)

Last meeting: Lakeview has already pinned two wins over George Walton, including a 12-point victory at home and a 15-point win in the 8-A tournament semifinals. 

Game notes: Lakeview is riding a nine-game winning streak dating back to Jan. 19… Lakeview coach John Carrick said his team completed a light shooting session on Thursday in order to rest up and focus on film… Carrick said George Walton will be led by Zalandria Hill, who he called a D-II talent… “She can shoot and penetrate,” said Carrick of Hill. “(George Walton) can run eight or nine people in and out constantly, so you’ve got to be paying attention. Anytime the horn blows, things change.” … Lakeview’s Hanna Grogan sank three second-half 3-pointers on her way to a game-high 18 points for the Lady Lions in last week’s region title game against Athens Christian.

Lakeview Academy boys vs. Hebron Christian Academy

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Where: Lakeview Academy, 796 Lakeview Dr, Gainesville

Records: Lakeview Academy boys (24-4, Region 8-A champions), Hebron Christian (20-8)

Last meeting: Lakeview has already tallied three wins this season over Hebron, including the most recent on Feb. 13 in the region championship game, where the Lions put up a 27-point victory at Athens Academy.

Game notes: Lakeview is already in the midst of an historic season, but coach Todd Cottrell isn’t ready to rest yet. The Lions have already topped the single-season wins record (23 in 2012), and are seeking the program’s first win in the Round of 16. … Cottrell said his team is treating Friday’s matchup as a “survive and advance” situation. … The Lions have won their last 10 games, and are 10-2 at home.

Class AAA

No. 9 West Hall girls vs. Washington County

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Where: West Hall High School, 5500 McEver Rd, Oakwood

Records: West Hall (20-8, Region 7-AAA champions), Washington County (22-7) 

Last meeting: The two teams have never met.

Game notes: The hottest team in Class AAA, the Lady Spartans are on a mission to make an impact in the AAA state playoffs. West Hall has won 11 straight heading into tonight’s matchup … The Spartans are back in the state playoffs for the first time since 2005, and won their first region title since 2002. … Sophomore Anna McKendree (22 points per game) has been the engine to West Hall’s offense, scoring 40 in a blowout victory over Adairsville in the first round. … Washington County beat Jackson in the first round to advance to Friday’s game. … The visiting Golden Hawks are 7-3 on the road. … Washington County fell in overtime to Calhoun during the second round of the 2014-15 Class AAA playoffs. … West Hall coach Bryan Richerson said his team will want to key in on senior Nia Johnson and sophomore Nigeria Jordan, who he described as standouts. “They’re quick, they can get to the basket and get out in transition. It’s going to be a tough contest for us tomorrow night,” said Richerson.

Dawson County girls at Laney

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Where: Laney High School, 1339 Laney Walker Blvd., Augusta

Records: Dawson County (24-4), Laney (24-4)

Last meeting: The two teams have never met.

Game notes: Defending state champion Laney is riding a 13-game winning streak dating back to Jan. 20. … The Wildcats are averaging 68.6 points per game, and shooting 48 percent from the field. Laney also averages 17.3 steals and 7.3 blocks per contest. … Dawson County topped Calhoun to reach Friday’s game, while Laney trounced Central (Macon) by 40 points. … Dawson County fell to West Hall in the 7-AAA title game.

Class AAAA

No. 3 Buford girls at No. 4 Mt. Zion (Jonesboro)

When: 6 p.m. Friday

Where: Mt. Zion High School, 2535 Mt. Zion Pkwy, Jonesboro

Records: Buford (23-5), Mt. Zion (25-4)

Last meeting: The two teams have never met.

Game notes: Defending state champion Buford beat Whitewater in the first round to advance to Friday’s game, while Mt. Zion topped Monroe at home. … The hosts are riding a 5-game win streak. … The Lady Wolves suffered an upset loss to North Oconee in last week’s region title game. … Buford is 6-3 on the road, while Mt. Zion is 11-1 in Jonesboro.

Class AAAAA

No. 4 Flowery Branch girls vs No. 9 Northside-Columbus

When: 6 p.m. Friday

Where: Flowery Branch High School, 6603 Spout Springs Rd, Flowery Branch

Records: Flowery Branch (28-1), Northside-Columbus (20-7)

Last meeting: The two teams have never met.

Game notes: The Lady Falcons are riding the wave of a 12-game winning streak, and are enjoying their most successful season in program history. … Led by first-year coach Courtney Newton, an alumna of Flowery Branch, the Falcons have secured their first region title in school history and their first Lanierland crown since 2003. … Flowery Branch earned its first playoff victory since 2010 with a 58-50 win over Lithia Springs earlier this week. Northside nipped Woodland 53-51 to reach the second round. … Northside fell in the second round of last year’s state playoffs. … The Patriots are led in scoring by juniors Jasmine Herndon (12.3 points per game) and Jessica Herndon (9.1).

Gainesville girls at Columbus

When: 6 p.m. Friday

Where: Columbus High School, 1700 Cherokee Ave, Columbus 

Records: Gainesville (19-6), Columbus (22-5) 

Last meeting: The two teams have never met.

Game notes: The Lady Red Elephants completed a thrilling comeback from eight points down in the fourth quarter earlier this week to top Hiram in the first round of the 2015-16 state playoffs. … Gainesville made it to the state quarterfinals during last year’s playoff run. … The Blue Jackets fell in the first round of last year’s state tournament. … Columbus is averaging 65.5 points per game so far this season on 49 percent shooting. Coach Joe Cherrone’s team is averaging 10.1 steals per game.

Saturday’s games

Class AAA

No. 10 East Hall boys vs. Westside (Augusta)

When: 6 p.m. Saturday

Where: East Hall High School, 3534 E Hall Rd, Gainesville

Records: East Hall (21-7, Region 7-AAA champions), Westside-Augusta (17-5)

Last meeting: The two teams have never met.

Game notes: East Hall is playing some of its most fluid basketball so far this season. The Vikings knocked down 17 3-pointers in this week’s rout of Ringgold in the first round, and will look to play a similar style against visiting Westside. … East Hall is on a 6-game winning streak. … Westside fell to Laney in last week’s Region 3-AAA championship game. … The Patriots are powered by leading scorer Damontrez Hawes (18.3 points per game). … Westside defeated Rutland in the opening round to reach Saturday’s game. … Westside did not qualify for last year’s state tournament. … East Hall fell to Laney in the state quarterfinals during the 2014-15 season.

No. 9 Banks County boys at No. 12 Central

When: 4 p.m. Saturday

Where: Central High School, 2155 Napier Ave, Macon

Records: Banks County (24-4), Central (26-2)

Last meeting: The two teams have never met.

Game notes: Zez Steeple led Banks County with a season-high 42 points to push the Leopards past Coahulla Creek in the first round of the state tournament. … The Leopards earned their best start since the late 1960s, thanks to a core group of seniors in Steeple, Zac Orr, Kendrick Simmons and Trevae Cain. … The Chargers are riding a 19-game winning streak dating back to Dec. 23. … Central defeated Westside (Macon) in its region title game. … Central beat Josey earlier this week in the first round of the state playoffs.

Lumpkin County boys at No. 1 Laney

When: 6 p.m. Saturday

Where: Laney High School, 1339 Laney Walker Blvd, Augusta

Records: Lumpkin County (19-10), Laney (25-2)

Last meeting: The two teams have never met.

Game notes: Former Johnson High coach Jeff Steele has already helped to set new records at his new home in Dahlonega. The Indians have set a record for most wins in a season, earned their first home state playoff game and first trip to the second round of a state tournament, according to Steele. … “It’s been really fun, we’ve been really blessed,” said Steele. … To get to the second round, Lumpkin County had to erase an 11-point gap in the fourth quarter against first-round opponent North Murray. … Laney is averaging 71.9 points per game on 50 percent shooting from the floor. … The Wildcats are averaging 9 steals a game, and are led by Christian Keeling (24 points per game) and Zephaniah Jasper (20.3 ppg) in scoring. … Meanwhile, the Indians are led by seniors Jack Howard (21 ppg) and Brandon Zarate (16 ppg). … Laney made it to the state semifinals before falling to Morgan County in last year’s playoffs.

Class AAAAA

No. 9 Gainesville boys at No. 5 McIntosh

When: TBA Saturday

Where: McIntosh High School, 201 Walt Banks Rd, Peachtree City

Records: Gainesville (21-5), McIntosh (27-2)

Last meeting: The two teams have never met.

Game notes: Fresh off of a hard-fought battle against first-round opponent Villa Rica, Gainesville is seeking its most complete game yet to beat fifth-ranked McIntosh. … The Chiefs topped Mundy’s Mill for the 4-AAAAA championship, and thrashed Carver 100-69 in the first round. … The Red Elephants fell in last year’s second round to Jones County. … Georgia State signee D’Marcus Simonds is the engine for Gainesville, but Red Elephants coach Benjie Wood said he has a game plan in place to try and contain the McIntosh offense. “They’ve got two big post players, an explosive point guard and a shooting guard that shoots like Steph Curry,” said Wood. “It’s about stepping between the lines and having the players on both teams perform.” … Prior to Gainesville’s loss in the 8-AAAAA title game, Gainesville was riding a 7-game winning streak. … McIntosh has won 17 straight dating back to Dec. 30. … The Chiefs are led in scoring by Jordan Lyons (18.8 points per game) and Will Washington (13.2). McIntosh averages 74.1 points per game on 54 percent shooting.

 

Schedule

Friday’s games

Girls

Class A first-round game

Lakeview Academy girls 60, George Walton 33

Second-round games

Class AAA

West Hall girls 60, Washington County 48

Laney 64, Dawson County girls 45

Class AAAA

Buford girls 59, Mt. Zion 48

Class AAAAA

Flowery Branch girls 59, Northside- Columbus 41

Columbus 47, Gainesville girls 42

Boys

Class A first-round game

Lakeview Academy boys 82, Hebron Christian Academy 76 (OT)

Saturday’s games

Class AAA

Westside-Augusta 79, East Hall 59

Central (Macon) 69, Banks County boys 67

Laney 91, Lumpkin County boys 45

Class AAAAA

McIntosh 87, Gainesville boys 84 

 

Regional events