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High school notebook: Officials finalizing plans for regions
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After Tuesday’s meeting of the Georgia High School Association in Macon, the long reclassification process for Georgia schools has finally come to a close.

Individual regions, however, are still finalizing plans for athletic competition for the coming year.

The primary issue at hand is whether to split into subregions or to play games in a straight region schedule. For three regions, the answer is simple.

Region 8-A, which includes area schools Lakeview Academy, Commerce and Towns County, is comprised of 14 schools. Any region of 12 or more is required to split into subregions.

On the other side of the spectrum, Regions 8-AA (including Jefferson, Riverside Military and Union County) and 7-AAA (North Hall, White County, Dawson County, Banks County, Buford, East Hall and West Hall) are made up of only eight teams and will be required to play a straight region schedule.

Region 7-AAA officials will meet on Jan. 25 to finalize the change.

Chestatee football coach Stan Luttrell said that principals and athletic directors from Region 8-AAAA met on Wednesday to finalize their plan to play a straight region schedule. The region also includes Lumpkin County and Johnson, the latter of which is planning on playing a non-region football schedule.

Region 8-AAAAA finalized its plan to play a straight region schedule on Thursday, Gainesville football coach Bruce Miller said. Football teams in that region will play two non-region games to begin the season and begin their region schedules for their third games.

FLOWERY BRANCH SWIMMERS HEADED TO STATE: The Flowery Branch boys swimming team has already qualified three relay teams for the state competition, and the team is hoping to add more to the list.

The boys 200 medley relay, 200 freestyle relay and 400 freestyle relay teams have qualified. Zach Miller-Hogg has qualified individually in three events (50 free, 100 free and 200 free) and is looking to pick up two more.

The girls team has qualified in the 200 freestyle relay and hope to qualify in two more relays in time for the state competition.

Alex Miller is just two tenths of a second away from qualifying in the 50 free.

GAINESVILLE BOYS IN RACE FOR REGION 8-AAA: The Red Elephants boys basketball team (11-5, 5-1) is currently one game behind region leader Walnut Grove (14-2, 5-0) in the loss column.

Walnut Grove, ranked No. 5 in the state for Class AAA, beat Gainesville 59-49 last Saturday. The two meet again on Jan. 24.

With plenty of games left on the schedule, the race is far from settled. West Hall (8-9, 3-2) and Monroe Area (10-4, 2-2) still remain firmly in the race.

West Hall and Gainesville meet on Saturday in Oakwood.

HOLLIS RETURNS FOR JOHNSON: After missing six games with a meniscus injury, Johnson’s Matt Hollis returned to the court against Gainesville on Tuesday, scoring 18 points in a 61-52 loss to Gainesville.

Johnson (7-9, 0-4 Region 8-AAA South) faces Walnut Grove at 8:30 tonight in Oakwood.

MILESTONES: Dawson County girls basketball coach Steve Sweat notched his 400th career victory with a 47-31 win over Lumpkin County last Saturday.

“I have been blessed through the years to have great players, work for and with great people, and have had unbelievable support from my family,” he said. “It is very rewarding to be able to say I had my present players’ and their mothers’ help in getting the 400 wins.”

North Hall senior Mary Kate Rushton also reach a milestone, scoring her 1,000th point in a 55-46 win over Chestatee last Friday. She joined her sister, McKenna, who reached 1,000 earlier this season.

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