Lumpkin County at North Hall
Chestatee at White County
Pickens at Gilmer
Johnson at Gainesville
West Hall at East Hall
West Forysth at Flowery Branch
girls start at 7 p.m., boys follow
For area basketball teams, both ends of the respective region or subregion spectrums are foregone conclusions. The top teams in the standings will remain there regardless of the outcomes of tonight’s, the same can be said for the teams at the bottom.
The middle ground, however, houses just enough drama to make tonight’s end of the regular season interesting.
For teams like Riverside, the Gainesville girls and boys and the North Hall boys, nothing but the regular season will be settled tonight.
Each sits atop its respective subregion and will not fall with a loss or rise further with a win.
Lakeview can also be thrown in that boat. The Lions and Lady Lions concluded their seasons Tuesday with wins over Athens Academy, both are No. 2 seeds in Region 8-A and that won’t change no matter what happens with their region foes tonight.
For North Hall (18-6, 11-0 Region 7A-AAA), however, something is still at stake: a chance to remain undefeated in the subregion. The Trojans travel to Lumpkin County tonight to take on the Indians, Region 7A-AAA’s No. 2 seed.
"We feel good about the way the season’s gone," North Hall coach Benjie Wood said. "But we also know that in this region anybody can beat you, so we’re just trying to focus on getting better everyday."
The flip side to those who know their fates are the teams waiting to learn theirs. Depending on the outcome of its game tonight against Gainesville, the Johnson boys could either go into the region tournament as the No. 3 seed or the No. 5 seed.
Seeding in a tournament can mean the difference between playing someone that you’ve beaten twice, or that’s beaten you twice.
Seeding is about confidence and momentum, or a lack thereof.
On the girls’ side of Region 7B-AAA, a Flowery Branch win over West Forsyth tonight would give the Lady Falcons the No. 3 spot behind Gainesville and East Hall going into the region tournament.
"We’ve talked about it, we talked about it after our win (against Johnson) Tuesday night and even last week," Flowery Branch coach Hazel Hall said. "Our girls knew it was critical to win both games this week, it would help us a lot in the tournament."
Flowery Branch (9-14, 4-5) beat the Lady Wolverines (9-12, 5-4) by two points at West Forsyth earlier this season. Another win would also mean avoiding Gainesville in the first rounds of the tournament. A team Hall says her Lady Falcons have a mental block against.
"In every way a win would give us a little better chance at winning," Hall said. "We’ve been trying to convince the girls that they can compete and giving ourselves an opportunity to win is the biggest thing that can come out of tonight."
For the Region 7B-AAA boys, two things are for sure, Gainesville is No. 1 and West Forsyth is No. 6.
For East Hall, which takes on a West Hall team it lost to by 15 earlier this season, tonight’s game is a bittersweet reminder of what might have been.
A forfeit to Flowery Branch and losing a 12-point fourth quarter lead in a loss to West Forsyth has East Hall (11-12, 4-5) battling for a middle-of-the-road seed instead of sitting pretty at No. 2.
"Particularly with the way the region is this year with everybody really being able to beat everybody, seeding is important," East Hall coach Joe Dix said. "We put ourselves in this position by not being able to finish games, even though I take the blame for the forfeit.
"We’ve face adversity this year and hopefully that’s strengthened us for the stretch run."
A West Hall (19-5, 5-4) win tonight at East Hall, accompanied by its season sweep of Flowery Branch (12-11, 5-4), would give the Spartans the No. 2 seed, putting the Falcons at the No. 3 spot.