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Postseason run intensifies for local teams
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If you don’t like the postseason, then this isn’t the week for you.

Today kicks off a week full of end-of-the-season tournaments that starts with Class AAA golf tournaments in Columbus and the final day of the Region 7-AAA boys track meet, and concludes Friday and Saturday with the start of the state baseball playoffs. Sandwiched between those events is the state soccer tournament that contain both the Gainesville boys and girls and Habersham Central boys.

But before the Raiders (15-3), Lady Red Elephants (11-5) and Red Elephants (15-0) play the second round Tuesday, the Johnson and Lumpkin County boys and the Gainesville girls will travel to two separate courses to compete in the Class AAA golf tournament in Columbus.

The Knights are coming off one of their best performances of the year, shooting a team-low 299 to win the Region 7-AAA title April 22 at Achasta Golf Course in Dahlonega. The Indians, who finished second with a score of 306, will join Johnson at Maple Ridge Golf Club, a 6,600-yard, par-72 course in Columbus.

“We survived,” Lumpkin County coach Jeff Fleming said after the region tournament. “We played pretty good golf, and now we’re looking forward to going to state and seeing what we can do there.”

By shooting a score less than 300, the Knights are capable of winning a state tournament, but they’ll have to surpass teams like Columbus, Spalding and St. Pius X, which are all ranked higher in the Georgia High School Golf Coaches Association’s pre-tournament poll.

While the boys are battling the course at Maple Ridge, the Gainesville girls will be at the 6,000-yard, par-71 Country Club of Columbus trying to finish the season on a high note. Gainesville, the No. 7 team in Class AAA according to the GHSGCA poll, will be faced with tough competition in Lambert, Franklin County and Oconee County.

The playoffs continue Tuesday with the third-ranked Red Elephants playing host to Riverwood (14-4-1), which beat Stephens County 4-1 in the first round. Gainesville should be the favorite to move on, as it has been dominating all season and have outscored its opponents 72-8. The Gainesville girls face Riverwood on Wednesday.

Habersham Central has a tougher task in Marist (13-4-2), the third-ranked team and defending state champions in Class AAAA. The Raiders opened the tournament with a 5-0 win over Northgate, while Marist, which will play host to the game, defeated Rome, 7-1.

Both soccer games are scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday.

If the start of the week wasn’t enough action for you, then Friday’s your day when the state baseball playoffs begin.

Six area teams embark on the quest for a state championship with Gainesville and White County competing in Class AAA, Jefferson, Buford and Union County in Class AA and Lakeview Academy in Class A.

The Red Elephants (24-1) and Dragons (22-3) are the only two teams that will play host in the first round, as Buford (18-7), Commerce (12-12), Union County (18-7), White County (19-6) and Lakeview (14-7) all finished as the No. 3 or No. 4 seed.
The first round (best-of-three) matchups are: Gainesville vs. Lakeview Fort-Oglethorpe (17-8); Jefferson vs. Crawford County (13-10); Lakeview Academy vs. Landmark Christian (24-1)/Walker (19-5); Commerce vs. Landmark Christian (24-1)/Walker (19-5); Union County vs. Callaway (17-7); Buford vs. Adairsville (21-5); and White County vs. Cartersville (19-6).

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