Now that all of the region tournaments are complete and the champions have been crowned, the 12 surviving area teams are now preparing for their first round games in the state tournament that begins with boys action on Friday night.
The boys from Region 7-AAA have the toughest first-round opponents with three of the top five teams in the state coming out of Region 5-AAA.
Region champion and Class AAA’s eighth-ranked team, Flowery Branch has the most favorable matchup with the Falcons (24-3) taking on Region 5-AAA No. 4 seed Southside (18-9) on Friday (time to be determined) in the first round. But from there, the matchups get tough for the Region 7-AAA boys.
Arguably, region runner-up East Hall will have the toughest matchup, as the Vikings (22-6) will play host to top-ranked South Atlanta (27-2) at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the first round. The Vikings are playing at home, but South Atlanta has one of the premier centers in the state in 6-foot-9 junior Brian Favors, who is ranked as the No. 1 prospect in the class of 2009 by Scout.com.
The two lower seeds from Region 7-AAA, Chestatee and Gainesville will play on the road in the opening round, with the War Eagles (22-7) taking on fifth-ranked Blessed Trinity (26-3) and the Red Elephants (15-13) taking on the top-seed from Region 5-AAA, third-ranked Dunwoody (24-3). Both games will be played at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
On the girls side of Region 7-AAA, the region champion Lady Red Elephants of Gainesville (23-5) will play host to Southside (22-6) at 6 p.m. Saturday. Seventh-ranked Gainesville is riding a seven-game winning streak heading in to the playoffs, while the Lasers of Southside have won seven of their last eight games.
Region runner-up North Hall (19-10) will play host to Westminster (21-6) on Saturday night, at a time to be determined.
No. 10-ranked East Hall (20-6), the third seed out of Region 7-AAA will travel to Dunwoody (18-10) at 4 p.m. Saturday for its first round matchup.
In Class A, the Lakeview Academy boys will play host to Bremen (7-17) at 7 p.m. Friday, while the Lady Lions begin the tournament on Saturday at Gordon Lee (22-5).
Two area teams will participate in the Class AA state tournament. Dawson County (21-8) will travel to Greater Atlanta Christian (25-3) either Friday or Saturday, in the boys bracket, while Buford (22-6) will travel to Region 8-AA No. 2 seed, Putnam County (14-10) on Saturday (time to be determined) in the girls bracket.