Region tournament schedule
First round games
at Winder-Barrow High
4S Salem vs. 5N Flowery Branch, 5 p.m.
at Habersham Central High
4S Cedar Shoals vs. 5N Winder-Barrow, 5 p.m.
4N Habersham Central vs. 5S Salem, 6:30 p.m.
3S Heritage vs. 6N Flowery Branch, 8 p.m.
at North Hall
5A Lumpkin County vs. 4B Walnut Grove, 6 p.m.
6B Johnson vs. 3A North Hall, 7:30 p.m.
at Monroe Area
Oconee County vs. 4A Chestatee, 6 p.m.
6A Stephens County vs. 3B Monroe Area, 7:30 p.m.
at Franklin County High
6B Monroe Area vs. 7B Lanier, 4 p.m.
5A White County vs. 4B Johnson, 6 p.m.
Monroe Area/Lanier winner vs. 3A Franklin County, 7:30 p.m.
at Oconee County High
4A Stephens County vs. 5B West Hall, 6 p.m.
6A Lumpkin County vs. 3B Oconee County, 7:30 p.m.
at Elbert County High
5S Jackson County vs. 4N Union County, 4 p.m.
5N Dawson County vs. 4S Hart County, 5:30 p.m.
6S East Jackson vs. 3N East Hall, 7 p.m.
6N Banks County vs. 3S Jefferson, 8:30 p.m.
at Hart County High
5S East Jackson vs. 4N Dawson County, 4 p.m.
5N Banks County vs. 4S Jackson County, 5:30 p.m.
6S North Oconee vs. 3N Union County, 7 p.m.
6N Fannin County vs. 3S Jefferson, 8:30 p.m.
at Commerce High
4S Athens Academy vs. 5S Social Circle, 4 p.m.
4N Tallulah Falls vs. 5S Athens Christian, 7 p.m.
at Commerce High
1S Social Circle vs. 5N Tallulah Falls, 5:30 p.m.
4N Towns County vs. Prince Avenue Christian, 8:30 p.m.
Having a region basketball tournament can be a blessing or curse, depending on what kind of regular season you’ve had.
Teams with a No. 1 or No. 2 seed have the luxury of just needing one playoff win to make it into the postseason, as a result of having a stellar regular season. However, those with a lower seed in the region tournament have the uphill battle of needing two region tournament wins to make the postseason.
Region tournaments across the area with Region 8-AAAA, 8-AAA, 8-AA, 6-AA and 8-A open play across Northeast Georgia today. While No. 1 and No. 2 seeds have the first round bye, No. 3 seeds have the advantage of hosting the opening round.
By the time the region tournament play is complete this weekend, the top four boys and girls teams from each region will be playing in the state playoffs. And, as always, expect the unexpected.
Upsets are always a possibility. Last year, Region 7-AAA North subregion champion Chestatee High’s girls (11-1 in subregion play) were upset by Flowery Branch (a No. 4 seed from the South), thus keeping the Lady War Eagles out of the postseason.
Even though the Flowery Branch boys won five of their final seven games of the season, the Falcons still enter the region tournament as a No. 5 seed. The Falcons play Salem, No. 4 from the South, at 5 p.m. on Tuesday at Winder-Barrow High.
Meanwhile, the Lady Falcons are the sixth seed from the North subregion and play Heritage at 8:30 tonight at Habersham Central.
The West Hall High boys have certainly put themselves in a desirable position. The Spartans (21-4) cruised through the season winning 11 of 12 subregion games.
West Hall also picked up a handful of wins against programs in a higher classification — certainly a benefit when it comes to preparing for a playoff run.
Meanwhile, Gainesville (17-7) also owns a first-round bye. The Red Elephants’ only stumbling blocks in region play were losses to West Hall and Walnut Grove.
In the North subregion, Franklin County ran away with first place, but White County, the second seed, also has a first-round bye as a result of winning a coin flip against North Hall (both 7-3 in subregion play).
In the girls bracket, Walnut Grove didn’t play like a new school and earned an 11-1 subregion record and No. 1 seed to this week’s tournament. Gainesville’s girls secured a No. 2 spot and first-round bye with a win against Johnson last Thursday.
In the North subregion, Chestatee locked up the No. 1 seed with a win against Franklin County last Friday.
The East Hall boys put together another strong regular season.
The Vikings (10-0 in North subregion) ran through the region en route to the subregion championship. Since a 15-point loss to Whitefield Academy on Jan. 22, the Vikings rounded out the regular with eight consecutive subregion victories.
During that span, East Hall also put up two wins against Union County, which took third in the subregion. East Hall faces the Banks County/Jackson County winner at 7 in the quarterfinals on Thursday at Hart County.
The Lakeview Academy boys are always one of the most consistent programs in this region. Lions coach Seth Vining, who won his 700th career game last month, has led this team to the state playoffs in each of his six seasons with the school.
The Lions open up the region tournament against Athens Academy, the No. 3 seed from the south, at 8:30 on Wednesday at Commerce High.
Meanwhile, the Lady Lions, the No. 3 seed from the North, faces Hebron Christian, at 4 p.m. on Wednesday at Commerce.
The Towns County girls are the North subregion’s No. 1 seed and await the Athens Academy/Social Circle winner in the quarterfinals at 7 on Tuesday.
Commerce is a No. 1 seed in the boys’ bracket.
Competition was fierce at the top of this region.
Even with a 9-1 subregion record, the Buford girls enter the region tournament as the No. 2 seed, as the result of losing a coin flip against Greater Atlanta Christian on Sunday.
The Lady Wolves, the defending Class AA state champs, face the Maynard Jackson/Cross Keys winner at 4 p.m. on Thursday at Maynard Jackson High. The Buford boys face the Cross Keys/Blessed Trinity winner at the conclusion of the girls’ game.