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This week: Local basketball teams have tough 2nd-round matchups
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Every team at this point of the high school basketball season is good, but it’s a bit rare to have so many games featuring Top-10 teams in just the second round of the playoffs.

Tuesday, three local girls programs will be pitted in games against another Top-10 program, highlighted by No. 3 East Hall (26-3) against No. 5 Lovett (23-5) in Gainesville. Also in Class AA, defending state champion and fourth-ranked Buford (22-7) will face No. 8 North Oconee in Gwinnett County.

In Class A, its also a ranked battle between No. 9 Towns County (23-6) and No. 7 Darlington (26-3) in Hiawassee.

Then in Class AAA, North Hall, coming off a first-round 51-41 win against Pickens, draws No. 6 Carrollton (25-4) Tuesday in Gainesville. Habersham Central (23-6) is also facing a ranked opponent with No. 4 Chamblee (27-2) visiting Mount Airy on Tuesday. The game at East Hall features two clubs that have put together impressive streaks down the stretch. The Lady Vikings, which topped Dade County 57-47 in the first round, have 11 straight wins under their belts. Not to outdone, the Lady Lions have won 7 of 8, including their first round playoff game, 56-34 against Carver-Columbus.

Lovett entered the state playoffs as Region 6-AA runner-up as a results of a 45-39 loss to Buford in last Saturday’s region title game.

Buford has won eight straight heading into Tuesday's game, led by a defense that has only allowed more than 40 points twice in that span. Last Friday, the Lady Wolves cruised to a 90-40 opening-round win against Kendrick.

Tuesday's opponent for the Lady Wolves, North Oconee, had a 15-game winning streak that stretched from the midway point of the regular season that lasted until its Region 8-AA title-game loss to East Hall in Hartwell. In the first round, the Lady Titans dispatched of River Ridge, 62-45.

Habersham Central advanced to the second round with a 48-33 win against Lambert, while Chamblee advanced with a 54-47 win over No. 6 Douglas County.

On Wednesday, two local boys programs will face one another in the second round of Class AA’s playoffs as Dawson County (24-6) plays host to Buford (22-7). The Tigers are coming off a first-round win against Calhoun, 54-52, the school’s first home playoff win in school history. Meanwhile, last year’s state runner-up Wolves topped Spencer, 79-60, to advance in the playoffs.

Also advancing locally for the boys are North Hall in Class AAA, and East Hall and Jefferson in Class AA.

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