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This week: Playoff teams face tough challenges
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For six local high school basketball programs, the pursuit of a state championship in still in tact. Now, the next challenge of the Round of 16 awaits these teams for the girls on Tuesday and boys teams on Wednesday.

Class AA’s Buford is the only local program with both basketball programs still alive. The girls, winners of back-to-back state titles, will face Heard County on Tuesday in the second round. The Lady Wolves (25-3) knocked out East Hall in the first round last Friday to advance. Meanwhile, the Wolves boys were led by Alex Flagler’s 22 points in a win against Rabun County in the opening round. Now, Buford (21-8) goes on the road to face Kendrick in the second round on Wednesday in Columbus.

Also in Class AA, the East Hall boys (24-5) are the still in the hunt after a 68-59 OT win against Decatur last Saturday in Valhalla. With the win, the Vikings will play host to Manchester on Wednesday in Gainesville.

In Class AAA, the West Hall boys (24-5) held off Shaw 69-64 in the first round to set up a second-round matchup against top-ranked Columbia.

In 2009, the Spartans also faced Columbia in the second round and led by five early in the fourth quarter, only to lose 65-45. Against Shaw, all five Spartans scorers finished in double digits, led by senior Dre Pou with 16. The two teams will play Tuesday as a part of a doubleheader.

Also in Class AAA, Region 8-AAA’s No. 4-seeded Chestatee (23-5), which was led by 20 points from senior Peyton Robertson, pulled a first-round upset of LaGrange. This marked only the second playoff win for the Lady War Eagles, who visit Cartersvile on Tuesday.

In 2009, Chestatee went on the road in the first round and defeated then Region 8-AAA champion Franklin County.
Also advancing in the playoffs are the Towns County girls in Class A. In the first round, the Lady Indians defeated Mount-Zion Carroll, 67-31.

With the win, Towns County plays host to Pace Academy, a 60-54 first-round winner against Southwest Atlanta Christian, on Tuesday in Hiawassee.

HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL: Even though it is only the second week of the season, it is already time for region play to commence. On Wednesday, North Hall visits White County, Johnson visits West Hall, Lumpkin County entertains Oconee County and Lanier hosts Gainesville.

In Region 8-A, Lakeview Academy opens region play with a trip to St. Francis on Wednesday.

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