With the Hall County Championships for both wrestling and soccer still more than a week away, high school basketball will take center stage for the next seven days.
The Hall County wrestling duals will open on Jan. 25 at North Hall High School, while at the same time, the county swimming championships will get under way at Frances Meadows Aquatic Center in Gainesville. Until then, there are marquee basketball matchups to occupy the local sports fan’s calendar.
In one of the season’s most-anticipated showdowns, Buford will visit North Hall on Tuesday. Both boys teams are ranked in the state’s top 10 and were the preseason favorites, along with Dawson County, to compete for the Region 7-AAA crown. Both the Wolves and Trojans dispatched of Dawson County last week, leaving Tuesday night’s game to determine who will hold the top spot with about a month left in the regular season.
Neither team has shown many weaknesses thus far. North Hall (14-1, 6-0) has won 11 straight since its loss to Lakeview in early December and has allowed more than 50 points in a game only three times this season. Buford’s record (9-5, 6-0) isn’t quite as sparkling, but the Wolves’ losses have come at the hands of three Class AAAAAA teams, Class AAAA Eagle’s Landing, and Hillcrest, a Class AAAA team from South Carolina. In region play, Buford is winning by an average of 33 points per game.
In girls action, Flowery Branch will try to keep its strong play going in a pair of region matchups. The Lady Falcons (15-1, 9-0) lost their only game of the season in the Lanierland finals against Chestatee, but have come back strong after the Christmas break, winning four straight by double digits, including two by 25 or more. Tuesday, the Lady Falcons host Loganville, who they defeated 42-27 on Nov. 30. On Friday, they’ll host Winder-Barrow, who they beat 46-13 on Dec. 4.
Meanwhile, Chestatee (14-3, 2-0 Region 8-AAAA) has bounced back from a pair of post-Christmas losses and opened region play with wins over Lumpkin County and Monroe Area last week. This week, the Lady War Eagles will try to claim their spot atop the region when they host fellow leaders Madison County (12-4, 2-0) on Tuesday, and travel to Eastside (8-7, 2-0) on Friday.