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This week: Basketball takes center court
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Now that the football season is officially over, it’s time for the area high schools to focus on the hardwood.

This week features a full slate of high school basketball games, starting with today’s matchup between West Hall and Lambert, and ending with a bevy of games Friday.

The key game this week features the East Hall boys taking on Flowery Branch at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. The Vikings (3-2) are coming off a runner-up finish in last week’s Lanierland tournament, in which they beat Flowery Branch in the semifinals. The Falcons (1-2) will be trying to avenge that five-point loss and gain some momentum as they head to the North Gwinnett Powerade Tournament on Dec. 21.

Friday night features the North Hall girls (6-0) against the defending Class AA state champion Buford Lady Wolves in a game that will determine just how good this year’s version of the Lady Trojans are.

The last time these two teams played each other was Feb. 2, 2008, and although North Hall put up a fight, the Lady Trojans couldn’t take down Buford and lost 62-60 in four overtimes.

With the holiday break on the horizon, several area teams head to tournaments this week, with Banks County, Chestatee, Commerce, Habersham Central and White County playin gin the Piedmont Invitational, and East Hall competing in the North Georgia College and State University Tournament.

RED HOT HAWKS: No team has surprised as many basketball fans as the Atlanta Hawks, who look to continue their torrid start of the 2009-10 season with three games this week.

All three games are winnable, as Atlanta takes on the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday, the Utah Jazz on Friday and the Chicago Bulls on Saturday.The game against the Bulls will be the second time in a little more than a week that the two teams have played. The Hawks cruised to a 35-point win in the last meeting.

PLAYOFF PUSH: Fresh off a disappointing three-point loss to the undefeated Saints on Sunday, the Atlanta Falcons (6-7) will attempt to keep their playoff hopes alive when they travel to New Jersey to take on the New York Jets.

The Jets, who started the year as one of the best teams in the NFL, have slowed down of late, and the Falcons need to win this game if they are to remain in the playoff hunt. A win against the Jets will also help the Falcons in their efforts to become the first team to have back-to-back winning seasons in franchise history.

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