Only 20 teams are left standing in the world of Georgia high school basketball and two of them are from the Hall County area.
The 10th-ranked Gainesville Red Elephants advanced to the semifinals with a 58-46 win over Cedartown on Saturday in Dalton. This is the first time that the Gainesville boys have reached the semifinals since 2002 and when they take the court in Macon Friday, their task will not be an easy one.
Standing in the Red Elephants’ path to the state title game is Region 1-AAA champion Westover (29-6). The Patriots advanced to the semifinals with a 55-45 win over Northside-Columbus, their ninth consecutive win.
Gainesville (20-8) hasn’t seen the type of size that Westover will send to the court, as the Patriots boast six players that stand 6-foot-3 or taller, with four standing 6-4 including center Brandon Benton.
The semifinal game is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Friday at the Macon Centreplex.
The top-ranked Buford Lady Wolves (30-1) will also have a tough task in the semifinals in Laney High (25-3).
Two of the state’s longest winning streaks go head to head in this Thursday night battle in Macon, with Buford riding a 29-game win streak and the Lady Wildcats coming in winners of their last 21 games.
Both teams are also coming off commanding victories in the quarterfinals, as Buford beat Rabun County 70-28 and Laney beat Northwest Macon 70-45.
The semifinal game is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday at the Macon Centreplex.
Hall County champs decided
While Gainesville boys and Buford girls vie for a state title this week in basketball, golf teams throughout Hall County will battle for the county championship today and Tuesday at Royal Lakes in Oakwood.
The North Hall boys enter the tournament as the favorite as the Trojans are coming off a win at the Cole Mountain Classic on Saturday in Cumming.
Landry Haynes, Jimmy Lloyd and Roger Nash all carded scores in the 70s Saturday and will begin play today with momentum on their side.
Gainesville’s Camryn Cole also has a bit of momentum as the junior won the Cole Mountain Classic on Saturday and is the defending Region 7-AAA and Hall County champion.
The Hall County Championship begins at 4 p.m. today at Royal Lakes.
Tickets to the big dance
Aside from the high school basketball tournament, this week the college kids are fighting for an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.
Conference tournaments from all across the country begin and end this week and the week ends with the announcement of the field of 65 tournament teams Sunday.
Last season, the University of Georgia made a surprise run through the SEC Tournament and gained an automatic berth into the NCAAs with the SEC title. The Bulldogs, as well as the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, will need another dramatic run to a conference title if they hope to continue their seasons.