Region 4-AAAAA, which has provided more depth of excitement than probably any other league in the classification, is the first to determine its representatives to the boys state tournament. And it provided the first real upset of the playoffs.
Jones County, the No. 6 seed, knocked off No. 3 Stockbridge 82-67 on the opening night and earned a spot in the state tournament. Jones County (14-12) had split with Stockbridge during the regular season and beat the Tigers in overtime two weeks ago. The Greyhounds have won their last six games and seven of their last eight.
The other three first-round games held serve. Top seed Eagle’s Landing (18-6) beat tournament host Locust Grove 69-61. No. 2 seed Dutchtown (18-7) knocked off Hampton 66-51. No. 4 Union Grove beat Woodland 56-33, earning a measure of revenge for losing to Woodland on the final game of the regular season.
Most of the tournaments begin on Tuesday. Here’s a quick look at where they are and who the favorites are in each region.
Region 1 at Warner Robins
The five-team region will have the semifinals on Friday and finals on Saturday. The Warner Robins boys (22-3) and girls (23-1) are the top seeds.
Region 2 at Ware County
Another five-region has semifinals on Friday and finals on Saturday. On the boys side, Statesboro (16-9) enters with as the top seed and is riding a five-game winning streak. On the girls side, top seeded Wayne County (17-3) brings a nine-game winning streak into the tournament.
Region 3 at Starr’s Mill
On the boys side, No. 6-ranked Fayette County (18-7) is the No. 1 seed and gets a bye to the semifinals. The elimination round will be Wednesday, with the semifinals on Thursday and the championships on Friday. The No. 1-ranked Griffin girls (23-1) won’t play until the semifinals.
Region 4 at Eagle’s Landing
In the boys tournament, the semifinals will be on Thursday and the finals on Friday. No. 7-ranked Eagle’s Landing will play No. 10-ranked Union Grove in the semifinal, the matchup many thought would occur in the final. Dutchtown and Jones County are in the other semi. On the girls side, Eagle’s Landing (21-3) has won nine in a row and is the top seed.
Region 5 at Miller Grove
The boys tournament is the only one in the classification with three ranked teams in the field. No. 4-ranked Miller Grove (16-8), the defending champion, received a bye until the semifinals. No. 5-ranked Columbia (18-6) and No. 8-ranked Southwest DeKalb (14-11) must survive a first-round game on Wednesday if they hope to advance to the semifinals on Friday. The championship game is Saturday. The favorite on the girls side is No. 3-ranked Southwest DeKalb (21-4), which brings an 11-game winning streak into the tournament.
Region 6 at Maynard Jackson
The boys tournament resumes on Wednesday, with the semifinals on Friday and championship on Saturday. Top seed and No. 9-ranked Riverwood (20-4) and No. 2-seeded Jackson (18-7) have a bye into the semifinals. The girls bracket is led by top-seeded Jackson (20-2); Jackson and No. 2 seed Decatur (16-8) both have byes to the semifinal round.
Region 7 at Villa Rica
The semifinals will be played on Thursday at Friday. First-round games on Tuesday are being played at Carrollton and Kell. Carrollton is the top seed on the boys (17-8) and girls draw. The No. 5 ranked Carrollton girls (24-1) is the hottest team in the state and enter the tournament with a 13-game winning streak.
Region 8 at Cedar Shoals
This highly competitive league features the top two ranked boys team in the state: No. 1 Buford (22-2) and No. 2 Cedar Shoals (21-3). Buford won both regular-season games against the Jaguars and a rematch is likely. In the girls division, No. 1-ranked Buford (22-2) is the top seed and No. 6-ranked Flowery Branch is the second seed; they won’t have to play until the semifinals. The semifinals are Friday and the finals on Saturday.