The top-ranked South Paulding boys basketball team all but locked up the top seed in the 5-AAAAAA tournament with its three victories last week.
Now the Spartans are closing in on a perfect region regular season. To get there, however, they’ll have to go through two of the classification’s top six teams – No. 4 Hughes and No. 6 Alexander, which are their two closest pursuers in the region. The Spartans will host Hughes on Tuesday and complete the regular season Wednesday at Alexander.
South Paulding beat Hughes by 15 points in early January and Alexander 52-50 on Friday.
Others teams seeking to finish the regular season with a perfect region record are the boys from Gainesville, Jonesboro, Dalton and Lakeside-Evans and the girls from Douglas County, Northview, Harrison, Winder-Barrow and Grovetown.
Here are some of the other top games in Class AAAAAA this week:
Boys: No. 9 South Cobb at Dalton (Tuesday), Brunswick at #10 Richmond Hill (Tuesday)
Girls: No. 1 Northview at Alpharetta (Tuesday), No. 2 Harrison at Sequoyah (Friday), No. 4 Winder-Barrow at No. 9 Gainesville (Tuesday), No. 6 Lovejoy at No. 8 Stephenson (Friday), No. 7 Creekview at River Ridge (Tuesday)
*Scoring milestone: M.J. Walker, recently named a McDonald’s All-American, scored 26 points in a 68-55 victory Friday against Forest Park to break the Clayton County record for career scoring, according to the Clayton News Daily. Walker, who averages about 27 points per game this season, now has 2,404 points in his career, eclipsing the old record set by former Jonesboro star Toney Douglas. Fourth-ranked Jonesboro (18-4) wrapped up the top seed in the Region 4-AAAAAA tournament with its two wins last week.
*Making a good showing: The Tucker girls team, which moved into the top 10 on Jan. 22, went 1-2 last week but held on to its ranking after a competitive week against three top-10 teams. The Tigers lost to No. 6 Lovejoy 42-37 on Tuesday but rebounded with a 62-50 win Friday against No. 8 Stephenson. Bria Bass and Jermese Davis scored 13 points each against Stephenson, which was led by 20 points from Naomi Holloway, the DeKalb in leader points scored. Tucker lost on Saturday 46-41 to Class AAAAA No. 3 Southwest DeKalb. Lovejoy, Stephenson and Tucker will be the top three seeds in next week’s 4-AAAAAA tournament.
*Double duty: No school is likely to have the No. 1 seed in both the boys and girls bracket of the upcoming region tournaments, but there is still a chance it could happen in 1-AAAAAA and 2-AAAAAA, the smallest regions in the classification with five teams each. Valdosta and Northside-Warner Robins both have a shot in Region 1, although Northside is likely to be the No. 1 girls seed and Coffee controls its destiny on the boys side. In Region 2, the Brunswick girls and Richmond Hill boys are in first place heading into the final week of the regular season, but both Glynn Academy teams are just half a game out of first place.