Prep Zone

Atlanta high school sports news from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

State playoff predictions

Friday marks the start of the Class AA playoffs, so -- as is tradition -- I will provide my predictions for how the boys and girls tournaments will unfold. For what it's worth, I'm on a little bit of a hot streak, having correctly named five of the last seven state champions across three sports with my bracket predictions:

My only whiffs last year were in the AAAAAA and A-AAAAA girls lacrosse tournaments, where I correctly picked the championship matchups but got the title game winners wrong. OK, enough gloating.

Without further ado, here are my predictions for the 2017 AA boys and girls basketball tournaments:



  • All signs point to top-ranked South Atlanta and No. 3 Butler meeting in the second round. This heavyweight matchup could just as easily be a finals matchup with a different bracket alignment.
  • There are two more potential second round matchups that would feature top 10 teams: No. 9 Banks County vs. No. 10 Josey and No. 2 Laney vs. No. 7 Hapeville Charter.
  • Of all tournament teams, Chattooga has the best record at 24-1. However, that appears to be more of a testament to the team's weak schedule than on-court performance. The Indians didn't play a ranked team all season and their loss came to AAA's Calhoun by a score of 62-47.
  • Should South Atlanta live up to this prediction, it would be the Hornets' second championship in program history. The first came in 2009, when Derrick Favors led them to an AAA title.



  • I have unranked Dade County making a run to the semifinals as a No. 3 seed. The Lady Wolverines are the only No. 3 seed I've predicted to advance past the quarterfinals in either the boys or girls brackets.
  • Potential second round matchups featuring top 10 teams include No. 7 Vidalia vs. No. 5 Rabun County, No. 6 Bryan County vs. No. 8 Banks County and No. 10 Heard County vs. No. 3 Dodge County.
  • Should Laney follow through on my prediction, it will be the Lady Wildcats' second title in three years. They won the 2015 AAA title -- their first ever. In addition, keep an eye on the boys program for a potential championship sweep.

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