Let’s take a look at some of the top AA boys and girls games taking place this weekend.
Will start on the boys' side at the top in Region 4, with the No. 1 Glenn Hills Spartans (18-0, 8-0) playing at the No. 5 Laney Wildcats (14-3, 5-1) on Friday. The Spartans hold a 1.5-game lead in league standings heading into this game, so they'll hold onto first place regardless of if they win or lose.
The Spartans' perfect season will again be put on the line as they meet with Laney for a third time this season. Their previous two contests have been extremely close, decided by a combined seven points and won both times by the Spartans. A little less than a month ago on Dec. 23, they edged Laney 51-46 in the Round Ball Classic championship game, played at Payne College. Since it was a holiday tournament, the game didn't count toward the region standings.
On Dec. 12, in a game that did count toward league standings, Glenn Hills beat Laney 62-61 at home. The Spartans trailed that game by double-digits late in the third quarter before rallying for the win. Laney had a chance to tie the game in the final seconds, but could only convert 1-of-2 free throws.
Friday's game will be the first meeting played at Laney, though it's hard to say how big of a factor home court advantage will be with the schools just 6.4 miles apart.
In Region 3, the No. 3 Dublin Fighting Irish (13-2, 3-1) host the No. 8 Bleckley County Royals (13-4, 6-2) on Friday with first place on the line. This will be the first time the two teams meet this season. Their second meeting will come next Friday at Bleckley County. Last season the Fighting Irish won both contests by double digits.
Dublin comes in on a three-game win streak after losing 73-72 to Washington County on Jan. 5. That loss halted a seven-game win streak. The Royals are coming off a disappointing 61-54 loss at Northeast, which halted a four-game win streak. A loss on Friday would make it two for the week and could be enough to boot them from the rankings.
In Washington County, two top 10 matchups take place on Saturday. The No. 8 Washington County Golden Hawks (13-2) host AAAA's No. 9 Baldwin Braves (14-5), and the No. 5 Washington County Lady Golden Hawks (15-3) host Baldwin Lady Braves (18-2), also ranked No. 9.
In the boys' matchup, it's a rematch of the Golden Hawks' season opener, when they traveled to and beat Baldwin 72-71 on Dec. 2. On the girls' side, the two also played a close game on Dec. 2, with the Lady Braves winning 50-48. Though neither of these games will factor into region playoff seeding, it's the type of tune-up perfect for this late in the season and will also serve as a barometer for how far each team has come since playing in December.
In Region 8, the No. 6 Putnam County Lady War Eagles (15-2, 5-2) will travel to play the No. 7 Rabun County Lady Wildcats (14-3, 3-2) on Friday. In their first meeting on Dec. 19, the Lady War Eagles won convincingly at home by an 82-53 score. The Lady Wildcats need a win here to keep their head above water in league play, as they are currently in fourth place. Putnam County is in second place. Both teams lost last week to first-place Banks County.
The Lady Wildcats reached the AA finals last season and only have three losses this season, but they're all of the double-digit variety. Another blowout defeat could mean an exit from the rankings.
Other games to keep an eye on:
- No. 4 South Atlanta boys (15-2, 5-1 Region 6) vs. Therrell (11-7, 4-1) on Friday
- No. 9 Swainsboro boys (13-3) vs. AAAAA's Statesboro (15-3) on Saturday
All stats and records are sourced from MaxPreps. Follow the AJC’s Class AA coverage on Twitter.