Prep Zone

Atlanta high school sports news from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Weekend preview: No. 8 Jonesboro boys headed for test at Peachtree Corners showcase

Jonesboro’s boys basketball team will be the Class AAAAAA representative at the Peachtree Corners Invitational when it takes on Ben Smith of North Carolina at 4 p.m. Saturday at Norcross High School.

Eighth-ranked Jonesboro, which plays at Lovejoy on Friday, is 12-6 overall but 9-1 and tied for first place in Region 4-AAAAAA with Stephenson after losing to the Jaguars 65-58 in overtime last weekend. Six-foot-6 senior forward Jamari Smith leads the Cardinals with 22.6 points and 11.1 rebounds per game. Senior guard Miles Black averages 11.1 points and 3.1 assists.

Ben Smith is 14-3 and the No. 2-ranked team in North Carolina’s Class 3A (No. 12 in the state overall), according to MaxPreps. The Golden Eagles’ top player is 6-foot-6 senior guard Isaiah Bigelow, a Charlotte signee who is averaging 21 points and 11.2 rebounds.

Other games in the showcase include the Gwinnett Heat vs. the Clayton Eagles (wheelchair) at 10:30 a.m., Lambert vs. Cardinal Newman (S.C.) at 12:30 p.m., St. Pius vs. Pinson Valley (Ala.) at 2:15 p.m., Norcross vs. Riverdale Baptist (Md.) at 5:45, McEachern vs. Village Christian (N.C.) at 7:30, and Wheeler vs. Christ School (N.C.) at 9:15.

Here are some of the other top games involving Class AAAAAA teams this weekend. Note that some games could be postponed if schools remain closed on Friday.


*Brunswick at Bradwell Institute (Friday): This will be the third meeting of the year between these top-10 teams, and both of the previous meetings went down to the wire. No. 2-ranked Brunswick won 71-69 in overtime on Dec. 8, then won the rematch 55-53 on Dec. 18 at the Savannah Holiday Classic. Brunswick is 17-1 overall and 4-0 in Region 2; No. 7 Bradwell Institute is 13-5 and 2-2.

*Gainesville at Buford (Saturday): Fourth-ranked Gainesville is one of the hottest teams in Class AAAAAA, having won eight consecutive games since a 3-6 start against a rugged schedule. The Red Elephants travel to Dacula on Friday trying to protect their one-game lead over the Falcons and Lanier in Region 8, then go on the road to take on Buford, the No. 2-ranked team in AAAAA.

*Tri-Cities at Hughes (Saturday): Top-ranked Hughes (15-5, 10-1) holds a comfortable two-and-a-half-game lead in Region 5, despite losing two of their past four games. Landers Nolley scored 35 points in the Panthers’ 65-64 loss to Grayson on Monday. No. 6 Tri-Cities (14-4, 7-3) is tied for second place with No. 5 Douglas County and Alexander. Hughes beat Tri-Cities 69-58 last Friday.


*Stephenson at Forest Park (Friday): Ninth-ranked Stephenson (13-5, 9-1) is tied with No. 1 Lovejoy for first place in Region 4 and currently holds the tiebreaker after beating the Wildcats 56-53 a month ago. No. 5 Forest Park is close behind at 14-3 and 6-2. This will be the first of two meetings in four days between these teams; they’re scheduled to play again at Forest Park on Monday.

*Greenbrier at Heritage-Conyers (Saturday): First place in Region 3 will be at stake when the Wolfpack and Patriots meet for two games in four days, beginning Saturday in Conyers. Both teams are 4-0 in region play and hold a two-game lead over Grovetown and Alcovy. Heritage had a seven-game winning streak snapped by AAAAAAA Grayson on Saturday. Greenbrier has won five straight.

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