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.