Mindset shifts from mid-season form to late-season playoff run

Basketball on court with hoop in the background ** Note: Shallow depth of field

High school basketball schedules are returning to normal after last week’s winter storm, and better weather has been welcomed by coaches across the state.

Region tournaments are a month away, and the mindset has shifted from mid-season form to late-season playoff run.

Here are some of the top Class AAA games to keep an eye on this weekend.

Boys

— No. 4 Islands (12-4, 7-0 in Region 3) at Savannah (9-8, 3-4): The Sharks have two players scoring more than 20 points per game and are poised to make a run late into the season. Justin Cave and Trae Broadax both average around 20 points per game. Cave, a 6-foot-2 senior, had a breakout performance Dec. 6, scoring 31 points in the victory against Jenkins. Broadax, 6-4 sophomore, scored 36 points against Savannah in the second game of the season. (Friday8 p.m.)

— No. 2 Westside-Macon (11-3, 5-1 in Region 5) vs. Bartow, Fla. (10-6, 1-0): The Seminoles will travel to Charlotte High School to take place in the Wally Keller Classic. Westside has only played two games since Dec. 30, a 71-63 victory against Southwest-Macon and a 72-49 victory against Rutland. (Friday5:40 p.m.)

— Monroe Area (5-9, 0-1) at No. 1 Morgan County (11-3, 3-0 in Region 8): The Morgan County Bulldogs have won three consecutive games since their 57-48 loss to Class AAAAA Cedar Shoals in the Sweet South Classic. It was the Bulldogs’ second loss to Cedar Shoals this season. (Friday8:30 p.m.)

Class AAA boys rankings

1. Morgan County (10-3)
2. Westside-Macon (10-3)
3. Greater Atlanta Christian (11-4)
4. Islands (11-4)
5. Central-Macon (11-3)
6. Liberty County (9-5)
7. Jenkins (11-6)
8. Cedar Grove (5-4)
9. Pace Academy (5-7)
10. Monroe (10-6)

Girls

— No. 1 Johnson-Savannah (15-1, 7-0 in Region 3) at Groves (1-11, 1-5): The top-ranked Atomsmashers should have little trouble defeating the Groves Rebels. Johnson has three players averaging in double figures — Alexis Pierce, a 5-9 senior, is averaging 17.5 points per game; Olivia Owens, a 5-8 senior, is averaging 15.5 points per game, and Sy’Marieona Williams, a 5-4 junior, is averaging 14.5 points per game. (Friday6 p.m.)

— No. 2 Beach (14-1, 6-1) at Windsor Forest (3-10, 2-4): The Lady Bulldogs are looking to carry the momentum from the last few games into this matchup. Beach has won six consecutive games since its Dec. 13 loss to top-ranked Johnson. Judasia Hills is averaging 13 points per game. (Friday 6:30 p.m.)

— No. 4 Hart County (15-2, 3-0 in Region 8) at No. 6 Franklin County (12-4, 2-0 in Region 8): This will be a battle between two top-ranked teams from Region 8. Both are fighting for the region’s top spot. Since losing to Greenville, S.C., on Dec. 30, Hart County has won three consecutive games — 79-48  against East Jackson, 56-53 against Morgan County and 45-40 against Jackson County. (Friday, 7 p.m.)

Class AAA girls rankings

1. Johnson-Savannah (14-1)
2. Beach (13-1)
3. Greater Atlanta Christian (11-4)
4. Hart County (14-2)
5. Ringgold (11-4)
6. Franklin County (11-4)
7. Calhoun (13-3)
8. Monroe (11-3)
9. Redan (10-2)
10. Lakeview-Ft. Oglethorpe (12-4)


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