The second round of the 2016-17 girls high school basketball tournament will tip off Wednesday, and quarterfinal appearances are up for grabs. Most boys will have to wait until Thursday to get things going.
There is one game between ranked teams on the girls side. Region 4 and No. 2 seed Peach County (23-4) will travel to the Region 6, No. 1 seed Haralson County (26-4).
Seventh-ranked Peach County stumbled out of the gate with a 3-3 record that included two losses to Perry and a 50-44 loss to Class AAAAAA No. 10 Northside-Warner Robins. Since the loss to Northside on Dec. 13, the Lady Trojans have won 20 of 21 games, including a 59-33 second-chance thrashing of Northside on Feb. 2.
It is safe to say that Peach County is playing good basketball and will pose a threat to Haralson.
Fourth-ranked Haralson County has lost four games this season. The Lady Rebels lost to Spring Garden (Ala.) on Nov. 22 (71-50), then lost to Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe on Dec. 6 (61-54). Haralson split in the regular season with No. 10 Calhoun and No. 5 Ringgold, then defeated Calhoun in the region championship game, 53-45.
Second-ranked Beach from Savannah, the Region 3 No. 2 seed, will host Region 5 No. 1 seed Redan (20-6) in the second round. Beach is 25-2, with both losses coming against Johnson-Savannah.
Judasia Hills and Madison Evans, the team’s top scorers, have led the way. Beach is trying to advance to a potential fifth matchup against Johnson. Beach has beaten Johnson twice.
Third-ranked Greater Atlanta Christian (21-7), the top seed from Region 7, is carrying a 10-game winning streak into Wednesday’s matchup against Region 1 No. 2 seed Cook County.
The Lady Spartans have exhibited a second coming of Georgia Tech’s “Lethal Weapon 3,” if you will. Robyn Benton, a 5-foot-8 junior shooting guard, is averaging 17 points and nearly six rebounds per game. Tamiah Lewis, a 5-7 senior guard, is averaging 14 points, and Taylor Sutton, a 5-6 junior guard, is averaging 12.
Class AAA girls pairings
R8 #3 Hart County at R4 #1 Central-Macon
R3 #2 Beach at R5 #1 Redan
R6 #3 Ringgold at R2 #1 Tattnall County
R1 #2 Cook at R7 #1 Greater Atlanta Christian
R2 #2 Pierce County at R8 #1 Morgan County
R7 #2 Dawson County at R1 #1 Monroe
R4 #2 Peach County at R6 #1 Haralson County
R7 #3 North Hall at R3 #1 Johnson-Savannah
Class AAA girls rankings:
3. Greater Atlanta Christian
4. Haralson County
6. Franklin County
7. Peach County
9. Hart County
On the boys side, two of the key matchups involve metro Atlanta teams. Lovett (19-10), the Region 5 No. 3 seed, will be facing a Crisp County team that has a head of steam coming off a record-breaking first-round game against Savannah.
Crisp, the top seed from Region 1, defeated Savannah 108-106 to complete the highest-scoring game in GHSA tournament history, which dated back to Feb. 27, 1997, when Banneker defeated Shiloh 112-93. Crisp also had a possible record-breaking 57-point performance by 6-2 senior shooting-guard Quentavious Dean.
Second-ranked Pace Academy (23-8) is on a 13-game winning-streak heading into the second-round game against No. 9 Johnson-Savannah (19-9).
The Knights, who are led by five-star Duke commit and McDonald’s All-American Wendell Carter Jr, have only lost to two Georgia school this season. Pace fell to No. 8 Cedar Grove on Dec. 6 and Class AAAAAAA No. 5 Norcross at the City of Palms tournament Dec. 19 in Fort Myers, FL.
If Johnson-Savannah wants to hang with the Knights and silence Carter, they might want to pick the brain of Norcross coach Jesse McMillan or Cedar Grove coach Miguel Patrick.
Class AAA boys pairings
R8 #3 Monroe Area at R4 #1 Westside-Macon
R3 #2 Johnson-Savannah at R5 #1 Pace Academy
R6 #3 Coahulla Creek at R2 #1 Liberty County
R3 #3 Islands at R7 #1 East Hall
R2 #2 Tattnall County at R8 #1 Morgan County
R5 #3 Lovett at R1 #1 Crisp County
R4 #2 Central-Macon at R6 #1 Calhoun
R5 #2 Cedar Grove at R3 #1 Jenkins
Class AAA boys rankings:
2. Pace Academy
3. Morgan County
4. Liberty County
6. East Hall
7. Greater Atlanta Christian
8. Cedar Grove