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Weekly Whatup 2.17
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This is what it all comes down to: tournament time. All the hard work, all the long nights, the long grind of the regular season and the whole year comes down to “win or go home”.

            Last week we gave you a preview into what to expect over the final week of the regular season. Now it’s time to look at three region tournaments — and one state tournament — all happening right around the corner from your house. If you can’t get into basketball this week, then I just can’t help you any longer.

            Let’s take a look at the big board: show meeee region tourneys!


Region 2-AAAA

            In Region 2-AAAA Statesboro is the team to beat. Brunswick and Glynn Academy will pose the biggest threat from taking the title away from SHS, but the 21-4, fifth-ranked Blue Devils have a bull’s-eye on their back so big even Hugh Harman would be impressed.

            The Devils are the No. 1 seed, have a bye, are at home and have already clinched a spot in the GHSA Class AAAA state tournament. Three other teams are coming to their house on Thursday and would like nothing more than to send SHS home.

            Statesboro will have to get by either Wayne County or Ware County —  teams they were a combined 4-0 against in the regular season — then knock off one of the teams from Brunswick, in all likelihood. Glynn Academy was the only team to knock off SHS in region play this season.

            Tip-off Thursday is at 7:30 p.m. with the championship game on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

            As for the Lady Blue Devils they’re in as well. A win Monday night over Wayne County put them in the semifinals where they’ll face Brunswick on Wednesday at BHS.

            For a team with no seniors, a trip to the state tournament is going to do wonders come 2009-2010.


Region 3-AA

            The entire Region 3-AA tournament will be played at Southeast Bulloch and it starts today with the Lady Yellow Jackets hosting East Laurens at 4 p.m. Nineteen more games will be played through Saturday with four spots to the GHSA Class AA state tournament up for grabs. The field is wide open.

            Southeast has a tough draw. If they’re to get by ELHS today they’ll get No. 1-seeded Laney on Thursday. The same could be said for the Lady Gamecocks of Screven County. They’ll meet Dublin on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. and a win over the Fighting Irish is rewarded with a date with No. 1-seeded Dodge County. The good news for SC is one win at least earns them a spot in the state tourney. Two wins puts them in the title game and three wins make them champs.

            The title game is Saturday at 7 p.m.

            On the boys’ side, the possibility is out there that SCHS and SEB meet in the semifinals — but they have a lot of work to do for that to happen. The Gamecocks must beat Dodge County (today at 5:30 p.m.) then knock off No. 1-seeded Laney to get to the semis. Southeast needs an upset over East Laurens on Wednesday at 4 p.m. to earn a trip to state.

            Both teams, no doubt, can do it, and that’s what will make this bracket wild. Of the 10 teams left, I would guess nine have a realistic shot of holding the trophy after Saturday’s championship game at 8:30 p.m.


Region 3-A

            Finally, we come to Region 3-A. Much like 3-AA, this region is anybody’s for the taking, especially on the boys’ side.

            Small examples: Metter, ranked fourth in the state, 23-2, is a two-seed. Portal, a Final Four team from a year ago, is a four-seed.

            All eight teams in the field make their way to Metter on Wednesday to start tourney play. Portal will play the late game on Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. against Johnson County. The Trojans won the coin flip over MHS for the one-seed.

            Portal and JCHS haven’t met this year and I would guess the kids from Wrightsville were not pleased to see the Panthers as their first-round draw.

            As for Metter, the Tigers will likely have to beat two of the aforementioned Savannah teams to make it to the semis and the GHSA Class A state tournament. The Tigers host Savannah Country Day on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. and would play the winner of SCPS-Wheeler County on Friday night.


GISA AA state

            Both Bulloch Academy teams fell short of a region title this past weekend at BA. In fact, you could say the BA boys fell shockingly short.

            The Gators had hopes of an emotional run to the GISA 2-AA title in their own building. Two losses later and now they’re staring straight into the face of one-seeded Tiftarea for Thursday’s first round game in the GISA Class AA state tournament at Brewton-Parker College at 7 p.m.

            I would guess one of two things will happen with BA: they’ll be too wrecked from the disappointment of this past weekend OR they’ll be too mad to ever lose again. We’ll have to see.

            As for the Lady Gators — who are still improving on one of the best season’s in school history — they get Valwood at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday at BPC. The Gators are a dangerous No. 2, and you have to remember Robert Toombs — BA’s nemesis in the region title game — is one of the best in the state.

            The Lady Gators have a tough draw, but a run to the Final Four isn’t out of the realm of the possibility.

            Good luck to all of our area teams this week. It’s gonna be memorable.