The rush down I-75 south to Macon is more like a stroll now as only 12 area teams remain on the trip of a lifetime toward a GHSA state championship.
On Wednesday, 10 of the area's teams will continue their quest in the second round of the GHSA state tournament, with the Cherokee Bluff and Banks County boys playing on Thursday.
As those teams continue the game-day routine today, the 12 area coaches talk about the keys to getting a win in round No. 2.
Banks County girls coach Steven Shedd they'll have to limit Vidalia's guard play ... Banks County girls (R8, S2) at Vidalia (R2, S1), 6 p.m.
"We know they have size and two very good guards," he said. "Our goal will be to limit opportunities for the two guards and secure rebounds on both sides of the floor. We will see some full-court and half-court 1-2-2 pressure off of made baskets. If we can keep from turning the ball over too much and do those other things I mentioned I think we have a good shot."
Banks County boys coach Mike Cleveland on playing Butler ... Butler (R4, S3) at Banks County boys (R8, S1), Thursday at 6 p.m.
"They are very athletic with four players averaging over 10 points per game," he said. "We will have to handle their pressure."
Buford girls coach Gene Durden says Wayne County is a very athletic team ... Wayne County (R2, S2) at Buford girls (R8, S1), 5 p.m. -- AM 550/FM 102.9 WDUN
They have an outstanding record of 25-2 which means they are doing something right," he said. "We need to control Terran Ward, who is averaging 23 points and 10 rebounds, and give her nothing easy. We have to make it a full-court game to wear them down physically and mentally, due to them not playing many players. We also need to handle their athletic man to man defense by executing on offense."
Buford boys coach Eddie Martin on playing Statesboro ... Statesboro boys (R2, S2) at Buford boys (R8, S1), 6:30 p.m. -- AM 550/FM 102.9 WDUN
They won 20 games in a row before getting upset in the region tournament," he said. "So, I know they're a well-coached program. But when you get in the start tournament and you start advancing, you're not supposed to get easy games. It's supposed to be hard. That's why they call it a state tournament, and they only crown one champion."
Cherokee Bluff boys coach Benjie Wood says No. 2-ranked Windsor Forest plays above the rim ... Cherokee Bluff boys (R7, S3) at Windsor Forest (R3, S1), Thursday at 6 p.m.
"They're good and freakishly athletic," he said. "Those guys play above the rim, now, and they're disciplined. They play hard as well...They attack. So, we will have our hands full, we know that. But we're excited. We're going to down there and meet the challenge head-on and have fun with it."
Jefferson girls coach Greg Brown says Pierce County doesn't have a lot of weaknesses ... Pierce County (R2, S2) at Jefferson girls (R8, S1), 5:30 p.m.
"Pierce County has won 24 games and that within itself proves that they have a very good basketball team," he said. "They are very well-coached and I don’t see a lot of weaknesses in their team. We are going to have to do a great job of taking care of the basketball and do a great job of rebounding if we want to have any shot of winning this game."
Jefferson boys coach says Pierce County is very athletic ... Butler (R4, S3) at Jefferson boys (R8, S1), 7 p.m.
"They like to play pressure defense and let their defense lead to offense," he said. "They are a great offensive rebounding team. We have to make sure we take care of the basketball and box out."
Lakeview girls coach John Carrick on traveling to Greenforest ... Lakeview Academy girls (11) at Greenforest (5) (at Redan HS), 6 p.m.
"They are very big and athletic," he said. "They are eight deep. We must shoot well, handle pressure, get back on defense and block out."
North Hall girls coach Kristi House on playing Savannah in the second round ... Savannah (R3, S3) at North Hall girls (R7, S1), 6 p.m.-- 94.5 FM The Lake
"Savannah is athletic and it will be key for us to keep them off the boards," she said. "Also, we will have to defend well 32 minutes."
Riverside boys coach Marvin Latham says pushing the tempo will be key against North Cobb Christian ... North Cobb Christian (14) at Riverside Military boys (3), 6:30 p.m.
"North Cobb is a very good team they have a couple of guards that are really good," Latham said. "They have a 6-foot-8 post player that we are going to have to deal with. I feel we have had a good week of practice. We are going to push the tempo as North Cobb plays about 6 guys. We must get stops in bunches on defense and execute in the half-court on offense. Our bigs have to attack their post player, and our guards have to get downhill to make their guards play defense. If we do that, then we will be successful."
Union County girls coach Crystal Beach says Butler is very athletic and aggressive ... Butler (R4, S3) at Union County girls (R8, S1), 7 p.m.
"They have several players who run the floor and handle the ball well," she said. "And that's what you'd expect from a team in the state tournament, so we are preparing for another battle against a great team. Our key to winning is to hit the court ready to play Lady Panther Basketball. We focus on intensity, effort and playing together for four complete quarters. That is the key to our success."
White County girls coach Jarvis Davenport on playing defending Class 4A champ Carver-Columbus ... White County girls (R7, S2) at Carver-Columbus (R1, S1), 6 p.m.
"They are very quick, and they have great size," he said. "We have to handle their pressure, apply our own pressure and try not to get demolished in the rebounding battle. We also need to hit open shots and keep the floor spaced."
Jeff Hart contributed to this story.