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Tuesday January 18th, 2022 4:36AM

Girls basketball: Midpoint battles could shape area regions over final month

By Jeff Hart Sports Reporter

As things sit right now, some regions housing Northeast Georgia teams are approaching the midway point. Others, like Region 8-2A, finally opened their region schedules this week.

There are some expected results, and some surprises, on the girls side of things as teams begin their final month of the regular season to try and secure automatic playoff berths or increase their region tournament seeding, or both.

Eight girls teams from Class 7A to Class 2A are ranked by the latest Kyle Sandy poll, and nearly all find themselves perched atop their respective regions.

In Region 6-7A, No. 2 North Forsyth (14-3, 5-0 Region 6-7A) is tied with No. 5 South Forsyth (15-3, 5-0 Region 6-7A), and the two teams will battle for the early lead at the midway point on Friday in Coal Mountain.

In Region 8-6A, No. 4 Buford (10-3, 3-0 Region 8-6A) leads the region by just one-half game over Winder-Barrow (14-1, 2-0 Region 8-6A). The Lady Wolves have a huge matchup on Friday at home against third-place Central Gwinnett (11-4, 2-1 Region 8-6A). Habersham Central (9-4, 1-2 Region 8-6A) will play host to Dacula (8-7, 1-2 Region 8-6A) in a battle for no less than fourth place and maybe third.

Region 8-4A is playing out as tough as many expected it to be. Three teams are ranked in the top 10 in the latest Sandy poll, and the top four teams are separated by just one game in the standings. No. 2 Jefferson (14-2, 4-1 Region 8-4A) and unranked North Oconee (12-7, 4-1 Region 8-4A) are tied for first and will stage their first showdown of the season on Friday at The Arena. No. 7 Cedar Shoals (10-3, 3-1 Region 8-4A) and No. 10 Chestatee (12-5, 3-2 Region 8-4A) will meet in Athens on Friday with the winner looking to move into a possible tie for second.

Region 7-3A has been dominated by No. 1 Lumpkin County (16-1, 7-0 Region 7-3A) so far, but it’s a logjam after that. The second through sixth place teams are bunched within two games of each other, and all have shown they can win on any given night.

The Lady Indians travel to newcomer and already-improving, East Forsyth (11-4, 5-2 Region 7-3A), on Friday with the Lady Broncos looking to climb within a game of first place. White County (9-7, 5-2 Region 7-3A) finds itself tied with East Forsyth for second place and has won 7 of its last 9, despite a lopsided loss to Lumpkin on Tuesday. The Lady Warriors travel to Dawson County (11-6, 4-3 Region 7-3A) on Friday with the Lady Tigers trying to climb into a tie for second as well.

In Region 8-3A, seventh-ranked East Jackson (13-1, 1-0 Region 8-3A) leads the way early but faces a tough road test at Hart County (9-7, 1-0 Region 8-3A) with first place on the line.

Region 8-2A finally got its region schedule under way on Tuesday with No. 1 Elbert County and No. 4 Rabun County both opening with wins.

Region 8-A Public has just one team -- No. 4 Lake Oconee Academy -- with a winning record overall (10-1, 3-0 Region 8-A Public) and leading after the first two weeks. But Commerce (4-10, 3-1 Region 8-A Public) has started strong in region play while Towns County (3-10, 1-1 Region 8-A Public) is trying to shake off a slow start to the season as well. Towns County travels to Lake Oconee on Friday while Commerce heads to Greene County.

Lakeview Academy in Region 6-A Private got its first region win of the season on Tuesday. The Lady Lions (4-8, 1-2 Region 6-A Private) have played well lately going 3-1 since the start of the Lanierland tournament. Lakeview will travel to Mt. Pisgah (6-6, 3-1 Region 6-A Private) on Friday with a chance to close the gap and climb into the upper-tier of the region.

But no matter what happens on Friday, there is still plenty of time for teams to emerge as contenders. Or begin to fade as pretenders.

(Click here for the area schedule for Friday’s games involving Northeast Georgia teams.)

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