While it is still the regular season, several key matchups on Friday could help determine how the upcoming region tournaments could go, especially on the girls side.
Three monster girls showdowns will highlight Friday's action for Northeast Georgia-area teams, including a pair of battles involving ranked teams.
Class A Division 1 third-ranked Elbert County (16-3, 3-0 Region 8-A Division 1) heads to Tiger to take on Rabun County (16-1, 2-0 Region 8-A Division 1) with first place on the line between the 2022 Class 2A state champion Lady Blue Devils and the Class 2A state runner-up Lady Wildcats. Rabun County is unbeaten at home (6-0) this season while Elbert County is 8-1 on the road.
The second major showdown will be in Dahlonega where Class 3A third-ranked Lumpkin County (15-3, 5-1 Region 7-3A) plays host to No. 2-ranked Wesleyan (15-2, 5-1 Region 7-3A). The two are part of a three-way tie for first place with White County (15-4, 5-1 Region 7-3A). The Lady Wolves beat the defending Class 3A state champion Lady Indians 74-68 in overtime in Norcross back in December.
A third huge girls matchup will have Class 4A eighth-ranked Chestatee (15-4, 7-1 Region 8-4A North) playing host to North Hall (13-5, 6-2 Region 8-4A North). The Lady War Eagles have won six straight and can sweep the season series with a win. The Lad Trojans can force a tie atop the subregion standings with a win and split the season series.
On the boys side, Gainesville (11-6, 4-1 Region 8-6A) heads to Shiloh (7-10, 3-2 Region 8-6A) needing a win to keep pace with first place and third-ranked Lanier (14-4, 5-0 Region 8-6A) near the top of the standings. Lanier travels to struggling Apalachee (5-13, 1-4 Region 8-6A), who has lost four straight.
In Region 8-4A North, North Hall (9-9, 3-3 Region 8-4A North) heads to arch-rival Chestatee (12-7, 5-1 Region 8-4A North) with the War Eagles needing a win to keep pace with Cherokee Bluff (12-7, 5-1 Region 8-4A North), who plays winless Johnson (0-17, 0-6 Region 8-4A North) at home.
In Region 8-2A, Union County (12-6, 3-1 Region 8-6A) will play host to Class 2A No. 3 Providence Christian (17-2, 5-0 Region 8-6A) with a chance to climb within one-half game of first place. The Panthers have won four straight and are 5-2 at home. The Storm is riding a 12-game win streak and is 6-1 on the road so far this season.
There are several other important games involving girls and boys teams looking to stay in the top-tier of the region standings as the regular season heads into its final three weeks.
(Check below for the entire day’s schedule of games.)
HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL SCHEDULE
Friday, Jan. 20
Banks County at East Jackson*
Buford at Dacula*
Dawson County at West Hall*
East Hall at East Forsyth*
Elbert County at Rabun County*
Gainesville at Shiloh*
Habersham Central at Jackson County*
Jefferson at Flowery Branch*
Johnson at Cherokee Bluff*
Lanier Christian at Killian Hill Christian*
Lincoln County at Towns County*
Loganville Christian at Lakeview Academy*
North Hall at Chestatee*
Providence Christian at Union County*
Riverside Prep at Maranatha Christian
Wesleyan at Lumpkin County*
(* -- denotes region contest)