Friday March 1st, 2024 8:54AM

Basketball: Ranked showdowns highlight key region matchups

By Jeff Hart Sports Reporter

Regions 8-4A and 7-3A will continue their early-season matchups on Friday and Saturday, with four northeast Georgia ranked girls teams, according to the latest Sandy Spiel rankings, in action in key region showdowns.

And, Region 8-5A will open its schedule on Friday. Flowery Branch will be in action while Jefferson will get its region schedule under way on Tuesday.

Overall, a half dozen area ranked girls teams will be in action on Friday. The only area boys team ranked in the current Spiel poll is Buford at ninth in Class 7A.

There may be no bigger game on the docket than when Class 3A No. 6 White County travels to No. 2 Wesleyan down in Norcross. It will be the region-opener for the Lady Warriors (8-0, 0-0 Region 7-3A) while the Lady Wolves (6-1, 1-0 Region 7-3A) opened region play on Tuesday with a 69-29 win over a rebuilding Lumpkin County squad. White County leads Class 3A in wins in the early going.

Also in 7-3A for the girls, No. 5 Dawson County (4-2, 0-0 Region 7-3A) opens region play playing host to Gilmer (2-3, 0-1 Region 7-3A). Lumpkin County (1-4, 0-1 Region 7-3A) travels to West Hall (0-5, 0-0 Region 7-3A).

Meanwhile, in Region 8-4A for the girls, Class 4A seventh-ranked Chestatee (3-1, 0-0 Region 8-4A North) opens its region schedule at home against arch-rival North Hall (5-1, 0-0 Region 8-4A North). The Lady Trojans are coming off a solid win over East Hall on the road on Tuesday.

Another big matchup has East Hall  (1-5, 0-1 Region 8-4A North) heading to No. 9 East Forsyth  (4-3, 0-1 Region 8-4A North). The Lady Broncos are coming off a rough 62-30 loss to Cherokee Bluff  (5-1, 1-0 Region 8-4A North). All five of the Lady Bears wins have been by 31 or more points and their only loss came to Class 7A Mill Creek, 47-41.

Jefferson is the only ranked area team in Class 5A, sitting eighth, and the Lady Dragons (5-1, 0-0 Region 8-5A) take on Mill Creek at home on Friday. Flowery Branch, however, will open its Region 8-5A slate on the road against Clarke Central. The Lady Falcons (3-3, 0-0 Region 8-5A) have won three straight while the Lady Gladiators  (1-3, 0-0 Region 8-5A) are coming off their first win of the season last week.

For the boys, the first big first place showdown in Region 7-3A has Dawson County (5-2, 1-0 Region 7-3A) playing host to Gilmer  (3-2, 1-0 Region 7-3A). Wesleyan (5-3, 1-0 Region 7-3A) also is tied for first and will play host to White County (3-5, 0-0 Region 7-3A). West Hall (1-5, 0-1 Region 7-3A) plays host to Lumpkin County (1-6, 0-1 Region 7-3A) as both teams will look to stay out of the cellar in the early standings.

In Region 8-4A, East Hall (5-1, 1-0 Region 8-4A North) will try to stay unbeaten against East Forsyth (2-5, 1-0 Region 8-4A North) in an early battle for first place in the subregion. Chestatee (2-4, 0-0 Region 8-4A North) opens its region slate at home against North Hall (2-4, 0-1 Region 8-4A North) with the Trojans trying to stay out of the bottom of the standings.

In Region 8-5A, Flowery Branch (1-6, 0-0 Region 8-5A) will try to snap a five-game losing streak on the road against Clarke Central (1-4, 0-0 Region 8-5A) which has lost three in a row.

On Saturday, Towns County will travel to Linocln County for all four teams' Region 8-A Division 2 openers.

(See the entire schedules for Friday and Saturday are below.)

BASKETBALL SCHEDULE FOR Friday, Dec. 8

Athens Christian at Lakeview Academy, 6 p.m.
Commerce at Franklin County, 7 p.m.
East Hall at East Forsyth, 6 p.m.*
Flowery Branch at Clarke Central, 7 p.m.*
Gainesville boys. vs. Knoxville Catholic (TN), 7:30 p.m. (Battle of the Peach at Wheeler HS)
Gilmer at Dawson County, 7 p.m.*
Lumpkin County at West Hall, 6 p.m.*
Mill Creek at Jefferson, 6 p.m.
North Hall at Chestatee, 7 p.m.*
Union County at Towns County, 7 p.m.
Walhalla (SC) at Rabun County, 6:30 p.m.
White County at Wesleyan, 6 p.m.*


BASKETBALL SCHEDULE FOR Saturday, Dec. 9
Buford girls vs. Central-Macon, 1 p.m. (Sandy's Spiel Showcase at Grayson)
Commerce at Lumpkin County, 7 p.m.
Denmark at North Forsyth, 4 p.m.
Habersham Central at Stephens County, 12:30 p.m.
Jackson County at Cedar Shoals, 4 p.m.
Johnson at East Jackson, 6 p.m.
Loganville Christian Academy at Flowery Branch, 1 p.m.
Rabun County at Lakeview Academy, 1 p.m.
Towns County at Lincoln County, 6 p.m.* 
West Hall at Providence Christian, 1:30 p.m.

(* -- denotes region contest)

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