The semifinals of the state basketball tournament begin Wednesday at the Gwinnett Place Arena and Macon Coliseum.
Here are some random thoughts on the teams that are left. Tell me where I’m wrong.
AAAAA – Milton is one of the best teams in Georgia history and should beat Norcross in the final. Norcross is good enough to beat Milton, but probably won’t. Third-best team in the state is Wheeler. Region 4 (Harrison, McEachern, Campbell, etc.) was a flop. (I picked Harrison & McEachern to make the semis. Wrong!) Region 8 also didn’t do so well. Otherwise, it went as expected. Tift County is pretty good, and the freshman Tadrik Jackson is special. Saw the Devils in Fort Valley. Having said that, I’m not sure there aren’t four or five in teams in Gwinnett County that are as good or better than any team in regions 1-4. Milton and Norcross win by 20+ this week in the semis.
AAAA – These are four legit state championship contenders in the Final Four. Miller Grove clearly is the favorite, but Jonesboro, Fayette County and Rockdale County are no joke. Except for Rockdale (I picked SWD), these were the four that I picked for the semis.
AAA – Defending champion Columbia looks unbeatable here. Franklin County and Eagle’s Landing are in the semis for the first time ever. EL had never won a playoff game until this year. Butler is back in the SF for the first time since a runner-up finish in 2004. (I picked EL to make the SF, but not Franklin or Butler.) Great run by Franklin County, btw. Just can’t see Columbia losing.
AA - Does Region 6 have AA’s best three teams – GAC, Buford, South Atlanta? We might find out this week. Laney and Swainsboro proved that Region 3 was stronger than we figured, but I still see a Buford-GAC final. GAC wins it.
A – Sub Greenville for Wilcox and this is the final four that I expected. Whitefield is perhaps the team to beat now, although Greenville beat Whitefield in the regular season. This remains the most suspenseful Final Four. Wilkinson County is Georgia’s only unbeaten boys team. Terrell County is the underdog in the mix. Go with the team that’s played the hardest schedule – Whitefield.
AAAAA – The championship is Norcross vs. Campbell, IMHO. McEachern and Mill Creek play in the other SF. I’ve seen Campbell and McEachern play, and also North Gwinnett, the team that beat Norcross twice. No super teams here. Norcross is awfully good, but remember that this team lost Kaela Davis and Brianna Jordan from the ’10 team. Norcross can be had.
AAAA – Now this is a great Final Four. Fayette County is the best girls team I’ve seen in person this year. Can’t see how it would’ve lost 55-27 in December to Norcross. No other GA losses. Forest Park has no losses to Georgia teams this year. Douglas County is 30-0. Chattahoochee has UGA-signee Erika Ford back. Look for a Fayette-Forest Park final.
AAA – WaCo (30-0) plays defending champ Columbia in the SF. Crisp County is the Cinderella. Dalton is looking strong. Columbia remains the team to beat, but lost to SPX in the region final, and Dalton handled SPX in the QF.
AA – Buford vs. GAC for the title. Can’t see them struggling in their SF vs. NE Macon and Laney.
A – Wesleyan.
– By Todd Holcomb for the AJC’s Prep Zone