Shiloh and North Gwinnett gained the inside track Friday in key in Class AAAAA boys region races that have only a few days left.
Archer, a three-year-old school on the country side of Lawrenceville, also deserves special mention this week.
Shiloh (20-3, 13-1) beat Parkview 67-36, but the big news was Archer’s upset of Berkmar that gave Shiloh first place in Region 8-AAAAA
With victories over middling South Gwinnett and Central Gwinnett in its final two games, Shiloh will have the No. 1 seed for the region tournament while Archer (17-7, 12-3) and Berkmar (15-7, 12-2) figure to be seeded to face each other in the semifinals.
Shiloh, ranked No. 2 in the AAAAA rankings, has its best team ever. The Generals have won only one state playoff game (1997) in their history. The difference now is third-year head coach Kim Rivers (five state titles in Maryland) and transfers Robert Carter (a Georgia Tech signee) and Trayvon Reed (a 7-footer).
Archer also is a team to watch in the state playoffs. The school made the football state playoffs in its first year as a varsity program last fall. That came just months after the basketball team was only 3-13 in the region but scored three post-season upsets and made the second round of the state playoffs.
Now, Archer is playing like a top-10 team under coach Tim Watkins, who came to Archer from Parkview with principal Buck Buchanan. In Friday’s victory, point guard Randall Smith scored 19 points and had 10 points.
Meanwhile, in 7-AAAAA, North Gwinnett (15-8, 10-2) is now the team to beat despite sitting in second place behind Norcross (15-8, 11-1). North beat fifth-ranked Mill Creek 46-41 on Friday as Georgia Tech-signee and Norcross transfer Chris Bolden scored 23 points.
Norcross, the defending state champion, beat Meadowcreek 59-52 but now faces road games at Mill Creek (17-5, 8-4) on Tuesday and North Gwinnett on Friday. And Norcross is without key post player Jason Croom, who suffered a dislocated shoulder in a recent game.
Because North Gwinnett beat Norcross 67-54 on Jan. 17, North is the regular-season champ if it wins out. That would put North in great position to have its best post-season run since 2003 and 2004, when the Bulldogs reached the quarterfinals.
Key upcoming games in AAAAA –
Tift County’s boys can clinch first in Region 1 with a victory Saturday at Colquitt County. Westlake can clinch Region 2 with a victory Saturday over second-place Newton. First place in regions 4 and 5 probably will be decided Friday when Wheeler plays Marietta and North Cobb plays Harrison.
Tuesday should decide girls regions 2, 4 and 5. Stephenson plays Westlake (R2), McEachern plays Hillgrove (R4) and Marietta plays Woodstock (R5). Third-ranked Norcross will play at fifth-ranked North Gwinnett in a Region 7 game on Friday. Norcross’ Diamond DeShields (reigning state player of the year) is doubtful with a wrist injury. North Gwinnett’s Lexie Brown (committed to Maryland) is back after a case of mononucleosis.