Spartans, Wolves meet in showdown

Here’s where rubber meets road for the Greater Atlanta Christian girls basketball team.

Class AA’s No. 2-ranked Spartans, no stranger to the top 10, are enjoying one of their winningest seasons at 13-1 and 1-0 in Region 6-AA following Tuesday’s 72-20 victory over Hapeville Charter. But today’s 6 p.m. region game against five-time defending champion Wesleyan (12-3, 1-0), ranked No. 1, is huge.

It’s not only for the region lead, but a chance for GAC to potentially take over the top spot in the rankings, as well as narrow the 9-5 record against the Wolves since 1994. Importantly, the 6 p.m. game at GAC is for bragging rights in Norcross, before the teams’ rematch Jan. 29 at Wesleyan.

“It’ll be a good middle-season marker of how we’re doing,” GAC coach Cal Boyd said. “It’s not do or die, but it’s an important game for a lot of reasons.”

Showdowns between the Spartans and Wolves are explosive whatever the sport, particularly basketball. The crowd at GAC’s Long Forum likely will be one of the season’s largest, especially with Wesleyan having nine state championships since the early 2000s and GAC eight since the 1970s. The Wolves have won eight championships in the last nine seasons, and the year they didn’t, the Spartans did. Commonly, both teams are mentioned in the same paragraph with AAAAAA Norcross, a two-time state champion.

The Spartans and Wolves twice have met in state championship games and last played in 2008, when Wesleyan’s 49-39 victory clinched the region championship.

GAC comes in led by Brianna Cummings, who averages 19 points and 10 rebounds, while Wesleyan follows the lead of Katie Frerking, who averages 19 points and four rebounds.

The Spartans, who won tournaments at Carrollton and Walnut Grove, have lost only to unbeaten Parkview, the No. 4 team in AAAAAA. Wesleyan hasn’t lost to anyone in Georgia, but fell to a team from Illinois and consecutive opponents from Alabama.

Here are some other games to watch:

– Kendrick at Jordan: The No. 4 Cherokees (13-0) enter this 5-AA matchup having nearly doubled up opponents on average, 73-39.

– Pelham at Thomasville: The No. 6 Bulldogs put their 11-1 record on the line against the Hornets in 1-AA, vying for a fourth straight win against them.

– Dublin at Jones County: The No. 9 Irish (14-2) are on an eight-game streak since losing to Washington County. The Greyounds hope to halt their four-game losing skid.

– Calhoun at Model: The Blue Devils have beaten the Yellow Jackets 15 straight times, but this time could be different. Calhoun comes in ranked No. 8 and having won 11 straight.

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