The first round of the state basketball tournament proved to be a big night for DeKalb County and South Georgia girls.
One was no surprise. The other was.
DeKalb County’s Region 6-AAAAA lineup of Stephenson, Southwest DeKalb, Tucker and Miller Grove swept Region 7. That included an upset of No. 1-ranked Kell by Stephenson, 60-51. The game was not that close as Stephenson led by 20 in the second half.
DeKalb County girls teams have won eight state titles in the past five seasons. Stephenson, which won a title in 2008, came out of Region 6 as a No. 4 seed. But Stephenson had been ranked as high as No. 2 earlier this month and entered the state tournament at No. 7.
Tucker was No. 2, Miller Grove No. 3 and Southwest DeKalb No. 4. Miller Grove won Class AAAA in 2012. Southwest DeKalb won AAAA in 2008, 2009 and 2010. But the four powerhouses took turns beating each other, leading to some concern that there wasn’t a dominant team that could roll through the bracket. Perhaps there are four.
Third-ranked Redan’s girls (AAAA) and No. 1-ranked Miller Grove’s boys (AAAAAA) also won Tuesday, giving DeKalb a 6-0 record in the first round.
Meanwhile, another good bet in the girls first round appeared to be Cobb County’s Region 4.
A year ago, four teams from this region – McEachern, Hilllgrove, Harrison and North Cobb – made the quarterfinals. McEachern won the title.
South Georgia’s Region 1 was embarrassed in the first round a year ago. Beach of Savannah entered 26-0 but lost at home to fourth-seeded Harrison (14-14) 43-25.
This season, Region 1 got its revenge.
Colquitt County stunned 2012 champion and Region 4 tournament runner-up McEachern 54-49 at McEachern on Tuesday, and Valdosta beat Hillgrove 59-51 after leading by 18 in the third quarter.
‘’I think we’re working a little harder and getting better,’’ Valdosta coach E.A. Wilcox said.
It’s been six years since a school from this region advanced to the quarterfinals. Valdosta, Colquitt County and top-seeded Tift County have a chance.