Here are some of the best games and story lines for the second round of the boys tournament:
Best games: No. 8 Westlake at No. 1 Tift County, No. 6 Peachtree Ridge at No. 4 Shiloh.
Story lines: Druid Hills and Tri-Cities, the two Cinderfellas that won their region tournaments after finishing fifth and sixth in the regular season, have tough home games. Fourth-ranked Hillgrove, the No. 2 seed from Region 4, travels to Tri-Cities. Both looked good in the first round – Tri-Cities in beating Luella 67-51 and Hillgrove in beating Valdosta 57-43. Brunswick, the No. 2 team in Region 2, plays at Druid Hills. … Tri-Cities has won its first-round game and lost its second-round game each of its last six trips to the state playoffs.
Best game: No. 6 Tucker at No. 7 Allatoona
Story lines: Region 6 (Miller Grove, Stephenson, Mays, Tucker) swept Region 7 in the first round. The four could sweep again, with Tucker getting the toughest challenge. Fourth-ranked Stephenson plays Region 5 champion New Manchester. Fifth-ranked Mays plays Region 8 champion Gainesville. No. 1-ranked Miller Grove plays at home against Villa Rica.
Best game: No. 5 Jonesboro at No. 6 Statesboro
Story lines: Region 6 (South Atlanta, Columbia, Mays, Grady) swept Region 7 in the first round. The four could sweep again. Second-ranked South Atlanta is at home against Fayette County. Third-ranked Columia plays at Region 5 champion LaGrange. Fourth-ranked Marist is home against Shaw. Grady plays at Alexander in a game between formerly ranked teams that won on the road in the first round.
Best games: No. 7 North Hall at No. 5 Morgan County, No. 10 St. Pius at No. 4 Cartersville
Story lines: Three Savannah teams won their first round games in Savannah, Johnson and Beach. All played in the highest class last year but moved to AAA this season. Third-ranked Johnson travels to Region 2 champion Carver of Columbus. No.. 2 Savannah plays dangerous Dodge County at home. Beach travels to ninth-ranked Washington County.
Best game: No. 7 Bleckley County at No. 3 Westside-Augusta, No 4 Laney at No. 9 Taylor County
Story lines: Augusta schools Laney and Westside are on the spot with games against Top 10 opponents. Laney is the defending state champion. Westside is the top-ranked team in the computer Maxwell Ratings, ahead of AJC No. 1 Greater Atlanta Christian. Another city of note is Columbus, which has three teams (Kendrick, Jordan, Spencer) in the second round.
A public –
Best game: Hancock Central at Wilcox County
Story lines: It’s the first ‘’public’’ Class A basketball tournament. Computer-rating experts would argue that the GHSA power ratings don’t work nearly as well for basketball because of the larger number of games but also the fact that opponents’ classification (a big part of the GHSA system) means less in basketball than football. As a result, the Maxwell Ratings rank Wilcox County and Dooly County at No. 2 and No. 3. The GHSA has them No. 7 and No. 8. The Wilcox-Hancock game matches the GHSA’s No. 7 and No. 10 teams. They are Maxwell’s No. 2 and No. 6 teams. Hancock is only 15-10, but according to Maxwell, Hancock’s average opponent is 16 points better than the average opponent of Portal (20-7).
A private –
Best game: Whitefield Academy at No. 4 W.D. Mohammed
Story line: Whitefield Academy, the 2012 Class A champion, had a great region tournament, beating North Cobb Christian, reaching the final and losing in overtime to St. Francis, after an up-and-down regular season during which many wrote the team off. Its second-round opponent, WDM, was ranked No. 1 just two weeks ago.