We’re down to the final eight in seven state tournament brackets. Here’s a class-by-class look at those.
Note that four of the five state champions from 2012 still have a shot at repeating. McEachern, which won AAAAA last year, was eliminated in the first round by Colquitt County, but Miller Grove, Columbia, Lovett and Wesleyan are still alive.
AAAAAA – Valdosta and Tift County of Region 1, both unranked, are within one victory of the semifinals. The last time two south Georgia teams advanced to the final four in the highest classification was in 2001, when Lowndes and Valdosta did it in AAAAA. Both teams lost in the semifinals. The last south Georgia team to win the championship in the highest classification was Beach, which won Class AAAA in 2000. … North Gwinnett and Norcross, the teams to beat, were in the semifinals last season. Most of the rest aren’t accustomed to going this far. It’s been a while for the rest of them — Cherokee (1987), Alpharetta (never), North Cobb (1965), Tift County (1992), Hughes (never) and Valdosta (2001).
AAAAA – Six DeKalb County public schools are among the final 56 girls teams playing, and that includes four of the eight in CAAAAA. Region 6 rivals Tucker, Miller Grove, Southwest DeKalb and Stephenson will go head to head on Tuesday for two of the four semifinal spots at Kennesaw State. DeKalb County schools (including St. Pius) have won six of the past seven championships in the state’s second-largest classification. … Thomas County Central, Effingham County and Hardaway from AAAA are three of only 11 unranked girls teams to make the quarterfinals. Thomas Central last made the semifinals in 1988. Effingham last made it in 1968. Forest Park (2011) and Hardaway (2007), who play in the other quarterfinal, are more accustomed to it. … Tucker hasn’t been to a semifinal since 1977. The other three DeKalb teams each have son state titles in the past five years.
AAAA – DeKalb County’s Columbia and Redan are in the Class AAAA quarterfinals. Redan has 30-point victories in each of its first two playoff games, against Dalton (73-43) and seventh-ranked Fayette County (70-40). Also, DeKalb private school St. Pius reached the quarterfinals in Class AAA along with Decatur, which is in DeKalb but not part of the county school system. … Sandy Creek, River Ridge and Howard are three of only 11 unranked girls teams statewide to make the quarterfinals. … Here are the last times that each quarterfinal team has made a semifinal – Sandy Creek (never, opened in 1990), Redan (2010), Columbia (2012), River Ridge (never, opened in 2009), Jonesboro (2012), Howard (never, opened in 2008), Mary Persons (1966) and Woodland (never, opened in 2007).
AA – The bracket that has held closest to form, according to the rankings, is Class AA. The top six teams – Wesleyan, Laney, Kendrick, Calhoun, Thomasville and Pelham – have advanced to the final eight. Of the other four, Greater Atlanta Christian and Bremen were eliminated by higher-ranked teams, Model lost to a Lovett team that was ranked earlier this season, and Dublin was eliminated by Bleckley County. … The only remaining undefeated teams in any girls classification are Laney and Kendrick. They will meet in the semifinals if they win their quarterfinal games. … No. 1 Wesleyan, going for its sixth consecutive state title and ninth in 10 years, has won its first two state tournament games by an average score of 80-28. That includes a 75-27 victory over 10th-ranked Bremen in the second round. The Wolves’ quarterfinal opponent, fourth-ranked Calhoun, has won 25 consecutive games since a 56-32 loss to AAAAAA No. 6 North Cobb on Nov. 19.
A – All 10 of the ranked Class A teams won their first-round games. That includes six private schools, which are joined in the final eight by Atlanta International and Pace Academy, and four public schools, which are joined in the final eight by Mitchell County, Wilkinson County, Seminole County and Claxton. … The most intriguing private game is No. 5 Darlington at No. 2 St. Francis. Both have beaten No. 1-ranked Southwest Atlanta Christian.