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Area teams earn statewide recognition just when the region race heats up… tonight!

More than 10 of the 50 CSRA schools we track have a basketball team that has claimed a place in their classification’s top 10 statewide ranking* as high school basketball bursts into the new year.

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More than 10 of the 50 CSRA schools we track have a basketball team that has claimed a place in their classification’s top 10 statewide ranking* as high school basketball bursts into the new year.

Georgia Boys:

Evans – #8 Class 6A
Cross Creek – #5 Class 4A
Baldwin – #9 Class 4A
Glenn Hills – #4 Class 2A
Butler – #5 Class 2A
Laney – #7 Class 2A
Hephzibah – #8 Class 2A

Georgia Girls:

Laney – #2 Class 2A
Josey – #6 Class 2A

South Carolina Boys:

Aiken – #3 Class 4A
Wagener-Salley – #5 Class 1A
McCormick – #6 Class 6A

South Carolina Girls:

North Augusta – #1 Class 4A

That accounting will be the last time we need to judge subjectively which teams will be most likely to make a run at a state title by looking at overall wins and losses, the strength of a team’s schedule and the quality of its wins. Now the ONLY thing that will matter for figuring out which teams will play into March successfully will be the results of each “region race,” a series of mostly Tuesday and Friday matchups in January that, for the Georgia teams, will determine not just the regular season region champions but also who will receive automatic state playoff bids and advantageous region tournament seeding.

And each region race in South Carolina will be even more important because, unlike Georgia, where state playoff seeding is determined during the region tournaments played in the first week of February, the regular season’s region standings determine state playoff seeding in SC.

Here are some key matchups during the first 8 days of the region race, the results of which will mean far more than any current statewide ranking can:

Class 6A, Region 3

Friday, January 3
Grovetown (12-2, 1-0) at #8 Evans (10-2, 1-0)
Class 6A, Region 3

In December, both #9 Evans and Grovetown won the first game of their ten game league schedule, and whichever team earns a win Friday night will gain even more momentum before both will hit the road next week to take turns visiting Heritage (Evans Tuesday and Grovetown Friday). Heritage advanced to the semifinal round of the state playoffs last season, and the team features two widely heralded stars reportedly destined for college rosters after they graduate.

Friday, January 3
Heritage (12-3, 0-0) at Lakeside (5-7, 0-1)
Class 6A, Region 3

Tuesday, January 7
Evans at Heritage

Friday, January 10
Grovetown at Heritage

Lakeside’s progress has been uneven in the pre-region portion of their schedule, with the only consistent ingredient being the production of senior Tyshun Briscoe, and, to a lesser extent, the scoring punch provided off the bench by sophomore Rico Gonzalez. The Panthers dropped their first region contest 58-49 at home.

Heritage will be playing its first region game, and new coach Brian Anderson (an Augusta native), as well as newcomers RJ Noord and James White, will set about continuing the momentum gained last season when the Patriots reached the Class 6A state playoff semifinal round.

Class 2A, Region 4

#4 Glenn Hills sits at the top of the region standings with a 7-1 record halfway through the 16 game league schedule. But 5 of the other 8 teams in the region are within two games of the Spartans, and 3 of them are ranked in the top 10 in the state. The next 10 days will give teams the opportunity to position themselves for a run at a top 2 spot in the final standings, which signifies an automatic state playoff spot, assuming this region will continue its recent practices for its region tournament seeding.

Friday, January 3
#5 Butler (8-4, 4-2) at #8 Hephzibah (8-5, 4-3)
Class 2A, Region 4

Friday, January 3
Jefferson County (8-4, 4-1) at Westside (6-6, 4-3)
Class 2A, Region 4

Tuesday, January 7
#5 Butler at #4 Glenn Hills
Class 2A, Region 4

Tuesday, January 7
#7 Laney (7-4, 4-2) at Jefferson County
Class 2A, Region 4

Friday, January 10
#8 Hephzibah at Jefferson County
Class 2A, Region 4

Friday, January 10
#7 Laney at #5 Butler
Class 2A, Region 4

Saturday, January 11
#8 Hephzibah at Westside
Class 2A, Region 4

Saturday, January 11
(Girls) #2 Laney at #6 Josey
Class 2A, Region 4

Class 4A, Region 3

On paper this might seem like a two team race on the boys side, but Burke County shouldn’t be underestimated, especially after a recent 63-37 road win over Laney. And Thomson is the only team to have beaten #3 Aiken (South Carolina Class 4A) this season.
The girls race has traditionally been a dead heat between Baldwin, Cross Creek and Burke County. I expect that to be the case again this season.

Friday, January 3
Burke County (7-4, 0-0) at #5 Cross Creek (12-3, 0-0)
Class 4A, Region 3

Friday, January 3
(Girls) Burke County (6-3, 0-0) at #5 Cross Creek (9-4, 0-0)
Class 4A, Region 3

Saturday, January 4
#9 Baldwin (7-4, 0-0) at Thomson (4-5, 0-0)
Class 4A, Region 3

Tuesday, January 7
Baldwin at Burke County
Class 4A, Region 3

Tuesday, January 7
(Girls) Baldwin (10-5) at Burke County
Class 4A, Region 3

Above was a sample of the exciting league games in the first week of January. We’ll track as much of that action, along with the key happenings from the leagues and teams not mentioned during the entire month’s sprint.

*Rankings referenced:

Georgia boys – https://sandysspiel.com/category/ghsa-basketball/rankings/

Georgia girls – https://sandysspiel.com/category/girls-basketball/girls-rankings/

South Carolina boys and girls – https://southcarolinabasketball.net/2019/12/18/scbca-top-10-december-17/

High School

[Livestream] Evans Hosts Effingham Co. in State Playoff Showdown

Evans battles Effingham in Round 1 of the Georgia 6A State Playoffs. Live from Evans High.

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