By virtue of winning the regular season championships, the LaFayette Ramblers and Northwest Whitfield Lady Bruins earned No. 1 seeds for next week’s Region 6-AAAA tournament, first-round byes and guaranteed spots in the semifinals, meaning those two teams are assured of spots in the state tournament, regardless of what happens in the tournament.
For everyone else, there will be the pressure of Monday and Tuesday’s opening round.
Six games, three on Monday and three on Tuesday – all at Southeast Whitfield High School – will see the winners move on to the state tournament, while the losers will be packing up the basketball and taking up uniforms the following day.
The girls will get the tournament going on Monday. LaFayette’s Lady Ramblers, winners of two of their last three games, will enter the tournament as the No. 5 seed. They will face No. 4 seed Gilmer at 4:30 p.m. with the winner landing a semifinal game against top-seed Northwest on Thursday (7 p.m.), but with the promise of a spot in Class 4A’s version of the Big Dance.
The Lady Ramblers are 0-2 against Gilmer this season.
That game will be followed by a 6 p.m. battle between No. 3 Heritage and No. 6 Ridgeland. The Lady Generals own two wins over the Lady Panthers this season, including a victory this past Tuesday. The night will conclude with No. 2 Pickens facing No. 7 Southeast at 7:30 p.m.
The winners of Monday’s final two games will face off in the semifinals at 4 p.m. on Thursday. The consolation game (third place) will be held on Friday at 4 with the championship game set for Friday night at 7.
The action picks up again on Tuesday with a 4:30 p.m. boys’ game between No. 4 Southeast and No. 5 Ridgeland, who lost both games to the Raiders in the regular season. Should the Panthers win, it would set up an all-Walker County clash with top-seed LaFayette in the semifinals. That game would be played Thursday night at 8:30.
Tuesday’s second game will pit No. 3 Heritage and No. 6 Gilmer at 6 p.m. The Generals lost a three-point overtime decision in Ellijay in the first meeting this season, but smoked the Bobcats by nearly 50 points back in Boynton later in the year.
The night will wrap up with No. 2 Northwest and No. 7 Pickens at 7:30 p.m. The winner will take on the LaFayette-Gilmer winner at 5:30 on Thursday in a semifinal matchup.
The consolation game will be held on Friday at 5:30 p.m. with the championship set for Friday night at 8:30 p.m.
Tickets prices for all spectators will be $7 each night.