It was a quest to survive in the first round of the GHSA state basketball playoffs for local teams. Now three teams remain as the Sweet 16 gets underway this week.
Model’s No. 6-ranked Lady Blue Devils are hosting Callaway on Wednesday at 6 p.m. in the second round of the Class AA bracket, while Darlington’s boys will be on the road Thursday at North Cobb Christian in the Class A Private playoffs.
Rockmart’s boys are set to travel to Columbus for their next contest in the Class AA playoffs as they face Spencer. That game is tentatively set for Thursday, although a time had not yet been announced.
Darlington (14-10) is looking to capitalize on its first playoff win since 2009, when the Tigers reached the Class A quarterfinals. They played a close game with Fellowship Christian on Saturday, winning 46-36.
“We talk about the fact that you’ve got to win it; the other team is not going to lose it,” Darlington coach Bradley Pierson said. “The other team isn’t going to stop competing. You’ve got to continue to make plays until the final horn sounds.”
North Cobb Christian is a familiar foe for the Tigers as both are in the same subregion. The Eagles (22-5) won both contests, but Darlington held a late four-point lead last time on Jan. 29 before losing 63-50.
“Hopefully it plays in our favor,” Pierson said about having knowledge of their opponent. “They’re a great team, one of the top four or five teams in the state in single A. So we’ll have to play well, but our guys will be up for the challenge.”
Model’s girls are hoping a first-round win over No. 9 Putnam County will propel them into a long postseason run. The Lady Devils (23-3) haven’t lost a game since December and will be playing their seventh game at home out of their last eight.
Callaway (9-12) is the No. 2 seed out of Region 5-AA and edged South Atlanta 54-49 in the opening round.
As Model was the only 7-AA girls’ team to get out of the first round, Rockmart (17-11) was the sole boys’ team from the region to advance after winning 52-43 over Putnam County.
Spencer (21-7) pulled out a 67-65 win over Hapeville Charter in the first round. The Green Waves had their season cut short by the Yellow Jackets last year when Rockmart beat Spencer 49-47 in the first round of the playoffs.