Last season, the Chattooga girls’ basketball team reached the region championship game for the first time since 1988 by upsetting Model in the semifinals.
This season, the Lady Indians are the top team in Region 7-AA and its their turn to be the team to beat in this week’s region tournament in Summerville.
Chattooga will be the site of the Region 7-AA basketball tournament this week as the Lady Indians clinched the No. 1 seed during the regular season. It’s one of many postseason tournaments that will play out across the state this week.
“It’s exciting to be able to host,” Chattooga coach Alvah Beasley said. “But it kind of lets you know the other teams are going to be gunning for you. It lets you know there’s a bull’s-eye on your back every night. It’ll be a very exciting time, and I’m happy for all the players. It should be a pretty exciting week for us.”
The Lady Indians are on a four-game winning streak coming into the tournament and will not play their first game until Thursday’s semifinals, automatically earning a berth in the state playoffs and needing only two wins to capture the region title.
Chattooga finished region play with a 13-1 record with its only loss coming at the hands of Gordon Central early in the season. Still, Beasley is confident the Lady Indians have room to improve before the end of the season.
“I don’t feel like we’ve played our best game,” Beasley said. “I just don’t think, in every facet of the game, we haven’t played our best game just yet. I’m hoping that we have our best game sometime next week.”
No. 2 seed Rockmart, which finished 12-2 in region play after losing to Chattooga twice, will also play Thursday.
The 7-AA tournament will begin Monday with the fifth-seeded Model girls facing off against No. 8 seed Coosa at 4 p.m., and No. 6 seed Armuchee against No. 7 seed Pepperell at 7 p.m. No. 4 seed Gordon Central will face the winner of Game 1 on Tuesday, followed by third-seeded Dade County taking on the winner of Game 2.
On the boys’ side, Chattooga is looking to win its fourth straight region championship as the Indians await their opponents for Thursday’s matchup. The Indians finished 13-1 in region play, with its only loss coming against Model.
As the No. 2 seed, Rockmart will play in the last game of the day Thursday. The Jackets finished 11-3 in region play, were swept by Chattooga and closed out the regular season with a loss to Coosa.
The Blue Devils, as the No. 3 seed, will face the winner of Monday’s matchup between sixth seed Armuchee and seventh seed Gordon Central on Tuesday.
In the first boys’ game of the day Tuesday, the fourth-seeded Eagles will go up against the winner of Monday’s game between fifth seed Pepperell and eighth seed Dade County.
Darlington girls top region;
Tigers must win
The Darlington Lady Tigers wrapped up the No. 1 seed in Region 6-A/A with their only hiccup being a three-point loss to Bowdon. Darlington, which finished 11-1 in region play, clinched the subregion’s top seed with Friday’s 66-42 win over Mt. Zion-Carroll and will play either Walker or Gordon Lee at Mt. Bethel on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
Though the Darlington boys’ struggled through the early part of the season under first-year head coach Nathan West, the Tigers did well in region play, going on to finish with a 10-4 record and winning the last three games of the regular season to earn the subregion’s No. 3 seed.
Darlington is coming off a huge win against region rival Mt. Zion-Carroll, topping the Eagles 90-88 in triple overtime on Friday in a game where the Tigers were down by 25 points at halftime.
“It was a big win for multiple reasons,” West said. “We were both fighting for the No. 3 seed in the region. They got off to a hot start, and we didn’t start playing well.”
Szymon Paluch scored 18 points to lead the Tigers, Hank Crawford added 15 points, Patrick Shelley scored 13, and Braden Bell and D.J. Johnson each scored 11.
“It was a big program win for the culture we’re trying to build at Darlington,” West said. “We’ve got some guys with grit and tenacity. We’ve been asking them to do that all year, and we got that out of some of the guys down the stretch.”
The Tigers will host a play-in game Monday at 7 p.m. against Whitfield Academy.
The fourth-seeded Trion girls went up against Fellowship Christian on Saturday night in a play-in game and came away with a 53-40 win against Fellowship Christian.
Chloe Murdock scored 18 points to lead the Lady Bulldogs to the win, and Trion will now go up against top seed St. Francis on Tuesday at 8:30 p.m.
The sixth-seeded Trion boys (9-15, 5-9) will face Walker on the road in a play-in game Monday at 7 p.m.
Lady Wolves earn third seed; Wolves in play-in game
The Rome High girls will be back in action in Carrollton against Hiram again just four days after defeating the Lady Hornets 58-33 to close out the regular season. Rome won two straight and three of their last four to earn the No. 3 seed in the Region 7-5A tournament.
The Rome boys dropped their last three games heading into the region tournament and will compete in a play-in game Monday at 7:30 p.m. at Woodland.
The winner of the play-in game will move on to the first round to take on top-seeded host Kell on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.
Lady Lions get bye; Lions set for Tuesday
The Unity Christian girls will compete in the Georgia Association of Private and Parochial Schools Division I-A tournament at Praise Academy in Powder Springs as the No. 2 seed out of Region 1/A. The Lady Lions get a bye through the first round and will face either Horizon Christian Academy or Praise Academy in the second round on Thursday at 6:30 p.m.
The Lions, as the No. 3 seed in Region 1/A, will face Horizon Christian Academy, the No. 2 seed from Region 1/B on Tuesday at 5 p.m.