State playoff brackets set for local programs

16 of our local programs made preseason goals come to fruition. Of those 14, 5 claimed region championships to ensure a #1 seed. A total of 10 will play a first round home game. 10 of the 12 girls’ programs in the BLITZ coverage area have made it, while 6 of 12 boys’ programs are in the bracket.

The teams who secured a playoff spot include:

  • BANKS (B&G)
  • DAWSON (B&G)
  • HABERSHAM (G)
  • JEFFERSON (B&G)
  • LUMPKIN (G)
  • RABUN (G)
  • STEPHENS (G)
  • TALLULAH FALLS (B&G)
  • TOWNS (B)
  • UNION (B&G)
  • WHITE (G)

Round One action is set for February 13-15.

BANKS CO LEOPARDS

RECORD: 23-4 (12-2)
REGION: Region Regular Season & Tournament Champions
STATE RANKING: #7
RND 1: vs #4 Washington (6-AA)

Carl Cleveland’s farewell tour is coming to an end. The Young Harris commit is enjoying a record-breaking season, and how he goes, the team goes. Still, there are many top-notch players surrounding him, starting with juniors Dakota Orr and Pierce Martin, as well as senior Sawyer Pace. Could this be the year that Banks County makes it past the Sweet 16, after falling there in 4 straight seasons?

BANKS CO LADY LEOPARDS

RECORD: 14-15 (7-7)
REGION: Region Runner-Up
STATE RANKING: N/A
RND 1: vs #3 South Atlanta (6-AA)

Talk about getting hot at the right time. The Lady Leopards upended top-ranked Rabun County to reach the championship game before seeing a late lead disappear to Union. Heather Vaughan and company have been on the verge all season, and finally put the pieces together when it mattered most.

2019 Bob & Teds GIF

DAWSON CO TIGERS

RECORD: 25-2 (12-0)
REGION: Region Regular Season & Tournament Champions
STATE RANKING: #2
RND 1: vs #4 Cedar Grove (5-AAA)

The Tigers made it back-to-back region titles over GAC. Campbell Reed, Jasper Gibson, Eli Burruss, and the rest of the squad are primed for yet another Final Four run like they had last season.

DAWSON CO LADY TIGERS

RECORD: 14-13 (6-6)
REGION: Region 4th
STATE RANKING: N/A
RND 1: @ #1 Cedar Grove (5-AAA)

The Lady Tigers fell in successive games in the region tourney, making them a tough draw as a 4-seed that once was ranked #4 in the state. Look out Cedar Grove!

HABERSHAM CENTRAL LADY RAIDERS

RECORD: 13-14 (4-6)
REGION: Region 4th
STATE RANKING: N/A
RND 1: @ #1 Sprayberry (6-AAAAAA)

The Lady Raiders are likely the most improved team in our area (very much like Stephens County below), after winning only 5 games in each of the past two seasons. This year consisted of pulling together the group for 13 wins and a playoff berth, the first since 2016-17 and only the third playoff run in the last 11 years.

JEFFERSON LADY DRAGONS

RECORD: 23-4 (12-0)
REGION: Region Regular Season & Tournament Champions
STATE RANKING: #2
RND 1: vs #4 Coahulla Creek (6-AAA)

The Lady Dragons once again are breathing fire. They rolled through the region like it was nothing, and now set sights on besting last season’s Elite 8 run. Livi Blackstock, Deshona Gaither, and company are looking every bit the part of a state championship program.

JEFFERSON DRAGONS

RECORD: 18-7 (9-3)
REGION: Region Tournament Champions
STATE RANKING: #7
RND 1: vs #4 Adairsville (6-AAA)

The Dragons heated up at the perfect time, running to a region tournament title, the first in 6 years. After last year’s round one exit, the boys are looking for more this season, and with a balanced squad featuring Jacob Radaker, Malaki Starks, Daniel and Owen Parker, and others, it’s just a crazy-impossible assignment to stop this team.

LUMPKIN CO LADY INDIANS

RECORD: 15-10 (6-6)
REGION: Region Tournament 5th; receives At-Large bid
STATE RANKING: N/A
RND 1: @ #1 Johnson, Savannah (3-AAA)

The Lady Indians earned the At-Large bid out of 3A after holding a top-10 ranking for much of the season and falling short in the region tournament’s opening round. The Lady Indians are led by Isabel Davenport, Kate Jackson, Lexi Pierce, and Mackenzie Caldwell, among others. This is the first playoff berth in over 12 years for the program.

RABUN CO LADY WILDCATS

RECORD: 23-3 (13-1)
REGION: Region Regular Season Champions & Tournament 4th
STATE RANKING: #2
RND 1: @ #1 Douglass (6-AA)

Here is the BEST #4 seed in the entire state. Major upsets in the region tournament in back-to-back games pushed the previously-ranked #1 team in the state to this point. Keep in mind, the Lady Cats had only been beat once prior to that. Look for this group to get it together before the first round game, where we’re easily calling a win over Douglass.

STEPHENS CO LADY INDIANS

RECORD: 21-6 (7-1)
REGION: Region Regular Season Champions & Tournament 3rd
STATE RANKING: #7
RND 1: @ #2 Gilmer (6-AAAA)

The Lady Indians didn’t play as well as they’d like in the region tournament after claiming the regular season region crown. However, a 3-seed is still decent, and it should be a great contest at Gilmer. This still-young team is ahead of schedule, but can really use the win for momentum heading into next season. This playoff run is the first for the program since 2013-14, and like Habersham Central (above), had a gigantic turnaround with 5 wins last season to 21 this year…and counting!

TALLULAH FALLS LADY INDIANS

RECORD: 16-7 (8-2)
REGION: Region Regular Season Runner-Up & Tournament 3rd
STATE RANKING: #10
RND 1: vs #17 Paideia

So we have to await the official assignment, but Tallulah Falls is definitely in the state playoffs with a solid 16-win season and region runner-up finish. Katy Corbett and Lillie Free are the two veterans who have led the team, but we’ve been thoroughly impressed with freshman Danika Lightbourne, as she has emerged as a next-level player.

TALLULAH FALLS INDIANS

RECORD: 10-13 (6-4)
REGION: Region Regular Season & Tournament 5th
STATE RANKING: N/A
RND 1: @ #10 Pinecrest Academy

The Indians snuck in with the 23rd overall ranking in the Power Ratings, as only 24 got in. While it’s a daunting task to play at Pinecrest, don’t overlook Matthew Weidner and sharp-shooter Hayden Johnson. Those two seniors have really carried the team this season.

TOWNS COUNTY INDIANS

RECORD: 18-8 (7-3)
REGION: Region Regular Season & Tournament Runner-Up
STATE RANKING: N/A
RND 1: vs #21 GMC

A fantastic season for Towns County, as star junior Kolby Moss was electrifying, alongside teammates Aidan Berrong and Collin Crowder. The Indians played in their first-ever region title game, and their dream season also includes a Battle of the States Championship. This playoff run is only the second over the past 11 seasons, and first since the Sweet 16 run in ’16-17. Two wins more can earn the program their first-ever 20-win season as well.

UNION CO LADY PANTHERS

RECORD: 21-6 (9-4)
REGION: Region Tournament Champions
STATE RANKING: #6
RND 1: vs #4 Therrell (6-AA)

The Lady Panthers won their first region tournament championship since 2009-10, and their second 20-win season (matching the ’11-12 21 wins). This is all in year one under Crystal Beach, who’s got so many key players coming up big, including Andelin Hill, Ava Hunter, Kait McCarter, and Brooke Dockrey.

UNION CO PANTHERS

RECORD: 15-11 (8-5)
REGION: Region Tournament 3rd
STATE RANKING: N/A
RND 1: @ #2 Douglass (6-AA)

The Panthers are a solid 3-seed. These guys got off a slow start with the football team making a deep playoff run. But once Union got together on the court and got some games under them, it was business as usual. Both Pierson Allison and Sawyer Drake eclipsed 1,000 career points, and Kyle Morlock has played well down the stretch too.

SKINNY AD 2 - DCMM GIF

WHITE CO LADY WARRIORS

RECORD: 20-7 (10-2)
REGION: Region Tournament Runner-Up
STATE RANKING: #10
RND 1: vs #3 Central, Carrollton (5-AAAA)

In what is the final year of White County in Class 4A, the Lady Warriors are looking better than ever. The girls, led by a plethora of talented players like Dasha Cannon, Bentley Cronic, Ellie Gearing, Maddie Futch, and many more, White County nearly won the region championship. They’ll be content with a runner-up finish and home playoff game, and their 20 wins are the most in over 12 years. This marks a third straight playoff run, and that might be a program record (unverified).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s