We started with 16 programs in the state playoffs. As the final buzzer sounded on Friday (2 played on Thursday, 10 played on Friday, 4 will play on Saturday), our list has been whittled down to 11 left in contention. Seven teams have punched tickets to the Sweet 16: both Banks teams, both Jefferson teams, Tallulah girls, White girls, and Union girls. On Saturday, Dawson boys, Union boys, Towns boys, and Tallulah boys all take the court.
BANKS LEOPARDS 71, WASHINGTON 45
Carl Cleveland straight up played bully ball against Washington, going for 21 in the second half alone, finishing with 36 overall in a big 71-45 win for Banks County (24-4).
BANKS LADY LEOPARDS 56, SOUTH ATLANTA 53
The Lady Leopards (15-15) squeezed out a win to get to the Sweet 16 after a nail-biting 56-53 win over South Atlanta. It was Heather Vaughan coming up clutch as you would expect, scoring 22 including 20 in the 2nd half. Jenna Reeves also had 19. This one came down to the wire.
DAWSON LADY TIGERS 39, CEDAR GROVE 45
The Lady Tigers (14-14) fell 45-39 despite leading by 8 going into the final quarter on Thursday night at Cedar Grove. Marlie Townley led with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Dawson County’s season is now complete.
HABERSHAM LADY RAIDERS @ SPRAYBERRY (no score reported)
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 62, COAHULLA CREEK 55
The Lady Dragons (24-4) are back in the Sweet 16 with a close 62-55 win over Coahulla Creek. Livi Blackstock and Deshona Gaither both had 17 in the win, which came over a 20-win #4 seed.
JEFFERSON DRAGONS 75, ADAIRSVILLE 46
The Dragons (19-7) are moving on to the Sweet 16 with a 75-46 win over Adairsville. Daniel Parker had 18 points, Kam Robinson 13, and Jacob Radaker had 12.
LUMPKIN LADY INDIANS 38, JOHNSON (SAV) 66
The Lady Indians (15-11) saw their season come to a close with a difficult 66-38 loss to Johnson (Savannah). Isabel Davenport paced the girls with 16, and Lexi Pierce had 10 in the loss.
RABUN LADY WILDCATS 42, DOUGLASS 44
This is the most unfortunate…this game should have been a semifinals matchup, but Rabun closes its season with a third straight loss (only 4 all season). Just a tough one to swallow as the Lady Cats (23-4) truly deserved better. It was a 44-42 heart-breaking defeat on the road at Douglass.
STEPHENS LADY INDIANS lost to GILMER (no score reported)
The Lady Indians (21-7) fell to Gilmer on the road to end their season, but turned things around in a huge way after going from 5 wins to 21.
TFS LADY INDIANS 51, PAIDEIA 50
Tallulah Falls (17-7) won an absolute barn burner, as it came down to the final possession in a 51-50 victory over Paideia. Denika Lightbourne had 21 to lead, while Katy Corbett had 12 and Lillie Free 8.
UNION LADY PANTHERS 69, THERRELL 40
The Lady Panthers (22-6) earned their first Sweet 16 berth since ’15-16, which was the last time they were even in the playoffs. The girls won easily, 69-40 over Therrell. Ava Hunter had a monster game with 27 points. This is one special season in Blairsville.
WHITE LADY WARRIORS 63, CENTRAL (CAR) 50
White County (21-7) is going to the Sweet 16 after a solid 63-50 win over Central (Carrollton). It marks the first playoff win for the program since 1984!