The boys and girls teams of Allatoona and North Cobb will take to the court for second-round games. Joining them will be the boys teams from Wheeler and Hillgrove, as they all vie for an opportunity to become state champions and cut down the nets in Macon at the end of the season.
The Allatoona girls (18-7) will be the only team of the six to take the court today. The Region 5AAAAA champion Lady Buccaneers will host Miller Grove (22-5) at 6 p.m.
The Lady Wolverines, who are the No. 2 seed from Region 6AAAAA, won the Class AAAA state championship last year and have the talent to repeat.
“(Miller Grove) graduated only one player from last year’s team, and they returned eight seniors,” Allatoona coach Michael Taylor said. “There’s a reason they are the defending state champions — they play like it. They’re the No. 1 team in the state according to MaxPreps.com, but our girls are ready.
“We’ve had some great practices and (today) it’ll be time to show up and get to work. (Miller Grove) is a well-rounded and well-coached team that understands how to play basketball. They have a strong outside and inside presence, and they’re big with pressure from baseline to baseline.”
Taylor believes his team has the talent and experience to contend with Miller Grove tonight.
“We have five seniors on our team that have won two region championships in a row, and about 44 wins, so they’ve been through some battles,” he said. “If we hit on all cylinders, we’re a tough team to match up with. I’m glad we’re home and they have to travel, so that could help to our benefit as well.”
The only other girls team that advanced from the first round — North Cobb — will hosts Rockdale County (18-10) on Saturday at 6 p.m., kicking off a doubleheader with the boys team.
The Lady Warriors (25-3) are hoping to reach the second round of the state tournament for the third straight season, but the No. 3 seed of Region 2AAAAAA stands in the way.
In the Class AAAAA boys bracket, Allatoona (23-6), the No. 3 seed from Region 5AAAAA, will host Tucker (15-8) on Saturday at 4 p.m.
This marks the third year the Buccaneers have made the state playoffs, and a win over the Tigers, who are the No. 4 seed from Region 6AAAAA, would mark a second-straight quarterfinal appearance.
Region 4AAAAAA champion North Cobb (24-4) is looking to reach the state quarterfinals for the second year in a row. In order to that, however, the Warriors will have to down Region 2AAAAAA No. 3 Morrow (21-10) on Saturday.
State playoff veteran Wheeler, which won the Region 5AAAAAA title, will host Region 7AAAAAA No. 3 Meadowcreek (11-17) on Saturday at 6 p.m.
Hillgrove (25-4) is in the second round for the first time the 2009-10 season. The Region 4AAAAAA runner-up is making its sixth straight state playoff appearance and will visit Tri-Cities on Saturday at 6 p.m. The Bulldogs (13-13) won the Region 3AAAAAA title.
“The toughness of our team has shown throughout the season,” Hillgrove coach Ed Morris said. “Valdosta was athletic (in the first round), and we’re going to have to face the same kind of team in Tri-Cities.
“They’re good in transition and they have good guards with an athletic big man that can shoot. They also do a good job defensively.”
Size is a concern for Morris.
“We’re not real big, so tall players in the post is an area of concern for us,” he said. “We just need to play our game and not do anything really different. We’re relying on the kids to step up and make plays.”