The Apalachee basketball teams’ seasons came to an end Monday, Feb. 15, in the first round of the GHSA Region 8-AAAAA tournament, as the Wildcats boys lost 61-33 at Greenbrier and the Lady Wildcats dropped a 51-34 contest at Walnut Grove.
Both teams were looking for upsets in order to clinch state playoff berths, but weren’t able to do. The Walnut Grove girls and Greenbrier boys advanced to the tournament semifinals at Walnut Grove — Wednesday, Feb. 17, for the girls and Thursday, Feb. 18, for the boys. The consolation and championship games will be Saturday, Feb. 20, at Walnut Grove.
The sixth-seeded Apalachee boys (5-15) entered Monday’s game having won three of their last four outings and with confidence after having upset third-seeded Greenbrier 45-41 on Jan. 26. But they struggled to generate enough scoring against a tough Wolfpack defense. The Wildcats trailed 9-8 after a quarter, but the Wolfpack (15-9) outscored them 12-4 in the second quarter and 17-8 in the third to pull away. Cyrus Wilder led Greenbrier with 16 points.
Apalachee was led by Isaiah Starks’ 12 points. Chase Reed added 10 points, and Josue Capeles Torres finished with 8 points and 6 rebounds.
“I hate that it ended that way, but the boys fought their hearts out,” said Apalachee coach Ty Rowland, whose team returned only one starter this year from last season’s team. “(Winning three of four games late in the season, including upsets over Greenbrier and Loganville) shows we came a long way and improved a lot.”
In the girls’ game Monday, Walnut Grove made it three wins in three tries this year against Apalachee (5-18). The Lady Wildcats were led by Hannah Hollingsworth, who scored 9 points, and Averie Akin added 8 points.
The Apalachee girls had no seniors on this year’s team and are slated to bring everyone back next winter.
WBHS TEAMS OPEN REGION TOURNAMENT AGAINST DACULA
It will be a win-or-go-home situation Wednesday for both Winder-Barrow teams as the fifth-seeded Lady Bulldoggs and fourth-seeded Bulldoggs both take on Dacula (3:30 and 5 p.m., respectively) in the first round of the Region 8-AAAAAA tournament at Buford City Arena.
The Winder-Barrow girls (10-11), who have been hobbled lately with injuries and coronavirus-related quarantines, will be looking to snap a five-game losing skid and will be going for their first win in three tries this season against Dacula. The Lady Falcons (11-12) beat Winder-Barrow 61-38 on Dec. 5 at 48-45 on Jan. 26.
The winner of Wednesday’s game will take on top-seeded and undefeated Buford (22-0) in the semifinals at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 19.
The Winder-Barrow boys (14-8) and Dacula boys (12-12) split their regular-season meetings with the Falcons winning 57-39 on Dec. 5 and the Bulldoggs avenging that loss with a 55-42 triumph on Jan. 26.
The Bulldoggs are trying to get back on the winning side of things after dropping their final two regular-season contests 68-63 at Shiloh on Thursday, Feb. 11, and 66-47 at Buford on Saturday, Feb. 13. The winner of Wednesday’s game will take on top-seeded and fourth-ranked Shiloh (18-4) in the semifinals at 8 p.m. Friday.
The region consolation and championship games are scheduled for Saturday in Buford. The state playoffs are scheduled to begin Tuesday and Wednesday, Feb. 23-24.
BCA TEAMS OPEN REGION TOURNAMENT PLAY
The Bethlehem Christian Academy girls (5-9) defeated Young Americans Christian Academy 43-33 Tuesday afternoon in the first round of the GISA Region 4-AAA tournament at John Milledge Academy.
The fourth-seeded Lady Knights will face top-seeded JMA in the semifinals at 5 p.m. Wednesday.
The BCA boys (8-10) are seeded third in the region tournament and are set to face second-seeded Westfield in the semifinals at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at JMA. The Knights and Hornets split a pair of regular-season meetings. A win would BCA in the region championship at 7 p.m. Friday against either JMA, Westminster School of Augusta or Young Americans Christian.
The GISA will take the top 16 ranked teams in Class AAA, according to MaxPreps, for its state tournament, which is set to begin Feb. 23 for the girls and Feb. 24 for the boys. Entering this week, the BCA boys were ranked 10th, while the Lady Knights were ranked 13th.