Photo by Heather Middleton
By Doug Gorman
The remaining teams in the Region 4-AAA basketball tournament can breathe a collective sigh of relief.
That's because regardless of what happens over the next two days at Drew High School, all four squads in both the girls and boys brackets will advance to next week's Class AAA Tournament.
But there's more work to be done before local teams can think about playing in the first round of the Class AAA tournament, including playing for the region title, as well as one of the top four seeds coming out of the region.
Here's a look at the semifinal games today:
Eagle's Landing vs. Eastside -- The Lady Golden Eagles moved on in the Region 4-AAA tournament with a 70-63 victory against rival Henry County in the first round earlier this week.
That set the stage for tonight's game against Eastside, who knocked off Spalding in the first round.
With their victory on Tuesday night, the Lady Golden Eagles improved their record to 15-10 overall.
It's the second straight year Eagle's Landing has been to the state tournament under the direction of head coach Lisa Horton.
Eagle's Landing hopes for better luck this time around against Eastside. In the first two regular-season meetings, Eagle's Landing lost.
Eagle's Landing has won four games in a row. Eastside also enters the game with a four-game winning streak and a 21-4 record.
Drew vs. Sandy Creek -- Fresh off it's 58-47 victory against
Stockbridge, the Drew Lady Titans are headed to the state tournament for the first time ever.
Drew made its reservations to the Class AAA Tournament with its win on Tuesday night.
The Lady Titans beat Stockbridge for the third time this year and improved their record to 12-8.
With their win against the Lady Tigers, the Lady Titans broke a three-game losing streak.
At one stretch of the season, Drew, which is just in its second year of competition, won nine games in a row.
Sandy Creek enters the quarterfinals of the tournament with a 21-3 record. Earlier this month, the Patriots beat Drew, 48-38.
Eagle's Landing vs. Stockbridge -- It might be one of the biggest rivalries in the Southern Crescent and tonight both No. 10-ranked Eagle's Landing and Stockbridge get together for a semifinal matchup in the Region 4-AAA tournament at Drew.
The Golden Eagles enter the game fresh off a 70-50 victory against Eastside where they hit 13 3-point shots. The Tigers come into the game with a 68-48 win against Sandy Creek.
Eagle's Landing enters the game with a 21-4 record. Stockbridge is 14-9 on the season.
The Golden Eagles received a huge lift in their last outing from Aaron Horton, who scored 27 points.
Stockbridge's Dante Campbell finished with a double-double against Sandy Creek, scoring 37 points and pulling down 11 rebounds.
Eagle's Landing won the two regular-season meetings between the teams.
Stockbridge has made it back to the state tournament for the third year in a row. Eagle's Landing advanced to the state tournament last year.
"Our kids are used to going to state," Stockbridge head coach Duane Kelley said. "We are feeling good right now about ourselves."
Eagle's Landing head coach Clay Crump is relieved his team is back at state, but knows there's more work to be done."
"Now you are playing for fun, you're playing for place and and you're playing for the region title," Crump said.
Drew vs. Henry County -- One program is firmly established, the other is trying to find its way, but both the No. 6-ranked Henry County Warhawks and the Drew Titans will face each other in the semifinals of the Region 4-AAA tournament.
Drew, a second-year school, advanced with a 65-55 victory against Spalding County. At one stage, the Titans trailed Spalding by 10 points in the first quarter, but rallied with a solid defensive effort.
Henry County has been around the basketball block. This is the third-straight year the Warhawks have made it to the state tournament under head coach Vinent Rosser. The Warhawks kept their season alive Wednesday night with a win against Jackson. Henry County has won four games in a row.
The Warhawks enter the game against Drew with a 21-4 record. Drew is 13-8. Henry County beat Drew twice in their regular-season meetings.