Photo by Derrick Mahone
Stockbridge first-year coach Bryan Lamar acknowledged that Eagle’s Landing is the region tournament favorite, but said the field is still “wide open” as qualifying for the state tournament begins today.
While no team in Region 4-AAA is ready to just give top-seeded and third-ranked Eagle’s Landing the tournament championship, the Golden Eagles certainly don’t feel like they will just waltz to their second straight region title.
However, there is evidence that clearly suggests that Eagle’s Landing, which will host the region tournament, is the favorite. The Golden Eagles breezed through the regular season with only two losses — one in the region.
“We still think the region is wide-open,” Stockbridge coach Bryan Lamar said. “Certainly Drew and Eagle’s Landing have been the most consistent teams in our region. There is no way you can’t say they are the favorites.”
And Eagle’s Landing coach Clay Crump is leaving nothing to chance.
“We are nervous, excited and glad that the region tournament is here,” he said. “The stakes are certainly high.”
Eagle’s Landing, which reached the state semifinals for the first time in school history last season, will be hosting its first region tournament. The Golden Eagles will play the nightcap today against Monday’s Locust Grove at Jackson winner.
Both teams had a combined two wins during the regular season.
But Crump says he has preached to his team stay focused.
“There will be no Friday if we don’t get past today,” Crump said. “We are not looking past anybody.”
The winner of the today’s first-round boys games and Wednesday’s first-round girls game earn spots in the state playoff next week. The semifinals will be Friday and the finals are scheduled for Saturday.
Stockbridge prepped for the region tournament with a shocking 72-67 win at No. 4 Drew.
“We can beat any team in the region,” Stockbridge senior Leon Prunty said. “We believe we can win region. This is a new beginning for every team. Everything is new from this point on.”
Stockbridge is the No. 6 seed in the tournament after finishing with a 9-16 overall record and an 8-8 mark in the region. Prior to Friday’s win at Drew, the Tigers had lost five straight.
“We are hoping to sneak up on people,” Prunty said. “I don’t think anybody is paying attention to us.”
Said Lamar: “We know we can play with anybody. We got an opportunity to rewrite the season with a win. All you ever want is an opportunity, and we have that opportunity.”
Region 4-AAA Tournament
at Eagle’s Landing High
Henry County vs. Sandy Creek, 4 p.m.
Stockbridge vs. Eastside, 5:30 p.m.
Spalding vs. Drew, 7 p.m.
Locust Grove/Jackson winner vs. Eagle’s Landing, 8:30 p.m.
Henry County vs. Spalding, 4 p.m.
Eagle’s Landing vs. Eastside,
Stockbridge vs. Sandy Creek, 7 p.m.
Jackson/Locust Grove winner vs. Drew, 8:30 p.m.