Eddie Martin had experienced almost everything in his long and successful career, but he faced a new challenge this season.
"It isn't easy when you have to find 17 games," the Greater Atlanta Christian boys coach said. "You have to try everything you can."
As a result, GAC will compete in three tournaments instead of the usual maximum of two and play at the Long Forum just nine times in the 25-game schedule.
One of those times is Saturday, when the Spartans (6-0) face Morgan County at approximately 7 p.m. as part of the seven-game GAC Showcase presented by Blue Collar Basketball.
The Spartans' unusual schedule is the result of being part of Region 6-AA, which has only five teams after realignment. That means just eight region games.
Wesleyan is in the same situation, but was able to come up with a conventional schedule of two tournaments and a more even split of home and road games.
"I can't remember ever playing in three tournaments like this before," said Martin, who won four state championships at Norcross and has added two more at GAC.
The Spartans are one of the favorites to win another Class AA title this season, but their fans won't get a lot of opportunities to see them.
The GAC girls (5-1) are even worse off. They have just eight games at the Long Forum.
Both teams played in the Parkview Tip-Off Classic and will be in the Carrollton Invitational that begins Dec. 19. Then after Christmas, the boys play in the Converse Invitational at Columbia and the girls will compete in the Walnut Grove tournament.
Region 6-AA competition doesn't begin until Jan. 8.
Norcross girls lose in Alabama
The number of unbeaten girls teams in Gwinnett was reduced to three when Norcross lost 61-49 at Alabama power Hoover on Saturday. The Blue Devils (6-1) are ranked No. 9 nationally by USA Today.
Diamond DeShields had 23 points, but Norcross couldn't hold a 26-21 halftime lead. The Blue Devils were outscored 20-12 in the third quarter and 20-10 in the fourth.
Gwinnett's remaining unbeaten girls teams are Parkview (8-0), North Gwinnett (6-0) and Wesleyan (6-0). Neither Parkview nor North has been challenged yet this season.
The postponed Region 7-AAAAAA game between Norcross and North at Norcross has been tentatively rescheduled for Feb. 2. The teams will play at North on Jan. 15.
Brookwood boys surprise
The Brookwood boys were 6-20 last season and leading scorer Malcolm Hannah transferred to Berkmar. So the Broncos' 7-2 start has to be the most pleasant surprise in the county.
Coach Daniel Bowles' team edged Dacula 60-58 on Tuesday for a 3-2 record in Region 8-AAAAAA and the two losses are to Archer (8-1) and Shiloh (5-1).
Deion Dedeaux made two free throws with 0.5 seconds left to beat Dacula and fellow junior Kendall Joseph scored 21 points.
Hilton Invitational set
Norcross will play traditional power DeMatha Catholic of Hyattsville, Md. at the Hilton Invitational on Jan. 26 in the school's annual boys showcase.
The only other Gwinnett school in the field is GAC, which will play Olympic of Charlotte, N.C.
All six games will be played on the same day and each will feature a Georgia team against an out-of-state opponent.
The other state teams are Miller Grove, Wheeler, North Cobb and Eagle's Landing.
Collins Hill on roll
The Collins Hill boys won their sixth in a row when they defeated South Gwinnett 58-53 in a non-region game Monday. The Eagles are 4-0 in Region 7-AAAAAA and 7-2 overall.
Darius Joell led the Eagles with 17 points and 6-foot-8 John carlos Reyes had a double-double with 11 points and 13 rebounds.Collins Hill, North Gwinnett and Norcross all are unbeaten in Region 7-AAAAAA play and Peachtree Ridge has lost only to Collins Hill. Peachtree Ridge won 79-49 at Mill Creek on Tuesday.