Staff Photo: John Bohn North Gwinnet's Chris Bolden (25) attempts to dunk over Norcross's Tyler Williams (32) during the second quarter of Friday's game. Bolden missed the dunk.
Nothing is a sure thing in region basketball tournaments, where teams with losing records get a chance to salvage the season and teams with winning marks face the pressure of not letting everything slip away.
Take what happened in Region 8-AAAAA last year as an example.
The Archer boys, which had won just three regular-season region games, had to survive the play-in game to advance, then upset No. 1 seed South Gwinnett to knock the Comets out of a state tournament berth and made it all the way to the region championship game.
The Tigers, still in just their third season, are one of the favorites now after gaining a No. 3 seed thanks to an 11-3 region record and 17-8 overall mark. But they certainly won't be overlooking anyone. They know all about upsets.
The Region 8-AAAAA tournament is at Shiloh this year, with the host Generals the No. 1 seed in boys and unbeaten Parkview the No. 1 seed in girls. The play-in games are Monday night, with the quarterfinals on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The semifinals are Friday and finals on Saturday, when state tournament seeding is at stake. But if you don't win in the quarterfinals, your season is over. That is where the pressure is.
The South Gwinnett boys fell victim last year against Archer, which had beaten Grayson by just four points in the play-in game. The Tigers pulled off a 68-66 upset and defeated Brookwood in the semifinals before falling to Berkmar in the title game.
Brookwood and Grayson square off in the boys play-in game at 7:30 p.m. on Monday and Archer's success last year gives them at least a little hope with No. 3-ranked Shiloh (22-3, 15-1) looming large for the winner in the 8:30 p.m. quarterfinal on Tuesday.
Brookwood (6-19, 3-13) has won its past two games, while Grayson (4-20, 2-14) lost to Archer by just four points on Friday.
Defending champion Berkmar (18-7, 14-2) is the No. 2 seed and will play Parkview (5-20, 4-12) in the 5:30 p.m. quarterfinal Tuesday. Berkmar is ranked No. 7 in Class AAAAA.
Defending girls champion Brookwood (14-11, 12-4) earned a No. 2 seed with an overtime victory over South Gwinnett on Friday and will play Dacula (7-18, 4-12) on Tuesday at 4 p.m. No. 3-ranked Parkview (25-0, 16-0) will play the play-in winner between Shiloh and Grayson at 7 p.m. on Tuesday. Shiloh (4-20, 2-14) plays Grayson (4-21, 1-15) on Monday at 6 p.m.
The Region 7-AAAAA tournament begins Tuesday at Peachtree Ridge with the North Gwinnett boys and girls both No. 1 seeds after victories over Norcross -- the defending state champions -- on Friday.
The quarterfinals continue Wednesday at Peachtree Ridge, then the tournament moves to Meadowcreek for the semifinals on Friday and finals on Saturday.
The Norcross girls (20-5, 12-2) went into the final week ranked No. 2 in Class AAAAA, but lost to Mill Creek and North without injured Diamond DeShields and her availability for the region tournament is in question. Likewise, the Norcross boys (15-10, 11-3) are without big men Jason Croom and Harold Givens.
The No. 2-seeded Norcross girls will play Mountain View (11-14, 4-10) on Tuesday at 4 p.m., while the Norcross boys, also a No. 2 seed, face Meadowcreek (5-20, 3-11) at 5:30 p.m.
Ranked No. 4 in Class AAAAA before the Norcross victory, the North girls (21-2, 13-1) will play Meadowcreek (5-18, 0-14) at 7 p.m. on Tuesday. The North boys (17-8, 12-2) face Mountain View (2-23, 0-14) at 8:30 p.m.
The Region 6-AA tournament is at Decatur, with the defending state champion Greater Atlanta Christian boys (20-5, 8-0) and Buford girls (18-7, 8-0) the top seeds from Division A. The Buford girls, ranked No. 3 in Class AA, play at 7 p.m. on Thursday in the quarterfinals. The GAC boys, ranked No. 4, follow at 8:30 p.m.
The No. 6-ranked Buford boys (19-6, 6-2) are the No. 2 seed from Division A and will play their quarterfinal game at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday. The No. 8-ranked GAC girls (17-7, 4-4) are a No. 3 seed and play at 4 p.m. on Thursday.
The No. 1-ranked Wesleyan girls (22-3) are the No. 1 seed from Division B and open play in the Region 5-A tournament with a 5:30 p.m. quarterfinal game on Tuesday at Holy Innocents.'
Providence Christian (16-9, 6-2) is the No. 1 boys seed from Division B and will play at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday at Holy Innocents.'
The Region 5-A tournament moves to Wesleyan on Friday and Saturday for the semifinals and finals.