As usual, winning the championship at the typically tough Parkview Tip-Off Classic won’t be easy for Gwinnett’s girls basketball teams. Getting past the first round doesn’t look like a breeze, either.
All of the local teams involved in this year’s event — Parkview, North Gwinnett, Peachtree Ridge, Wesleyan and Mountain View — have challenging first-round matchups when play begins Saturday in Lilburn.
The host Panthers, 59-2 the past two seasons but with a new head coach in Kirk Call, play Saturday’s nightcap at 7:30 p.m. against Osborne, which was 22-7 and made the Class AAAAA state playoffs last season.
Those two teams are joined by another strong field in the annual showcase.
“The tournament field is extremely strong with two defending state champions and two state runner-ups and 14 of the (16) teams qualified for their respective state tournaments last season,” Parkview girls coach Kirk Call said.
Parkview is in the Orange Bracket, which could feature a second-round matchup between the Panthers and loaded Tucker, which was 25-5 and reached the AAAAA Elite Eight last season. Tucker opens up with heavy underdog Peachtree Ridge at 4:30 p.m. Saturday.
The opposite side of the Orange Bracket features a 10:30 a.m. rematch of a 2012 Final Four matchup between North Gwinnett and Hillgrove, which won that state semifinal. North, coming off a 29-1, state runner-up season, lost to Tucker in its season opener. Hillgrove won 21 games last season and made the state playoffs.
The last of the games in that bracket is at 1:30 p.m. Saturday with defending AAA state champion St. Pius facing Douglas County, a AAAAAA state playoff team last season.
In the White Bracket, six-time defending state champion Wesleyan faces a stout opener Saturday at noon. The Wolves face Alpharetta, which went 26-5 in AAAAAA last season. The winner of that game advances to play the winner of a 9 a.m. game between Mountain View, a state playoff team last season, and Heritage.
The other half of the White Bracket is highlighted by Sandy Creek, which was 25-7 and the AAAA state runner-up last season.
After Saturday’s busy slate, the Parkview tourney resumes with games Monday and Tuesday. The championship games are slated for 6 and 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Jared Cook event features top teams, players
The Jared Cook Classic, which kicks off at North Gwinnett Saturday, is again one of the top early-season showcases for boys basketball.
Some of Gwinnett top teams (Greater Atlanta Christian, Buford, North Gwinnett, Collins Hill, Peachtree Ridge) are part of the three-day event, as are top local players like Collins Hill’s Devin Mitchell (Alabama signee), GAC’s Isaiah Wilkins (Virginia) and Buford’s Rakim Lubin (Connecticut). Other top players in the showcase include 6-foot-8, Effingham County standout Jakeenan Gant (Missouri), Miller Grove point guard Keith Pinckney (Tulane) and North Cobb Christian guard Hunter Ware.
Wilkins and GAC face Seneca (S.C.) Saturday at 5:30 p.m. following the Tucker-North Cobb Christian opener. Buford takes on nationally ranked Miller Grove, the defending AAAAA state champion, at 7 p.m. before North hosts Effingham County in the nightcap.
The event continues into Monday and Tuesday with three games featuring Gwinnett teams each of those nights. Collins Hill-GAC (5:30 p.m.), Buford-Peachtree Ridge (7 p.m.) and North-Tucker (8:30 p.m.) are the Monday matchups of local teams, while the Tuesday slate includes Collins Hill-North Cobb Christian (5:30 p.m.), Peachtree Ridge-Miller Grove (7 p.m.) and North-Hillcrest (8:30 p.m.).
Archer Classic begins
The Archer Classic also gets underway Saturday and concludes Monday, with six games planned each day. The hosts are joined locally by Region 8-AAAAAA rivals Brookwood and Central Gwinnett.
Brookwood faces Starr’s Mill in a girls-boys doubleheader Saturday at 11 a.m., followed by a 2:20 p.m. doubleheader between Central and Loganville. The nightcap features Archer vs. Kell, girls at 5:40 p.m. and boys at 7:20 p.m.
The girls-boys doubleheaders continue Monday with Central-Kell at 11 a.m., Brookwood-Loganville at 2:20 p.m. and Archer-Starr’s Mill at 5:40 p.m.
A rundown of Saturday’s busy schedule of high school basketball events in Gwinnett:
11 a.m. — Brookwood girls vs. Starr’s Mill
12:40 p.m. — Brookwood boys vs. Starr’s Mill
2:20 p.m. — Central Gwinnett girls vs. Loganville
4 p.m. — Central Gwinnett boys vs. Loganville
5:40 p.m. — Archer girls vs. Kell
7:20 p.m. — Archer boys vs. Kell
Jared Cook Classic
At North Gwinnett
4 p.m. — Tucker boys vs. North Cobb Christian
5:30 p.m. — GAC boys vs. Seneca (S.C.)
7 p.m. — Buford boys vs. Miller Grove
8:30 p.m. — North Gwinnett boys vs. Effingham County
Norcross Lady Blue Classic
11:30 a.m. — Alcovy girls vs. Effingham County
1 p.m. — Fayette County girls vs. Pike County
2:30 p.m. — South Gwinnett girls vs. Newton
4 p.m. — Columbia girls vs. Salem
5:30 p.m. — GAC girls vs. Milton
7 p.m. — Norcross girls vs. McEachern
Parkview Tip-Off Classic (two gyms)
9 a.m. — Mountain View girls vs. Heritage
10:30 a.m. — North Gwinnett girls vs. Hillgrove
Noon — Wesleyan girls vs. Alpharetta
1:30 p.m. — St. Pius girls vs. Douglas County
3 p.m. — Sandy Creek girls vs. Westlake
4:30 p.m. — Peachtree Ridge girls vs. Tucker
6 p.m. — Lovett girls vs. Northside-Warner Robins
7:30 p.m. — Parkview girls vs. Osborne