A quick look at 7 GHSA Sweet 16 basketball matchups

Staff Photo by Robin Rudd / Trion senior guard I'ziah McCutchins (1) had a strong second half in Wednesday's Class A Division I win over Paideia. She and the Lady Bulldogs face a "taller" task in the Sweet 16 vs. Athens Christian Friday.
Staff Photo by Robin Rudd / Trion senior guard I'ziah McCutchins (1) had a strong second half in Wednesday's Class A Division I win over Paideia. She and the Lady Bulldogs face a "taller" task in the Sweet 16 vs. Athens Christian Friday.

In today's list, Lindsey Young takes a quick look at seven GHSA Sweet 16 matchups involving Northwest Georgia basketball Friday and Saturday.

GIRLS

› Creekside (20-8) at Dalton (19-9), Friday, 7

This Class AAAAA matchup pits the experienced Lady Catamounts, who start three seniors and two juniors, against a Creekside team with four freshman starters. For Dalton to advance, coach Hannah Harris' team has to find a way to control frosh C'India Dennis, who averages 24 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and nearly five steals a game. The Lady Cats, who overcame foul trouble in round one to advance, have the edge inside with Grace Ridley and Jolie Wingfield. Slowing the pace may be a key in winning this one.

› North Oconee (20-9) at Sonoraville (16-12), Friday, 6

The Lady Phoenix have caught fire late in the season in Class AAAA behind the Walraven sisters, Ella Kate and Brynley. Ella Kate had 17 points, five assists and five steals in a blowout win over Westminster and will need to put up big numbers again to offset North Oconee stars Kendall Wells and Aiyanna Peavy, who combined for 47 points in the first round win over Pace Academy.

› Heritage (21-6) at Chestatee (24-5), Friday, 6:30

The Lady Generals will need all their defensive prowess to reach the quarterfinals in AAAA. Chestatee senior Riley Black is one of the state's best and is coming off a 35-point, 20-rebound first-round effort. Heritage used 18 points and 10 assists from point guard Kayla Lopez in a 21-point win over Stephenson in round one. Lopez, Macie Collins and Tori Epps will need to be on offensively to keep up with the hosts.

› Athens Christian (22-4) at Trion (21-6), Friday, 7

The Lady Bulldogs will have to shoot and rebound well to get past one of the state's biggest Class A Division I teams. Athens Christian features 6-4 sophomore Marlene Mblima and 6-2 freshman Valdie Basana, who were dominant in a first-round 52-point rout of Social Circle. Trion used its trademark defense to offset some shooting woes in downing Paideia and a strong second half from senior point guard I'ziah McCutchins. Trion will have the edge on the perimeter and will need to take advantage.

› Union County (17-11) at Murray County (22-6), Friday 6:30

The playoff-tested Lady Indians are playing their best basketball and face a tough test against a Union County team that features four six-footers and 1,000-point scorer Ariel McCarter. Murray's tallest player is 5-10 Bayleigh Winkler, but what they lack in size they make up for in offensive efficiency behind Miley McClure, Callad Ledford, Hadley Dotson and Winkler.

BOYS

› Christian Heritage (21-5) at Warren County (22-5), Saturday, 4

Despite being ranked inside the top five, the Lions will have to travel for the second consecutive postseason in the Class A Division II Sweet 16 round, where they face eighth-ranked Warren County. The hosts have four players averaging more than 10 points per game, led by freshman forward Torossie Leslie and guard Casa Pender. Christian Heritage will have a size edge and feature one of the state's top seniors in guard Jax Abernathy, who had 29 points in a first-round win over Taylor County. The deep Lions, who are also led by Cash Hare, Isaac Plavich and Dontae Crowder, will have to take care of the ball to advance.

› Seckinger (20-7) at Sonoraville (21-7), Saturday, 6

This is a rematch of last year's playoff game, which Sonoraville won. Most of the players are back for this one, including Phoenix stars Donovan McDaniel, Bryson Shellnut, Elijah Woods and Jordyn Storey. Sonoraville's size, led by 6-8 Shellnut, and shooting ability should be enough to earn Brent Mashburn's team another trip to the quarterfinals in Class AAAA.

Contact Lindsey Young at lyoung@timesfreepress.com

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