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2 Tourney Tales: Great Expectations; the Lions in Winter

McEachern's girls enter the state playoffs as the favorite, while Lithia Springs' boys are a surprise just to be there.

Fans of all three public high schools in Powder Springs and Lithia Springs have something to root for during the Georgia High School Association state basketball playoffs.

The McEachern girls could be the story of the year, carrying an undefeated record, the Region 4-AAAAA title, the state’s No. 1 ranking and USA Today’s national No. 3 ranking into the AAAAA tournament.

The Lady Indians, last year's AAAAA runner-up, open play at home Friday against Camden County, the fourth seed from Region 3-AAAAA. If they win, they’ll host Westlake or Colquitt County next Tuesday.

The quarterfinals are at Fort Valley State on March 3, and the Final Four is at the Arena at Gwinnett Center on March 8 and 9.

How will the local teams do in the state playoffs? Make your predictions in the comments below.

Crosstown rival Hillgrove also hopes to make it to the Final Four and perhaps meet McEachern in the title game.

The Lady Hawks, seeded second from 4-AAAAA, start at home Friday against Windsor Forest, the third seed from 3-AAAAA.

A win will earn Hillgrove either a road game against Stephenson or a home game against Tift County next Tuesday.

Hillgrove’s boys also are in the AAAAA playoffs. The fourth-seeded Hawks hit the road Saturday night to play Savannah, the top seed from 3-AAAAA.

If Hillgrove wins, its next game will be at Tift County or Westlake on Feb. 29.

The surprise local team in the boys AAAA tournament is Lithia Springs, which finished seventh in 5-AAAA during the regular season but knocked off first-place Douglas County in the region championship game Saturday night to earn the region’s top seed, the Douglas County Sentinel reported.

The Lions will play host to Region 6-AAAA’s fourth seed, Marist, on Saturday.

That could set up a second-round game at home against Woodland, which is the second seed from Region 7-AAAA but was undefeated for most of the season.

Woodland plays at home against Rockdale County in the first round.

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