WHO'S HOT: Hephzibah . The Lady Rebels have lost eight games over the past four years. None of those setbacks came in the slice of the season after the holiday tournaments and before state- tournament play.
Translation: Nobody beats the Lady Rebels in region play after Christmas. That's a 48-1 region record going back to the days when Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston were still an item.
BIG GAMES THIS WEEK
1a: Region 3-AA boys final, 8:30 p.m., Saturday: If its a rubber match of Josey and Swainsboro, expect a packed house at Jefferson County. That crowd should expect to see a thrilling matchup if the two teams tangle again.
The Tigers will be very motivated after a loss at Josey in January.
1b. Region 3-AAA boys final: It's no sign of disrespect to the other teams to expect North top seed Glenn Hills and South top seed Liberty County to advance to the region final Saturday at Burke County. It will be far from a waltz for each squad to get there, but that's the expectation.
If it does happen, look for a fierce clash. Glenn Hills doesn't want to see what would be an 18-game winning streak end. Liberty County may have the guards and inside play to stave off the Spartans' talented lineup.
2. Manning at Silver Bluff, 7 p.m., tonight: The Silver Bluff coaches can't remember the last time the Lady Bulldogs played host to a state playoff game. That's if the program has ever done that since the school opened its doors in 1981. Expect a bounce or two of history in Petticoat Junction tonight.
INTERESTING: Just how good has Laney's Harold Doby been this year?
The coaches of Region 3-AA have named Doby and Swainsboro's Tony Mitchell as co-players of the year this season.
What does that mean? Mitchell was rated by Rivals.com as the No. 38 prospect in the nation this summer. He's already signed to play next season at Alabama.
There's no clearer indication of how much the 6-foot-5 Doby has elevated his game this year than that.
Reach Jeff Sentell at (706) 823-3425 or email@example.com.
WOLFPACK WIN PLAYOFF BERTH
Cue the celebration. Lakeside is in the playoffs -- or not.
That was the situation immediately following the Panthers' overtime win against Evans on Friday.
It wasn't until later, when the players had showered and most of the fans filed out, that the celebration was learned to be premature.
Region 3-AAAA secretary Wayne Baker flipped a coin to determine whether Lakeside or Greenbrier would earn the fourth and final seed in the 3-AAAA playoffs, which begin today. Panthers coach Ryan Morningstar called tails. It was heads.
Greenbrier is in the playoffs.
Lakeside is not.
The region's tiebreaker system, decided on by coaches and administrators during the region's alignment two years ago, first looks at sub-region records. It then moves to head-to-head matchups, record against higher seeds and finally, a coin flip.
The first three criteria gave neither team the edge.
--- Stephen Fastenau