Nine of 12 local basketball squads will be in action this week as they eye their final chance to tune up for region and subregion play.
As usual, the Sweet South Classic in Madison will attract the most local teams with three -- the Alcovy girls, Eastside girls and Eastside boys. The tournament starts Tuesday.
The Lady Tigers (9-1) take a nine-game winning streak into the Sweet South and will open the local action Tuesday morning at 11:30 against Jonesboro.
Eastside's teams will tangle with tournament host Morgan County on Tuesday night. The Lady Eagles will put their perfect 9-0 record on the line at 8:30, while the boys (4-5) play at 7.
Both Heritage squads open play Monday in the Warrior Holiday Classic at Oconee County High School in Watkinsville. The non-traditional, round-robin tournament runs through Wednesday.
The Heritage boys, now 8-3 under first-year coach Drew Williams, square off with Region 8-AAAA foe Madison County in their first game at 4:30 p.m.
"It's kind of a different tournament with it being a round-robin event," Williams said. "We do get to see Madison County in the first game and, since there's no region crossovers this year in our region, that will be good for us. I think the Henry County Tournament was better for us in terms of getting ready for subregion play. Still, we'd like to keep our momentum going."
The Patriots will also face Oconee County and Hebron Christian Academy in the event.
The Lady Patriots (5-6) are coming off a strong runner-up finish at Henry County after falling to Newton 60-54. They will meet Central Gwinnett in their opening game at 1:30 p.m. before facing host Oconee County and then Jackson County.
The Rockdale girls (5-4) will travel to Irwinton on Monday to face Baldwin in the opening round of the Wilkinson County Christmas Tournament.
On Tuesday, the Newton boys (5-2) tangle with Archer in the first round of the Windslinger Holiday Bash at East Jackson High School in Commerce. The Rams' only two losses this season are two county rivals, both by the slimmest of margins.
Newton dropped a 48-47 decision to Alcovy in the last outing. The Rams also fell 52-49 to Eastside earlier this month.
"We're happy to be undefeated in region play, but we can play better," Newton coach Rick Rasmussen said. "We'll use the tournament as a gauge to see where we're at as head into the rest of our tough region and non-region schedule. We'd also like to build our bench a little more and give us some more depth."
The Rockdale boys (6-3) will have the most interesting week of any team. On Monday, the Bulldogs clash with Memphis Central, Tenn., in the Atlanta Showcase at Marietta High School. On Thursday, Rockdale meets Greenville as the feature game that night in the Hoops in Overdrive Shoot-Out at Centennial High School Roswell. On Friday, the Bulldogs face Eastside, Miss., at 4:30 p.m. in Roswell.
Rockdale is coming off a 2-1 showing at the prestigious 2010 Chick-fil-A Classic in Columbia, S.C.
Kevin Ware had 19 points to lead the Bulldogs past Richland Northeast, S.C., in Thursday night's late game. Darion Clark and added 15 points, while C.J. Wilson and Bernard Thompson chipped in 14.
And finally, the Salem girls (3-6) meet Peachtree Ridge on Tuesday at 12:10 p.m. in the opening round of the Jared Cook Classic at North Gwinnett High School.
The Alcovy boys, Newton girls and Salem boys will not see any action during the week.