With one week remaining in the regular season, both Decatur High teams easily handled Cross Keys Friday night at the Decatur High Arena, the girls winning 59-2, the boys 69-22.
The last two games next week are Tuesday at Cedar Grove, the girls at 5:30 p.m., boys at 7 p.m., then Senior Night at home next Friday against Towers at the same times.
This sets up the Feb. 12-15 Region 6-AAA tournament, with every game scheduled for the Decatur High Arena.
The girls, 17-6 and 10-2, ranked ninth in the state, are a shoo-in to finish second behind St. Pius X, with the top two teams earning first-round byes.
The top four teams in the tournament earn state tournament berths, and the top two host a state playoff game.
The boys side is far more intriguing, especially if Friday is any indication. First place Woodward (now 11-1 in the region) barely slipped past third-place Pius 40-38, while second-place Cedar Grove edged fourth-place Blessed Trinity 34-31.
Decatur, though in fifth place at 14-9 and 5-7, may be the regional wildcard, especially considering the Bulldogs have played their best basketball the last two weeks.
Decatur of late has mixed in a 1-3-1 zone – which it played almost exclusively on Friday – with its man-to-man, a recipe that seems to have turned a mediocre defensive team into a good one.
And judging from Friday’s scores among the top four teams, the teams playing the best defense are going to advance the furthest. .
If the standings remain as they are, Decatur will play Blessed Trinity in the tournament’s first round.
“We’re improving a lot,” said Decatur coach Charlie Copp, “but we’ll have to be at our best [against Cedar Grove]. They make you guard them a long time in the half court, they hit the offensive boards, and they pressure you constantly. It’ll be a good test to see how far we’ve improved.”
Decatur lost at home to Cedar Grove 58-39 on Jan. 11.
Seldom-used senior Charlie Shew scored a career-high 12 points Friday, while Cordele Jackson had 11 and Davonte Meadows 10.
Another seldom-used player, promising freshman Kierra Edge led the girls with 11, also her career high. Kori Anderson had 9 points while Villanova-bound and McDonalds All-American nominee (15 players from Georgia were nominated) Jordan Dillard had 8 points, 5 assists and 4 rebounds.