Well, that didn’t take long.
The high school basketball postseason began with such high hopes as seven of our 11 local Georgia High School Association-affiliated teams made the state playoffs in their respective classifications. Less than a week later, we’re down to one.
The overall record of our area entries was a dismal 3-6. Five went down in the first round. One made it as far as the second round before bowing out.
Our lone representative remaining, to nobody’s surprise who has followed the season, is the Loganville Lady Red Devils.
Entering his second decade at the helm of the Loganville program, head coach John Zorn is enjoying his best season ever. And that’s saying a lot for a guy who picked up his 200th win last January and has averaged better than 20 wins a season.
His teams have now made the state tournament nine times in his 11 seasons. They entered their most recent meet as a No. 1 seed, having won a region title for the first time in 21 years.
With Friday’s win over Maynard Jackson in the second round, the team set a school record for most wins in a single season with 26. With 231 overall wins in his pocket, Zorn is already a third of the way to 300.
But more importantly in his eyes, the latest victory earned him his third berth in the Elite Eight. Another win would land him in the Final Four for the first time.
The Lady Devils have won 11 straight. But they did suffer a setback on Saturday, one that was out of their control and, literally, in the hands of the GHSA. To determine the home team for third-round games, the association conducted a universal coin toss.
It was won by teams on the lower portion of the bracket. Loganville is on the top side, meaning they’ll have to hit the road for the first time today, traveling south of Atlanta to face Region 2-AAAAA champ Griffin.
Needless to say, it’ll be their biggest challenge of what has already been a challenging season. But I suspect the memories of last season are driving their success so far.
The 2020 postseason began with high hopes and expectations but ended in bitter disappointment. The Lady Devils had won 20 games and finished second in the league to perennial state champion Buford.
Given the luxury of a home game in the first round, they figured to easily advance to the second round. Instead, they dropped a one-point heartbreaker.
So far this time around, they’ve avoided such drama, winning their first two games by an average of 23 points.
This team has all the tools — size, speed, depth, experience — to go the distance.
Three more wins and they’ll bring home the school’s first girls hoops title in 47 years. But let’s get past tonight before we look ahead.