GHSA 7A Realignment & Reclassification Early Preview – May 2, 2020
Wheeler (GA) won Georgia’s biggest classification last year and will be moving down to 6A. Photo – Ty Freeman
Atlanta, Ga -The GHSA released its reclassification and realignment plans this winter, and these will be implemented starting with the 2020-21 school year. There were numerous shifts among the different regions and classifications that could shake things up and make next basketball season even more interesting in Georgia. We will start off with Georgia’s highest classification and look over some of the changes that are taking place in 7A.
By: Trent Markwith
- Denmark (From 4A)
- Gainesville (From 6A)
- Dunwoody (From 6A)
- Harrison (From 6A)
- Alpharetta (From 6A)
- Wheeler (To 6A)
- Shiloh (To 6A)
- Westlake (To 6A)
- Kennesaw Mountain (To 6A)
- Lassiter (To 6A)
- Central Gwinnett (To 6A)
- Rockdale County (To 6A)
- Lakeside-Dekalb (To 6A)
Region 1 in 7A will not have any changes to its 4-team region, but Region 2 has some significant moves. Both Wheeler and Westlake dropped to 6A, leaving East Coweta, Pebblebrook, Campbell, and Newnan. Added in is McEachern to form a 5-team region. R2-7A has gained notoriety as one of the best in the state and although it’ll be losing some firepower without Wheeler and Westlake, the addition of McEachern to go along with the other teams should result in some fun but intense matchups.
Region 3 will see changes with teams coming in from other 7A regions, leaving for other 7A regions, dropping to 6A, and coming up from 6A. As mentioned before, McEachern will head to Region 2. Kennesaw Mountain is headed to 6A, which left the R3 with only 4 teams- Marietta, North Cobb, Hillgrove, and North Paulding. Coming into the region are Harrison and Walton. Harrison is making the move up to 7A from 6A, while Walton was previously in R5-7A. This region will probably go a bit overlooked, but its teams have some quality sleepers and rising younger prospects.
Previously labeled as Region 8, Region 4 is going to look a lot different next year. The defending region champion and state runner-up Grayson is still in R4, but both Shiloh and Archer (state playoff teams) will not be in the league any longer, and Rockdale County is gone too. Newton also made the state playoffs from the region; they will be back, so will South Gwinnett, and they’ll be joined by newcomers Brookwood and Parkview. Although there will only be 5 teams, it’s another competitive, talented Gwinnett-based region that should have state playoff success.
With Lassiter and Walton gone, Region 5 (formerly Region 4)should get very interesting. Milton comes in and so does Alpharetta to keep the number of teams in the region at 6. With Milton back in the region like they had been historically before the last realignment, the Eagles’ have 2 guaranteed matchups with their rival, Roswell, which are usually great games. Cherokee is in Region 5 as well and considering the core they return, the Warriors should have a chance to make a good run in the state playoffs. Etowah can never be forgotten either as they seem to exceed expectations every year, and Woodstock is always bound to upset some teams. We’ll see if Alpharetta can rebound from a disappointing 2019-20 season also.
The Forsyth-filled Region 6 (previously Region 5) features only one team outside of the county as Gainesville will replace Milton next year as the lone non-Forsyth team in the region. The returners to the region are state-playoff teams Lambert, South Forsyth, and West Forsyth, as well as North Forsyth and Forsyth Central. To complete the 7-team region, Denmark joins the fold as they make the move up from 4A. Going into their 3rd year of existence, the Danes now have the enrollment to jump to 7A. It should be a lot of fun to watch the region battles among these teams; R6 boasts numerous skilled, well-coached groups.
Another region that has historically been very talented, Region 7 should still be able to make that claim in 2020-21, but not without some significant changes to its make-up. This remains a 7-team league, but only 3 teams from last year are still in the region- Norcross, Berkmar, and Meadowcreek. Gone are Parkview, Lakeside-Dekalb, Brookwood, and Central Gwinnett. Replacing these teams will be Archer, Discovery, Duluth, and Dunwoody. Archer should make their presence felt early with their well-known defensive approach and Discovery has continued to build and have success since its opening in 2015.
An All-Gwinnett league that will now be Region 8 instead of Region 6, we are now down to 5 teams in R8 with the departures of Discovery & Duluth to R7 and no new teams coming in. This leaves North Gwinnett, Peachtree Ridge, Collins Hill, Mill Creek, and Mountain View. North Gwinnett ran through the region tournament last year and then did some damage in the state playoffs. The Bulldogs will look to keep that going, but the rest of the region has solid up-and-coming talent that are looking to prove themselves. One worthy team from R8 will be left out of the playoffs next year.