The Georgia High School Association basketball championships get underway in Macon Thursday with some notable changes.
Thanks to reclassification, there are now so many championship games that there’s not enough time—or space—for finals. Players will be walking into the Macon Coliseum for the biggest game of the season without having ever played there before.
Crowds of 5,000 fans could throw off some players who aren’t used to that at their high school field house, said Telegraph of Macon high school sports editor Jonathan Heeter, and that’s not only difference.
"The three point line on the court at the Coliseum is deeper than the high school line," Heeter said. "There’s these things that you usually have two games to work out, and now you’re going to be thrown into the fire in the championship game."
This weekend may also be the last chance to see one of Georgia’s brightest stars take the court in her home state.
Norcross senior Diamond DeShields has a familiar name; her father, Delino DeShields is a retired big league second baseman, and her stepmother Michelle co-hosts Georgia Traveler on GPB.
But Diamond DeShields may outshine all of them, as she is regarded as arguably the best girls basketball player in the country right now.
Heeter said this Saturday’s Norcross and North Gwinett match-up is the game to see out of all two dozen boys and girls championships, simply because Diamond DeShields will be there.
"Anyone that one that wants to see a great girls basketball player should go see her, because she’s as good as it gets," Heeter said.
With or without a Georgia state title, DeShields heads to UNC Chapel Hill next year.
GPB-TV will broadcast and web stream all 15 championship games. A complete schedule is available here.