It is the best time of the year for fans of high school basketball.
The postseason started last week in Alabama with area tournaments, while schools in Georgia begin tonight with region tournaments.
For coaches, this can be a time of some anxiety. One loss can mean the end of promising seasons. Other coaches look at the postseason as a chance to make up for a disappointing regular season.
In Georgia, the top four teams in each region tournament advance to next week’s state tournament.
Some regions in Georgia do things the right way and reward teams for winning the regular-season title or finishing as the runner-up. Region 5-AA does this and both Jordan teams are in the state tournament regardless of how they do this week.
The Jordan boys won the region's regular-season title, while the Lady Red Jackets finished as the runners-up. Others who reward teams for how they did in the regular season include 4-A and 6-AAA.
One that does not is 1-AAAA.
All of the eight schools are playing tonight (girls) or Tuesday (boys). For the teams that won the divisions, these first-round games could mean the end of the season with an upset loss.
Want to know how heartbreaking such a loss could be, just ask the Smiths Station Panthers.
In Alabama, area tournaments are formatted just like 1-AAAA, with fewer schools involved.
But each of the four teams in an area must win that first night to assure itself of a berth in the state tournament.
The Panthers went 23-5 and finished second in Class 6A Area 7. But they were knocked off Friday night by Auburn.
One and done. Great for fans. Heartbreaking for teams and their supporters.