Jarvis Smith knew the numbers wouldn’t add up.
When the Tattnall Square boys basketball team was listed in ninth in the preliminary GHSA Class A private school power ratings Tuesday -- one spot away from hosting -- the Tattnall head coach already had an appeal ready. A game that Tattnall played against an opponent playing a non-region schedule was inadvertently counted in the power ratings, thus holding Tattnall’s score down.
The appeal went through successfully, and Tattnall’s score was recalculated. Its first-round opponent, Aquinas, did not change. But the teams flipped positions in the ratings, with Tattnall (20-8) claiming the eighth and final home playoff spot.
So, instead of driving Saturday to Augusta, Tattnall will host Aquinas in a 5:30 p.m. contest, the second straight Saturday in which the teams will meet.
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“It’s a first-round state game,” Smith said. “It’s win or go home.”
Aquinas (17-9) had wins over both Stratford and Tattnall in last week’s Region 7-A tournament. The Fighting Irish, who play in the subregion opposite the Eagles and Trojans, beat Stratford 52-48 in the opening round and topped Tattnall 53-42 in the third-place game.
The difference in this contest from last week’s game, which was played at Wilkinson County, will be the rest factor. The first meeting took place the day after the teams lost to Hancock Central and Wilkinson County in the region semifinals. This time, the teams will have had a full week off.
“I think it will look totally different from what you saw last week,” Smith said. “Both teams were in a fast-paced game the Friday before, and both teams were half a step, if not a step, slower on Saturday.”
Stratford, which hasn’t played since its loss to Aquinas on Feb. 11, hosts Providence Christian at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday.
The seventh-seeded Eagles (17-6) beat Providence 63-61 in the first round of the George Walton Holiday Classic on Dec. 27, a tournament Stratford won.
Providence Christian (18-9) has lost three of its past four games.
The Stratford-Providence Christian game will be the second half of a doubleheader. Stratford’s girls will host Our Lady of Mercy at 2 p.m. in the third meeting of the teams this season.
Fifth-seeded Stratford (20-6) beat Our Lady of Mercy 32-30 on Dec. 2 in Fairburn, then the Eagles prevailed 46-23 on Feb. 6 at home.
Tattnall’s girls will take the court a day earlier, hosting Pinecrest at 7 p.m. on Friday.
The fourth-seeded Trojans (26-2) won the Region 7-A title last Saturday with a 45-37 win over Stratford. They have reeled off 20 straight wins since a 48-46 loss to Our Lady of Mercy (17-10) on Dec. 20 in the Strong Rock tournament.
This will be Pinecrest’s second visit of the season to Tattnall. Pinecrest (18-9) fell to Tattnall 57-43 on Jan. 9.
“Pinecrest is a good team,” Tattnall head coach Todd Whetsel said. “They are one of five teams from that region to make the playoffs, so it looks like a tough region. We do have the experience of playing them, and we do feel good about being at home.”
Wins by both Stratford and Tattnall will set up a quarterfinal meeting between the teams Tuesday at Tattnall.