MOULTRIE -- One benefit the Colquitt County High girls basketball team derived from finishing second place in the regular-season Region 1-AAAAA standings it has already secured a place in the state tournament for a sixth-straight year.
The Lady Packers also have the advantage of not having to play until Friday and getting the opportunity to scout their semifinal opponent, which is likely to be Lowndes High.
The region tournament opens Thursday at the Gladys Espy Gymnasium on Thursday with four games.
The girls bracket is a traditional one, with eight teams vying for the the four slots in the state tournament.
The survivor of Thursday's quarterfinal game between No. 4 seed Valdosta and No. 5 Tift County will meet top-seeded Coffee at 7 p.m. Friday.
Thursday's other girls quarterfinal will pit No. 3 seeded Lowndes against No. 8 seed -- and winless -- Lee County, with the winner facing Colquitt County at 5:30 p.m. Friday.
The championship game is scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday. The game to determine third and fourth place will be played at 5:30 pm. Saturday.
The boys bracket has only five teams, with undefeated region champion Tift County (24-0 overall, 10-0 in the region and No. 4 in the state) receiving a bye to the state tournament.
No. 4 Valdosta and No. 5 Colquitt County will meet at 5:30 p.m. Thursday. No. 3 Lowndes will meet No. 8 Lee County at 8:30 p.m. Thursday.
The winners of those two games will qualify for the state tournament and will meet at 8:30 p.m. Friday, with the loser getting fourth place.
The winner will meet No. 2 seed Coffee at 8:30 p.m. to determine who is second and third.
Colquitt County boys will take a 3-7 region record and a 7-18 overall record into their game with the Wildcats (14-9 overall, 4-6 in the region).
The two teams split in the regular season, with Colquitt winning 55-53 on Jan. 23 in the Espy Gymnasium.
Ironically, the Packers finished finished 3-7 in the region a year ago with two victories over Lee County and a 55-53 win over Valdosta -- and faced Valdosta in the first round of the region tournament.
Colquitt's girls, 18-7 overall, will claim their 20th victory if they can they can win the region championship game, scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday. The Lady Packers have reached the state tournament each year since 1999.
They have yet to win a state tournament game in that span, but Lady Packers coach Joe Parker said he will turn his attention to that matter after getting through this week.
Parker fully expects to meet Lowndes again. The Lady Packers and Vikettes split their two games, with Lowndes winning 49-47 in Valdosta and Colquitt winning 64-44 last Saturday in the Espy Gymnasium.
Parker did not sound as if he expected another 20-point victory.
"Lowndes won't come in here like they did the other night," Parker said. "And we won't take them lightly just because they didn't play well Saturday."
The Lady Packers had four players in double figures on Saturday, including sophomore point guard Ashley Stafford, who nearly had a triple-double with 11 points, eight rebounds and nine assists.