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BASKETBALL PREVIEW: Campbell at Lambert
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Lambert's Ross Morkem attempts a lay-up against Mill Creek on Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2016. - photo by Micah Green

Campbell at Lambert

When, where: Saturday, 6 p.m., at Lambert High School in Suwanee.

Records, rankings, seedings: Campbell is 20-8, unranked in Class AAAAAA and the No. 3 seed from Region 3; Lambert is 27-2, unranked and the No. 1 seed from Region 6.

What to know: Lambert hopes the third time in the round of 16 will be the charm. The Longhorns, which have made the state tournament each season under fourth-year head coach Scott Bracco, were knocked out of the tournament in the second round in the previous two seasons.

Last season, the Longhorns were held up late in the year with illnesses and injury. This time around, they’re as healthy as ever. Yes, Lambert lost Tanner Hall earlier in the season, but sharpshooting sophomore Austin Deckard and gritty rebounder Tre Bell have combined to strengthen the Longhorns in the wing and the low block. Forward Connor Mannion and point guard Andrew Melms are shooting lights out heading into the weekend.

Lambert needed an emotional lift to get through Wednesday’s playoff opener—a 70-62 result against Mill Creek, so expect a more energized start in this one. Campbell is no pushover. The Spartans placed third in a tough region that includes state contenders in Westlake and Pebblebrook. They won an emotional game Wednesday, 71-68 in overtime over Tucker on the road. The Spartans have balance and experience, with senior shooting guard Lazarus Walker leading the charge. Walker’s game mirrors that of Mill Creek’s Charles Botchway, who posed problems for the Longhorns in a 20-point performance. Jovahn Dunham is also a physical scorer and rebounder in the low post for Campbell, standing 6-foot-6 and weighing in over 200 pounds.

What’s next: The winner will face the Milton-Tift County winner in the state quarterfinals.