Friday May 22nd, 2015 6:10PM

Girls basketball: Lady Falcons stay perfect in 8-AAAAA, hold off Glads

By Jeff Hart Sports Reporter
FLOWERY BRANCH -- Just 14 field goals allowed while forcing 28 turnovers. Yet Flowery Branch girls basketball coach Hazel Hall scoffed at the mention that her Lady Falcons played lights-out defense in a 55-42 win over Clarke Central Tuesday in a key Region 8-AAAAA matchup at the Flowery Branch gym.

"We did force a lot of turnovers but most, if not all, of those were by our press. Our half-court defense really wasn't very good I thought," Hall said.

The win for the Lady Falcons (20-1, 13-0 Region 8-AAAAA) was their ninth straight and kept their 2 ½-game lead on Cedar Shoals intact with just three region games left.

"It was a big win for us. But we still have some areas to get better in," Hall said.

Clarke Central senior center Kayonnah Perrin was a match-up nightmare for the Lady Falcons. Perrin had 13 points, 13 rebounds, and three blocks before fouling out late in the game. When she wasn't in foul trouble she dominated both ends of the glass.

"She's a beast and it's those type of players that give us trouble," Hall said. "We have to play as a team to counter great players like that."

Offensively, the Lady Falcons did just that. They don't dazzle you but their efficiency can break down any defense. They finished with 16 assists for the game and used their ball movement to wear down the Lady Gladiators in the second half.

"These girls play very well together and are very unselfish. That is one of the big strengths of this group," Hall said.

The key moment came midway through the third quarter with Flowery Branch clinging to a 30-29 lead. Jacy Ramey stole a pass and finished with a jumper and then assisted on a Marissa Ivey 3-pointer. Tavia Sykes would pull down a rebound and then score on the other end after a series of passes found her wide open to complete a 7-0 run in just 55 seconds for a 37-29 lead.

The Lady Falcons then forced two more turnovers to end the third quarter and put the game away in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter forcing three more turnovers while Sykes wrapped up the 14-1 run with a three-point play for a 44-30 lead. Clarke Central (13-9, 8-6) never got closer than 11 points the rest of the way.

"We're not real flashy and the girls just stay level-headed out there," Hall said. "I would like to see a little more fire from them at times but's that not who they really are as a group. They don't talk, they just play."

Dani Lacko would lead the Lady Falcons with 16 points. Breanna Locke had 12 points, and Sykes finished with nine points, seven rebounds, and three assists for Flowery Branch.

Ebony Fleming had 10 points for Clarke Central, which dropped its third straight region game.

Flowery Branch came out strong to start the game using a trapping defense and quick ball movement to run out to an 11-4 lead. The Lady Falcons forced six turnovers that led to eight first quarter points while dishing out three assists.

But the Lady Gladiators responded behind Perrin, who had four points, four rebounds, and two steals in a 9-2 run to close out the first quarter for a 13-all tie.

The Lady Falcons would take a 17-14 lead early in the second quarter on a pair of free throws by Locke. But again Clarke Central would respond.

The Lady Gladiators initiated their own press that forced seven Flowery Branch turnovers in the second quarter to ignite another 9-2 run to take a 23-19 lead with 1:25 left in the half. But Flowery Branch would close out the second quarter with a 5-0 run, capped by a 3-pointer from Lacko, on an assist from Sykes, for a 24-23 halftime lead.

Clarke Central would never lead again.

Flowery Branch used its motion offense to great effect tallying eight assists on nine field goals in the first half. Ivey, Locke, and Sykes each had two for the Lady Falcons while Clarke Central managed just two assists but did most of its damage inside outrebounding Flowery Branch 12-9 in the half. The Lady Gladiators scored 15 points inside the paint in the first half.
© Copyright 2015
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Bartus, Icemen shuts out Gwinnett
Garrett Bartus pitched a 42 save shutout, as the Evansville IceMen topped the Gwinnett Gladiators on a New year
10:23PM ( 1 year ago )
Gator Bowl Preview Capsule
A rematch of last year's Capital One Bowl, which Georgia won 45-31 in Orlando.
8:52PM ( 1 year ago )
Millsap's 34 leads Hawks past Celtics
Paul Millsap had season highs with 34 points and 15 rebounds as the Hawks rallied from an 18-point deficit for a 92-91 win over the Boston Celtics on Tuesday afternoon.
7:44PM ( 1 year ago )
Big Red Shootout: Buford foils Lady Elephants' upset bid in finale
Buford junior Camille Anderson knows to forget about the past during games.
11:09PM ( 1 year ago )
Boys basketball: Knights rebound with win over Centennial
The Johnson boys bounced back after a loss to Grayson on Friday with a 94-72 win Saturday night over Centennial in the Duluth Jingle Jam.
10:43PM ( 1 year ago )
Girls basketball: Dawson falls in Battle of States finals
Dawson County fell behind early and could not complete the comeback in a 70-65 loss to Hayesville, N.C. in the championship game of The Battle of the States Tournament Saturday night.
10:38PM ( 1 year ago )
High School Sports
VIDEO: Gainesville baseball rides chemistry, momentum into championship series
For years, the Gainesville baseball team gazed at the outfield wall at Ivey-Watson Field -- adorned with seven state championship banners -- and wondered when the next might come.
5:01PM ( 1 hour ago )
Buford-Whitewater: Who has the experience in epic AAAA title showdown?
If experience is king in the playoffs, then is perhaps Buford, the No. 1 team in Class AAAA and considered by many to be the class of the entire state -- and ranked in the top 10 nationally -- the underdog in Saturday’s championship series against Whitewater?
1:10PM ( 5 hours ago )
No. 6 Nighthawks no-hit by Foley, drop opening round NCAA Championship contest
University of Indianapolis junior ace Morgan Foley etched her name in the NCAA Championship record book, joining a select few in throwing a no-hitter in the NCAA Division II Softball Championship.
By UNG Athletic Communications
10:41AM ( 7 hours ago )
Briscoe to substitute for Hinchcliffe in Indianapolis 500
Ryan Briscoe didn’t think twice about accepting the short-notice request from Verizon IndyCar Series team co-owner Sam Schmidt to drive in the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race.
By IndyCar Media
10:00AM ( 8 hours ago )
NASCAR Notebook: Hamlin hopes to sweep Charlotte
Denny Hamlin had one million reasons to smile Saturday.
By NASCAR Wire Service
8:00AM ( 10 hours ago )