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Friday May 27th, 2016 2:33PM

Boys basketball: Gainesville fends off Flowery Branch behind Sosebee

By Morgan Lee Sports Editor
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GAINESVILLE -- Gainesville boys basketball made the best of a difficult situation on Tuesday -- in more ways than one.

The Red Elephants found themselves trailing Flowery Branch in the second half of a Region 8-AAAAA contest -- a showdown taking place in the midst of the Lanierland tournament.

As big as Lanierland is, however, Gainesville kept its focus on the region contest long enough to pull out a 52-48 win over the Falcons in Gainesville.

"This was the much bigger game for us, because it is a region game," said Red Elephants coach Benjie Woo, who watched his team pull out a similarly close battle with Lakeview in the first round of Lanierland on Saturday. "The way Lanierland is set-up doesn't make any sense, but I'm glad we found a way to win tonight."

The Red Elephants (3-4, 2-4 Region 8-AAAAA) outscored the Falcons 17-11 over the final eight minutes, taking the lead for good on a 9-0 run to start the fourth quarter. That they did so was due in large part to JD Sosebee.

The junior forward scored 10 of his team-high 12 points over the final eight minutes. In fact, all of his scoring came in the second half, as his post presence helped offset Flowery Branch's Cody Dewing, who put up a game-high 21, including 11 in the fourth quarter -- which represented all of the Falcons' scoring in the period.

"JD's just a tough kid, and he's got good hands," Wood said.

Sosebee scored seven points in the 9-0 run that overturned a stellar third quarter effort from Flowery Branch.

Trailing 28-17 at the half, the Falcons (1-7, 0-6) caught fire thanks to Taylor Bourdage's 3-point shooting, as the guard nailed two treys to spark the Flowery Branch attack -- two of three for the Falcons in the quarter. Dewing's length inside also came to bare, as the center's putback knotted the contest at 32-32. Brett Shepherd then scored five points inside the final minute to give Flowery Branch a 37-35 lead.

Sosebee was not about to give in, however, scoring three straight lay-ups, including a three-point play to grab a 44-37 advantage Gainesville would not yield.

"We've just got to learn to be more consistent," Wood said. "We showed flashes tonight, but if we want to get better we have to be consistent. I thought the first half we played under control and as a team, but in the second half we didn't do that."

Gainesville closed the first quarter on a 7-0 run to take a 15-8 lead that stretched to 25-10 on Luke Maddox's 3-pointer with 1:38 left in the half.

Maddox finished with 11, while Jay Gaudlock added 10 for Gainesville, which will continue play in the Lanierland tournament semifinals at 7 p.m. Thursday at Flowery Branch against Johnson.

Flowery Branch, meanwhile, will take on Lakeview at 5:30 p.m. Friday in the consolation bracket at Lakeview Academy.
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