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Monday May 30th, 2016 12:10PM

7-AAA tournament: North Hall crushes Fannin County, 69-22

By Morgan Lee Sports Editor
GAINESVILLE -- The North Hall boys basketball team showed on Tuesday that it has plenty of talent to spare.

Missing senior standout Ebo Smith -- out with a concussion suffered last Friday -- the Trojans plowed through Fannin County in the first round of the Region 7-AAA tournament, 69-22 in Gainesville, securing a state tournament berth and setting up a semifinal showdown with East Hall on Friday.

Avery Cagle led a balanced assault on the Rebels that saw 10 different Trojans score, including 16 from Cagle -- who was a perfect 4-of-4 from beyond the 3-point arc.

"We just wanted to play our brand of basketball and start strong," North Hall coach Benjie Wood said. "This is an opportunity for a lot of guys on the team to show what they can do."

Adam Kelly also scored 11, while Carson Heinen added 10 for the top-seeded Trojans (24-2), who may get Smith back as early as the semifinal round.

"It's just a day-to-day thing right now,"Wood said of Smith's status.

In the senior's absence on Tuesday, the sophomore Cagle displayed the kind of scoring ability that is sure to get the attention of opposing defenses. Cagle drained back-to-back 3-pointers to open the game and then put up 10 straight points at the start of the second quarter to effectively seal the outcome -- two more treys and a pair of lay-ups putting the finishing touches on a 20-0 Trojans run that yielded a 28-6 lead with 6:05 left in the half.

"He's capable of doing things like that, and we've been talking to him about showing some more of that," Wood said.

North Hall led 42-12 at halftime and 59-18 after the third quarter, rotating its entire bench, as Friday's semifinal showdown moved on to the horizon.

And while the Trojans may have swept East Hall this season, the victories were anything but easy, as North Hall claimed a 72-69 final in December, followed by an 88-83 overtime win on Jan. 22.

"It's always tough whenever we play them," Wood said. "But we're in the state tournament, right where we want to be, and we're excited about what's ahead of us."

North Hall will face East Hall at 8:30 p.m. Friday on its home floor.
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