GAINESVILLE -- With scoring coming at a premium on Saturday, the Gainesville boys basketball team turned to its defense.
And like so many other occasions this season, it came up aces.
The Red Elephants forced back-to-back turnovers and came up with a monster rebound in the dying seconds to edge out a 41-40 victory over Mays in the Class AAAAA second round at Gainesville.
Shaquan Cantrell scored a game-high 15 points, while Deshaun Watson grabbed the critical late rebound to send the Red Elephants to the third round for the first time since 2009.
It was just one piece of a hugely successful day for area programs, as three of the four that competed in state booked quarterfinal berths.
North Hall showed impressive tenacity in storming back from a seven-point halftime deficit to defeat Morgan County 50-46 in Madison. The Trojans were led by 24 points from Ebo Smith and 15 from Adam Kelly, as they marched back into the quarterfinals for the first time since 2010.
The Trojans will be joined in the next round by fellow Region 7-AAA foe Buford, which hammered Gordon Central 84-68 at home.
In the day's other contest, Lakeview Academy's boys fell 58-49 at Aquinas, bringing to an end the stellar career of coach Seth Vining, as well as 10 seniors.
The night's results mean that six total area teams will keep playing next week, as the Dawson County, Buford and Towns County girls all won on Friday to march through to the next round.
Visit our Sports and High School Sports pages to read in-depth game stories of each contest.
SATURDAY'S STATE PLAYOFF RESULTS:
Gainesville boys 41, Mays 40
North Hall boys 50, Morgan County 46
Buford boys 84, Gordon Central 68
Aquinas boys 58, Lakeview 49
STATE QUARTERFINALS MATCH-UPS FOR AREA TEAMS:
New Manchester at Gainesville, Wednesday
St. Pius X at North Hall, Wednesday
Woodward Academy at Buford, Wednesday
Decatur at Dawson County, Tuesday
St. Pius X at Buford, Tuesday
Class A Public
Claxton at Towns County