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Sunday June 24th, 2018 3:00AM

Basketball: Banks County sweeps Region 8-AA titles

By Jeff Hart Sports Reporter

EATONTON — Both Banks County basketball teams came into the Region 8-AA Tournament as No. 2 seeds. Both left Friday's finals at Putnam County as region champions.

The boys won their second consecutive region title with a 54-44 victory over Elbert County while the girls beat the Lady Blue Devils 48-37 to make it a sweep.

In the girls championship game, Jaycie Bowen poured in 14 points to go with 6 rebounds and Maddie Thomas added 12 points on four 3-pointers to lead the Lady Leopards (23-5). Amber Williams had 9 points and 6 rebounds and Allison Smith chipped in with 8 points.

In the boys championship game, Banks County led the No. 1 seed Blue Devils most of the way. The Leopards held a slim 11-9 after the first quarter and took a 23-20 lead into the intermission.

They continued to increase their lead taking a 41-34 advantage into the fourth quarter and never allowed Elbert County to gain control.

Carl Cleveland continued his blitz of the region with 26 points and 12 rebounds. He scored 59 points in the semifinals and finals. Dylan Orr added 7 points, 12 rebounds, and 6 blocks.

Banks County boys coach Mike Cleveland said his group is peaking when it matters most.

"This was a good for us," he said. "I feel like we're really playing well. I think we have a chance to make a (playoff) run if we continue to play like we have the last couple of weeks."

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