Saturday July 13th, 2024 9:19PM
6:33PM ( 2 hours ago ) News Alert

Lanierland: Jackson carries Lady Vikings to second straight title

By Jeff Hart Sports Reporter
OAKWOOD -- Down 10 at the half, can't make a shot, not taking care of the ball. That's usually a big problem for most teams.

Not so for the East Hall girls basketball team.

Senior Morgan Jackson put the Lady Vikings on her back to fuel a thrilling second half comeback to knock off North Hall 64-57 Thursday night in the finals of the Lanierland Tournament at the Johnson HIgh gym in Oakwood.

Jackson poured in 34 points, 11 in the pivotal fourth quarter, to earn tournament MVP honors and give the Lady Vikings (7-0) their second straight Lanierland title.

"Being down 10 at half, that's nothing," Jackson said. "We really wanted it bad and just never gave up. We started hitting some shots and things just got going after that."

East Hall coach Joey Rider said Jackson showed just what kind of player he feels she can be every game.

"She really rose to the occasion when we needed her, but she has done that many times for us over the years," he said. "She's been a special player for us and I'm happy to see her have this kind of success.

"We really didn't do anything different in the second half. We just finally started making some shots and that just kind of got everyone going. North Hall played excellent defense in the first half and that had a lot to do with it."

While Jackson was busy lighting up the scoreboard, the East Hall defense was perhaps the real star of the game, especially in the second half. The Lady Vikings used a press early in the third quarter to force three straight North Hall turnovers to spark an 11-0 run to grab the lead at 38-37 less than four minutes into the second half.

"We came out pressing and that got us going but we didn't have the legs to keep it up the entire time," Rider said.

When East Hall came out of the press, North Hall would respond with a 13-8 run to end the quarter for a 50-46 lead. But the Lady Vikings again turned up the defensive pressure and used a 10-2 run to reclaim the lead for good. They would hold North Hall to just seven fourth quarter points.

North Hall's McKenna Rushton and Taylor Swoszowski fueled the Lady Trojans first half surge but could not get much going after halftime. Rushton finished with 17 points and Swoszowski 16 but they combined for just three points in the decisive fourth quarter.
East Hall came out hot to start the game running out to a 6-2 lead taking advantage of three quick North Hall turnovers. But the Lady Trojans used their own defense to get going.

They forced eight first quarter East Hall turnovers to turn the early deficit into a 19-11 lead on the strength of a 13-1 run as five different players scored during the spurt.

North Hall did not let up in the second quarter. McKenna Rushton provided the main spark with 10 points in the quarter to help the Lady Trojans take a 37-27 lead into halftime.

East Hall's Jasmine Jenkins and Jackson combined for 19 of the lady Viking's first half points but no one had more than three as North Hall clamped down on the two East Hall scorers in the latter stages of the half.

Jenkins finished 11 points and Holly Lester had nine for East Hall. Jenkins also had five rebounds and six assists.

Mary Kate Rushton had nine points for North Hall. Swoszowski also had six assists and three steals for the Lady Trojans.

NOTES: Johnson's Emily Myers earned the Sportsmanship Award. Rushton, Swoszowski, and Jenkins also made the All-Tournament team. Maegan Kenimer of Chestatee, Tavia Sykes of Flowery Branch, Rebecca Webster of Gainesville, Harlee Robson of Johnson, Jefferson's Skylar Evanson, and West Hall's LeNiesha Kearse were named to the All-Tournament team.


Bridgette Kelly hit three free throws in the final 28 seconds to help the Lady War Eagles rally for the win in the third place game of the Lanierland Tournament on Thursday.

Chestatee trailed most of the first half after Gainesville held the Lady War Eagles to just eight first quarter points. Chestatee was able to get back in the game in the second quarter holding the Lady Elephants to just six points to trail just 19-17.

Meagan Kenimer then went to work for Chestatee in the second half putting up 13 of her game-high 18 points. She helped Chestatee take a 30-28 lead into the fourth quarter. The lead changed hands five times in the final three minutes before Kelly swiped two steals to erase a 33-32 Gainesville lead for good.

Kelly finished with 10 points for Chestatee, five coming in the fourth quarter.

Gainesville was paced by Hunter Pugh with 11 points, including three 3-pointers. Rebecca Webster had 10 points for the Lady Elephants, but just two after halftime.
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