Friday September 22nd, 2023 12:19PM

(VIDEO) 2015 Lanierland girls: GHS, Branch, East Hall, North Hall open tourney with big first round wins

By Jeff Hart Sports Reporter

OAKWOOD — Flowery Branch girls coach Courtney Newton is just glad to get the first one out of the way.

A star for Flowery Branch during her high school playing days, Newton saw her share of big moments in the Lanierland Tournament. But, she hoped one day she could coach in the annual event.

Monday she got her wish and her Lady Falcons used a big second half to pull away from a pesky West Hall squad for a 67-44 win in the opening round at the Johnson High gym.

“It was always a dream of mine to coach in the tournament after playing in it,” Newton said. “I’m just glad to get that one out of the way.”

The East Hall and North Hall girls also advanced to the semifinals with wins Monday in the opening round. North Hall knocked off Lakeview Academy 67-56 while East Hall beat Chestatee 48-39.

Despite the lopsided win, it did not come easy for the Lady Falcons (12-0). West Hall (5-5) led 5-3 early after a Anna McKendree 3-pointer and the Lady Spartans trailed just 13-10 after the first quarter slowing the game down with a methodical half-court attack.

Flowery Branch used a 7-1 run early in the second quarter for a 20-13 lead but West Hall answered with a 9-2 run, capped by a pair of Avery Prather free throws, to pull even at 22 midway through the period. But the Lady Falcons responded with a 10-1 run in a 1:09 span to help them take a 34-27 lead into halftime.

Senior Maddie Hetzel did most of the damage for the Lady Falcons scoring all 16 of her points in the first half.

“Without Maddie in the first half we’re probably looking at a big deficit. She was huge for us,” Newton said.

Newton then told her charges at intermission it was time to go on the attack. They responded with an 11-2 run midway through the third quarter that ended with a 49-35 lead heading into the final eight minutes.

“West Hall did a good job of slowing things down and taking away our ability to drive to the basket in the first half,” Newton said. “We talked about getting back to what we do and the girls did a much better job in the second half.”

Julianne Sutton converted a pair of stick-back baskets as part of six straight points to close out the third quarter for a 49-35 lead. Sutton finished with 13 points, 12 in the second half.

The Lady Falcons also turned up the defense in the second half. They held the Lady Spartans to just four second half field goals.

“Julianne came up big for us in the second half and I thought our defensive effort was much better also,” Newton said.

Flowery Branch blew it open in the fourth quarter going on a 17-5 run for a 66-40 lead, its biggest of the game, midway through the fourth quarter.

McKendree finished with a game-high 21 points to pace West Hall. Macy Passmore added 13 for the Lady Spartans.

Lexie Sengkhammee had nine points on three 3-pointers and Taniyah Worth and Queen Scott chipped in eight points apiece for Flowery Branch.

The Lady Falcons next will take on North Hall at 3 p.m. on Tuesday at East Hall in the semifinals. West Hall will play Lakeview Academy at 10:30 a.m. in the consolation bracket at East Hall.

EAST HALL          48
CHESTATEE        39

Senior Jenny Edwards poured in 16 points to go with seven rebounds to lead the Lady Vikings to a first round victory over the Lady War Eagles.

East Hall (10-2) trailed just twice at 4-3 and 8-6 but used a barrage of 3-pointers in the first quarter to grab the lead it would never relinquish. Kylah Mize hit a pair of treys to open the scoring for the Lady Vikings and Ashlyn Ellison hit two 3-pointers, including one that gave them a 9-8 lead. They would not trail again as they won for the fifth straight time.

East Hall coach Justin Wheeler said the quick start was nice to see.

“It always help to hit shots early,” Wheeler said. “That opened things up and Jenny played an excellent game to give us that inside presence.”

The Lady Vikings lead 12-10 after the first quarter and 22-18 at halftime. The Lady War Eagles (5-7) stayed close until the final minute. Chestatee fell behind 35-27 early in the fourth quarter but used a 6-0 run behind sophomore Lindsey Caudell to trim the lead to 35-33 with 5:40 left.

East Hall slowly pulled away and got four consecutive free throws from Carly Winters to extend the lead to 47-37 with 37 seconds left. The Lady Vikings hit 7-of-8 free throws in the fourth quarter.

Ellison finished with 14 points and Mize had 10 for East Hall.

Caudell finished with a game-high 19 points to pace Chestatee. Morgan Bryant had 10 points for the Lady War Eagles.

East Hall will take on the Gainesville-Johnson winner on Tuesday at 6 p.m. at East Hall in the semifinals. Chestatee will take on the loser of the Gainesville-Johnson game at noon at East Hall.

NORTH HALL                       67

North Hall used a huge first half to open a lead and then held off the Lady Lions in the second half to get the win.

The Lady Trojans (6-3) opened the game with an 8-0 run and then closed out the first quarter with an 11-2 run to pull away for a 24-9 lead. They extended the lead to 46-18  by halftime forcing nearly a dozen Lakeview turnovers.

Lakeview (6-5) stormed back in the second half using a 23-8 run in the third quarter to pull within 57-41 heading into the fourth quarter, paced by Hannah Grogan, who poured in 20 of her game-high 28 points in the second half. The Lady Lions got within 57-47 to open the final period and then got within 60-52 on a long 3-pointer by Tori Taylor with 3:26 left in the game.

But North Hall answered with a 5-0 over the next minute to put the game away.

Taylor Anne Kelly paced North Hall with 20 points. Sadie Cleveland added 11 points and Chloe Barrett had 10 for the Lady Trojans.

Christen Copeland had 11 points for Lakeview Academy.

North Hall will take on Flowery Branch at 3 p.m. Tuesday at East Hall in the semifinals.

Lakeview Academy will play West Hall at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at East Hall in the consolation bracket.

JOHNSON             21

Johnson scored first on a Hannah Hester basket and trailed just 6-4 midway through the first quarter. But the Lady Red Elephants used a 5-0 run to close out the opening period as part of a 23-2 first half run to blow the game open.

It was the sixth straight win for Gainesville (7-2), which take on arch-rival East Hall in the semifinals at 6 p.m. on Tuesday at East Hall.

The Lady Red Elephants pushed their lead to 27-6 with the big run and took a 29-7 lead into halftime.

Shikiya Brown led nine different Gainesville scorers with 17 points. Brenna Fair added 12 and Tija Blackwell had 11 for the Lady Red Elephants.

Johnson was led by Caroline Odum with seven points. Hester finished with six and Chelsea Reece had five for the Lady Knights (1-8).

Johnson next will take on Chestatee in the consolation bracket at noon Tuesday at East Hall.


Tuesday, Dec. 29 at East Hall High, Second Round


North Hall girls vs. Flowery Branch, 3 p.m.

North Hall boys vs. East Hall 4:30 p.m.

East Hall girls vs. Gainesville, 6 p.m.

Flowery Branch boys vs. West Hall, 7:30 p.m.

Consolation bracket

Lakeview Academy girls vs. West Hall, 10:30 a.m.

Chestatee girls vs. Johnson, noon

Chestatee boys. vs Johnson, 1:30 p.m. 

Monday, Dec. 28 results

East Hall girls 48, Chestatee 39

Flowery Branch boys 61, Chestatee 50

North Hall girls 67, Lakeview Academy 56

Flowery Branch girls 67, West Hall 44

East Hall boys 61, Lakeview Academy 54

Gainesville girls 56, Johnson 21

West Hall boys 81, Johnson 46

(The North Hall boys received a first round bye after the Gainesviile boys were forced to withdraw after being involved in a fight in a tournament in Kentucky last week. The Red Elephants were suspended for two games, as per GHSA rules.)

  • Associated Categories: Sports, High School Sports
  • Associated Tags: High school basketball, Chestatee girls basketball, East Hall girls basketball
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