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Wednesday August 10th, 2022 6:49PM

(VIDEO) Lanierland girls: Branch, Lakeview, Gainesville, West Hall move into semifinals

By Jeff Hart Sports Reporter

GAINESVILLE — The Lakeview Academy, Gainesville, and Flowery Branch girls all moved into the semifinals of the 57th annual Lanierland Tournament with impressive wins Wednesday in the first round at the North Hall gym. West Hall shook off a slow start to advance with a win over East Hall.

Lakeview Academy got a huge game from Hanna Grogan in beating North Hall 69-54 while Gainesville rallied from a first half deficit and then held off a late surge to beat Chestatee 56-44. West Hall started slow, exploded in the second and third quarters, and then held off a furious East Hall fourth quarter rally for a 51-39 win. Flowery Branch scored the first 53 points and rolled to a 69-10 win over Johnson in the final girls game of the day.

West Hall and Gainesville will meet at 3:30 p.m. Thursday in the semifinals at the Gainesville gym. Defending champion Flowery Branch will take on Lakeview Academy in the other semifinal at 6:30 p.m.

East Hall and Chestatee will meet in one consolation game while North Hall and Johnson will meet in the other consolation matchup.

WEST HALL 51,
EAST HALL 39

West Hall overcame a sluggish first quarter start to pull away from the Lady Vikings to move into the semifinals.

Known for their offensive explosiveness, the Lady Spartans defense held East Hall to single-digits in each of the first three quarters while the offense exploded in the second and third quarters. 

West Hall (10-3) outscored East Hall 33-13 in the middle quarters to turn a 9-8 deficit into a 41-22 lead heading into the fourth quarter. East Hall did not go quietly, however.

The Lady Vikings (6-6) opened the fourth quarter with an 11-0 run, fueled by a pair of 3-pointers from Carly Winter, to pull within 41-33. West Hall responded back with four straight points to push the lead back to 45-33 to regain control.

West Hall kept East Hall in the game late missing four free throws but East Hall was not able to take advantage missing its final nine shots over the final 1:25 of the game.

West Hall coach Bryan Richerson said there was good, and some bad, to take from their first quarterfinals win in more than a decade.

"We lost focus in the fourth quarter and we need to play better down the stretch than we have the last couple of games," Richerson said. "I thought Anna (McKendree) and Avery (Prather) really got us going there in the third quarter."

They will now sets their sights on Gainesville. The two teams will meet at 3:30 p.m. Thursday at the Gainesville gym in the semifinals. Richerson said to expect a much different game on Thursday.

"We'll have to handle their pressure and control our tempo. It will be a different kind of game fo sure," Richerson said. "One of our goals is to win Lanierland so this is just the next game. It will be a big challenge for us. But I would really like to see the girls get to experience the finals experience so hopefully we can play well enough to win."

McKendree paced West Hall with 17 points and had three huge steals that led to seven big points as well. Macy Passmore and Megan English had seven points each for the Lady Spartans. 

Kylah Mize led East Hall with 19 points. Macy Thomas added 10 points for the Lady Vikings.

The game started slow with both teams having a cold shooting touch over the first five minutes. West Hall took the first lead on a Danielle Hinkelman basket but did not score again for the next three minutes as East Hall ran out to a 5-2 lead.

But both teams began to find a stroke late in the first quarter with the Lady Vikings taking a 9-8 lead into the second quarter. But the second eight minutes was almost all West Hall.

The Lady Spartans outscored East Hall 18-7 in the quarter, with McKendree providing most of the spark with five points during a 10-2 run as they took an 18-11 lead. West Hall closed out the half with an 8-5 spurt to take a 26-16 lead into halftime.


LAKEVIEW ACADEMY 69,
NORTH HALL 54

Hanna Grogan poured in 30 points to go with seven rebounds and four steals to lead the Lakeview Academy to the opening round win.

Lakeview Academy (11-2) used a pair of big first half runs to grab the lead and then pulled away in the second half.

The game was tight in the opening minutes as the two teams traded baskets in the first quarter with the game tied at 2, 5, and 8 before the Lady Lions (11-2) got a 3-pointer from Ryann Moody to ignite an 11-4 run and a 16-12 lead. Lakeview led 16-14 after the first quarter. Sadie Cleveland keep North Hall within striking distance with 8 first quarter points. However, Lakeview held Cleveland to just five points the rest of the way.

North Hall retook the lead 17-16 on a Cleveland basket but the Lady Lions answered with an 18-4 run to grab the lead for good and eventually take a 35-24 lead into halftime. Grogan was huge for Lakeview pouring in 12 points in the second quarter.

The Lakeview pressure defense gave North Hall (7-7) fits forcing a dozen first half turnovers to help build the lead.

Niki Carver opened the third quarter with a basket for North Hall to cut the lead to 35-26 but Lakeview again answered with an 11-3 run to push the lead to 46-29 after a Grogan 3-pointer late in the period. North Hall cut it to 51-38 but Lakeview extended the lead to 58-38 heading into th3e fourth quarter.

Lakeview led by as many 23 three times in the fourth quarter. North Hall could only get as close as the final score in the final minute.

Grogan was a perfect 13-for-13 from the free throw line for the Lady Lions. Christen Copeland added 11 points and six assists. Jackie Allen added 11 points and Moody finished with six points on a pair of 3-pointers for Lakeview Academy.

Cleveland finished with 13 points but had just two free throws in the second half to lead North Hall. Kelley finished with 12 points for the Lady Trojans.

Lakeview will play the winner of the Flowery Branch-Johnson game in Thursday's semifinals at 6:30 p.m. North Hall will take on the Flowery Branch-Johnson loser at 12:30 p.m. in the consolation bracket.


GAINESVILLE 56,
CHESTATEE 44

The Lady Red Elephants used a 7-0 run to close out the final 2:26 to pull away for the first round win.

Gainesville (8-2) got the opening tip and converted a quick fastbreak basket to start the game. The Lady Red Elephants ran out to a 5-0 lead as Chestatee had three turnovers on its first three possessions to start the game.

The Lady War Eagles rallied to tie the game at 5 on a Caudell basket and a Brooklyn Popham 3-pointer. However, Gainesville used an 8-2 run for a 13-7 lead powered by a pair of Taylor Hawks assists.

But, Chestatee took its first lead at 15-13 to end the quarter when Dawndria Bell converted a steal and layup at the buzzer to cap an 8-0 run over the final two minutes.

Chestatee opened the second quarter with a 6-1 run to push its lead to 21-14 lead after Popham and Caudell drained back-to-back 3-pointers.

Gainesville answered, however, closing out the first half on an 11-0 run to take a 29-23 lead into halftime. The Lady Red Elephants took advantage of Caudell picking up her third foul midway through the period. The Lady War Eagles managed just one field goal over the final four minutes of the half.

The Lady Red Elephants continued the run to start the third quarter with a quick 5-0 spurt for a 34-23 lead. Chestatee climbed within six points twice at 34-28 and 37-31 but also missed five free throws in that span.

Gainesville closed out the third period with a 6-0 run for a 43-31 lead. It looked bleak for Chestatee (14-2) moments into the fourth quarter when Caudell fouled out with 5:28 left trailing 47-37.

But the Lady War Eagles pulled within 49-44 with 2:26 left after five straight points from Bell, including a 3-pointer. Gainesville turned up the defense forcing three turnovers in a minute span and eventually closed out the game scoring the final seven points.

Hawks finished with a game-high 22 points to lead Gainesville. Sydney Payne added 12 points and Tia Shelton 10 points for the Lady Red Elephants.

Caudell had 15 points to lead Chestatee before fouling out. Popham added 14 points, including four 3-pointers, and Bell had 11 points for the Lady War Eagles.

Gainesville will play West Hall at 3:30 p.m. Thursday in the semifinals. Chestatee will play East Hall at 9:30 a.m. Both games will be at Gainesville High.


FLOWERY BRANCH 69,
JOHNSON 10

The Lady Falcons advanced to the semifinals with a lopsided win.

Flowery Branch scored the first 53 points, including a 34-0 first quarter fueled by 16 Johnson turnovers with eight Lady Falcons steals. The Lady Falcons led 53-0 at halftime.

Taniyah Worth had 17 points to lead 10 Flowery Branch scorers. All but one player on the roster scored for the Lady Falcons (10-2).

Caroline Wysocki had 15 points, Lexi Sengkhammee nine points, and Julianne Sutton eight points for Flowery Branch.

Johnson's Tori Smith drained a 3-pointer for the Lady Knights' first points to open the third quarter to make it 53-3. Amy Berry hit a free throw to trim the lead to 57-4. Smith later hit two more 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to finish with nine points to pace Johnson (0-13).

Flowery Branch will take on Lakeview Academy at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the semifinals. Johnson will play North Hall at 12:30 p.m. in the consolation round.

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