GAINESVILLE — The Gainesville, Lakeview Academy, and East Hall boys rolled to big wins while North Hall survived a furious Johnson rally in the second half to advance to the semifinals of the Lanierland Tournament Wednesday at the North Hall gym.
Gainesville never trailed in taking an impressive 80-55 win over defending champion Flowery Branch as six players scored eight or more points in a devastating offensive attack. Lakeview Academy also never trailed in taking a 73-50 win over West Hall.
North Hall led the entire way until Johnson caught the Trojans with two minutes left and then took the last of five lead changes over the final two minutes to hold on for a 49-46 victory. East Hall used a 25-6 third quarter run to blow open a close game en route to an 87-69 win over Chestatee.
North Hall will take on East Hall in the 5 p.m. semifinal while the Lions will face Gainesville in the other 8 p.m. semfinal on Thursday. The action will move to Gainesville High Thursday beginning with consoaltion round action at 9:30 a.m.
Chestatee and Johnson will play in the 11 a.m. consolation game with West Hall and Flowery Branch playing the 2 p.m. consolation round game.
FLOWERY BRANCH 55
Gainesville opened with a 9-0 run and never trailed in advancing to the semifinals.
The Red Elephants (11-0) extended their lead to 16-2 midway through the first quarter as they showed their offensive balance with five different players scoring. They would lead 17-4 after the opening period as they held the defending champion Falcons (10-3) to just one Myles Janess field goal and a pair of Blake Coxworth free throws.
The Falcons mounted a quick charge to open the second quarter getting a 3-pointer from Joey Nidoy and a basket by Coxworth to cut the lead to 17-9. But Gainesville clamped down over the final six minutes of the half.
The Red Elephants outscored Flowery Branch 19-12 in that span, holding the Falcons to just three free throws over the final two minutes while building a 36-21 halftime lead. That was as close as the Falcons would get the rest of the way.
Gainesville coach Benjie Wood said it was just the first of three steps for his Class AAAAAA No. 1-ranked team, which is looking for its first title since 2011 and just the third since winning three of four from 1989 to 1992.
"There's 96 total minutes to play (in the tournament) and we want to play hard all 96 minutes to make the most of it," Wood said. "We still have a long way to go. Every day we try to get a little bit better."
The Red Elephants opened the third quarter with a 12-4 run to push their lead to 48-25 to take control. Michael White and Xavier Bledson then drained back-to-back 3-pointers to push Gainesville’s lead to 55-28 and put the game out of reach midway through the third quarter.
Gainesville led by as many as 30 three times in the fourth quarter as the Red Elephants’ scoring depth was just too much for Flowery Branch.
Eleven different players scored for Gainesville with six tallying eight points or more. Bleson led the way with 15 points, including three 3-pointers. Bailey Minor had 14 points and Jarred Rosser 12. Jarrell Rosser and White had nine each and Kejuan Hale eight for the Red Elephants. The only blemish for Gainesville was going just 14-of-28 from the foul line.
Flowery Branch was paced by nine points each from Fred Johnson and Patsheko Lutumba. Brannon Clark had eight points but John Mills was held to just three free throws for the Falcons.
LAKEVIEW ACADEMY 73,
WEST HALL 50
Lakeview Academy opened the game with a pair of 3-pointers to grab the quick lead and never trailed en route to an impressive 73-50 win over West Hall Wednesday in the opening round of the Lanierland Tournament at the North Hall gym.
The Lions (7-3) drained six first half 3-pointers as they opened up with a 13-4 run and then used a 17-3 second quarter run to blow the game open. The big second quarter run gave Lakeview a 42-19 lead.
The Spartans got as close as 44-26 with a 7-2 run but the Lions would take a 47-28 halftime lead after holding the Spartans to just 10 second quarter points.
Lakeview extended the lead to 59-36 heading into the fourth quarter and led by as many as 38 points (66-38) before both teams put in reserves to close out the game.
Griffin Sewell led four Lakeview players in double-figure scoring with 14 points, a season-high for the junior forward. Drew Cottrell added 12 points, including three 3-pointers, and Evan Pitts and Josh Randolph each had 10 points for the Lions, who had 10 players score. The Lions also drained nine 3-pointers for the game.
"I was pleasantly surprised with our overall showing," Lakeview coach Todd Cottrell said. "Griffin had a tremendous game for us. I thought we rebounded well and dished the ball around. We're very happy to be in the semifinals."
The Lions set the tone with 14 assists compared to just 6 turnovers in the first half.
West Hall (4-8) was paced by Xzavier Reid with 18 points. Tae Reid added eight points for the Spartans.
The win moves Lakeview Academy into the semifinals. The Lions next will take on the winner of the Flowery Branch-Gainesville showdown at 8 p.m. on Thursday at the Gainesville gym.
West Hall falls into the consolation bracket and will play the loser of the Flowery Branch-Gainesville matchup at 2 p.m. at Gainesville.
EAST HALL 87,
East Hall used a 25-6 run in the third quarter to blow open a close en route to the big win.
The Vikings (7-4) led just 47-40 after a 3-pointer by Chestatee’s Cooper Wilson in the opening minute of the third quarter. But East Hall exploded behind a barrage of 3-pointers to eventually take a 72-46 lead into the fourth quarter.
It was a close game for most of the first half.
The two teams were tied three times and exchanged the lead five times in the opening period. East Hall jumped out to a 5-2 lead but the War Eagles used an 8-0 run to grab their biggest lead of the game at 10-5.
But the Vikings used an 8-0 run of their own over the final minute of the first quarter to retake the lead 21-16. East Hall opened the second quarter with a four-point play by Trevor Rider for a 25-16 lead.
East Hall pushed the lead to 31-21 early in the second quarter on a Luke Cooper basket. The Vikings extended the lead to 36-23 on a Mon Prather 3-pointer midway through the period.
The War Eagles (4-11) did not go away. Donovan Hernandez had consecutive baskets to pull them within 38-29 and later Cooper Wilson drained a long 3-pointer to make it 41-33.
East Hall’s Luke Cooper sank his second 3-pointer of the quarter to push the lead back to 44-33 but Chestatee’s Barron King capped the half with a putback basket to trail 44-35 at the half.
Cooper paced 11 East Hall scorers with 21 points. Sedrion Morse and Luke Holtzclaw each had 10 points and Walter Dixon and Dee Buffington had eight points apiece for the Vikings.
Wilson led 10 Chestatee scorers with 14 points. Hernandez added 12 points and King had 10 for the War Eagles.
East Hall will take on North Hall in the semifinals at 5 p.m. and Chestatee will play Johnson in the consolation round at 11 a.m. on Thursday at the Gainesville gym.
NORTH HALL 49,
North Hall’s Jake Meeler scored his only basket at the most opportune time with just 18 seconds left to give North Hall the last of five lead changes over the final 2:30 to stave off a furious second half rally by the Knights.
North Hall opened the game with a 9-0 run and took a 12-2 lead after the first quarter and never trailed until Johnson’s Will Richter drained a 3-pointer with 2:30 left in the game for a 42-41 Knights lead. The shot capped an 18-6 run in the third and fourth quarters by Johnson, who trailed 35-24 midway through the third quarter.
North Hall took a 22-13 lead into halftime and led by as many as 12 early in the third quarter. But Johnson began to chip away with Richter closing out the third quarter with another 3-pointer to pull within 35-29.
After Richter’s 3-pointer to give the Knights the lead, Justin Rabb scored to reclaim the lead for the Trojans and Kylan Curry answered for Johnson for a 44-43 lead.
Alden Lewallen gave North Hall back the lead at 45-44 but Dwayne Wilson on a turn-around jumper gave the Knights a 46-45 lead with 30 seconds left.
On the next possession Lewallen drove the lane and dished to Meeler for the game-winning basket. Evan Easton sank two free throws with 1.5 seconds left for a 49-46 lead and a Johnson 3-point attempt at the buzzer from half-court was off the mark.
Easton finished with a game-high 23 points to go with 13 rebounds for North Hall. Lewallen added 14 points for the Trojans.
Wilson finished with 19 points, 15 coming in the second half, to pace Johnson. Richter had eight points, including two 3-pointers, and Curry and Qua Butler had seven each for the Knights.
North Hall next will play the winner of the Chestatee-East Hall quarterfinal at 5 p.m. Thursday in the semifinals. Johnson will play the loser of the Chestatee-East Hall matchup in the consolation round at 11 a.m. Both games will be at the Gainesville gym.