Tuesday July 7th, 2020 11:23PM

LANIERLAND: Day 1 offers thrills but few surprises

By Jeff Hart Sports Reporter
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GAINESVILLE — The 59th Lanierland Tournament got under way Thursday at Chestatee High School with some outstanding games but few surprises, sort of.

(Scroll down to see Thursday’s results as well as Friday’s matchups for Day 2 of the Lanierland Tournament.)

Perhaps the most interesting matchup of the day was the last. Despite coming in with just four wins against a steaking Cherokee Bluff team, two-time defending champion Gainesville, sporting a new look and coach, staved off the first-year Bears, who came in having won four straight, in a 76-65 victory in the final game of the day.

Meanwhile, three-time defending girls champion Flowery Branch held off pesky Cherokee Bluff, 55-43.

The opening day, however, was highlighted by the North Hall-Lakeview Academy girls showdown. The Lady Trojans took a thrilling 60-59 win in the waning seconds on a Ashleigh Ferguson layup after the two teams produced seven ties and traded 12 lead changes, including three in the final minute.

In other action,  the Chestatee girls advanced to the semifinals for the first time since 2014 with a 60-34 win over West Hall and Gainesville beat East Hall 70-62 behind 30 points from Tija Blackwell.

For the boys, Lakeview Academy overcame a slow start to knock off West Hall 60-42. North Hall pulled away from Flowery Branch for a 55-46 victory and East Hall ran past Johnson 62-49 to advance to the semifinals.

Thursday’s results (at Chestatee High School)
Chestatee girls 60, West Hall 34
Lakeview Academy boys 60, West Hall 42
North Hall girls 60, Lakeview Academy 59
North Hall boys 55, Flowery Branch 46
Gainesville girls 70, East Hall 62
East Hall boys 62, Johnson 49
Flowery Branch girls 55, Cherokee Bluff 43
Gainesville boys 76, Cherokee Bluff 65

Friday’s schedule (at West Hall High School)
-- Consolation bracket
Lakeview Academy girls vs. East Hall, 9:30 a.m.
Johnson boys vs. Flowery Branch 11 a.m.
West Hall girls vs. Cherokee Bluff, 12:30 p.m.
West Hall boys vs. Cherokee Bluff, 2 p.m.
-- Semifinals
Gainesville girls vs. North Hall, 3:30 p.m.
East Hall boys vs. North Hall, 5 p.m.
Chestatee girls vs. Flowery Branch, 6:30 p.m.
Lakeview Academy boys vs. Gainesville, 8 p.m.

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