WINDER — The Gainesville boys could not hold a halftime lead as Apalachee used a 15-11 fourth quarter to stun the Red Elephants 51-47 in the Region 8-6A finals to capture the region title.
The Wildcats (12-16) came in as the No. 5 seed but knocked off Lanier, the No. 1 seed, and the second-seeded Red Elephants (18-9) on back-to-back days.
The ed Elephants led 14-11 after the first quarter and 25-24 at halftime. But Apalachee caught Gainesville at the end of the third quarter for a 36-36 tie heading into the final period.
Apalachee was a blistering 21-of-27 from the foul line, including hitting 11-of-16 in the fourth quarter, while Gainesville was just 6-of-12 for the game from the free throw line. The Wildcats defense also held Gainesville to just one 3-pointer for the game.
Rafael Rubel had a huge with 25 points for Gainesville. Brent Kelly had 13 points but Datavian Buffington was held scoreless and Maurice Hector, one night after hitting four 3-pointers, was limited to just one free throw for the game.
Brayson Hayes had 16 points to lead Apalachee. Jamonte Wallace had 13 points and AJ Millbrooks scored 10 points for the Wildcats.
DACULA GIRLS 68,
The Gainesville girls could not overcome a big second half by Dacula in the third-place game in the Region 8-6A tournament at Winder-Barrow High School.
The Lady Red Elephants (12-14) trailed 10-6 after the first quarter and just 20-18 at halftime. But Dacula (21-7) outscored Gainesville 25-18 in the third quarter to begin to pull away.
Gainesville clawed its way back in the fourth quarter but the Lady Falcons hit 14-of-22 free throws in the final period, including 11-of-14 by Nyla Moore, who pumped in 14 of her 18 points in the fourth quarter.
Keyanna Gibbs finished with a game-high 27 points, including 12 in the third quarter, to pace Dacula. Lazaria Spearman had 17 points for the Lady Falcons.
Tia Shelton and Tija Blackwell had a huge second half combining for 30 points after halftime but it wasn't enough. Shelton finished with 24 points and Blackwell 19 overall. Lauren Teasley chipped in with 12 points for Gainesville.