GAINESVILLE — The Gainesville boys basketball team had control, but let it slip away in a 64-60 loss to Dacula at the Gainesville High Gym Tuesday night.
It wasn't all bad for the Red Elephants, however.
Gainesville (9-12, 5-2 Region 8-6A) had control and seemed as if the gas pedal was on its way to the floor, then things started to change late in the second quarter.
Trailing by 12 points, 32-20, with 3:50 left late in the first half, Gabe Omoregie (11 points), Lamariyon Jordan (10 points) and Caleb Edwards (8 points) led the Falcons (9-13, 4-3 Region 8-6A) on an 11-1 run to end the half down by one point, 32-31.
"We just lost our identity the last two minutes of the half and was never able to regain it," Gainesville coach Chuck Graham said. "We preach it every day ... everything counts ... the one turnover or the one time they didn't make an effort to go get the rebound or didn't multiple efforts on defense. All of that stuff counts whether you're playing a non-region game or a region game, it'll come back and bite you, especially against a team as talented as Dacula."
And it did bite the Red Elephants in the second half.
Khari Person quickly grabbed the Falcons' first lead since early first quarter off a 3-pointer in the corner. The shot sent the quarter in a back-and-forth battle that included six ties and seven lead changes.
Gainesville's Eli Pitts, who finished with a game-high 20 points, stroked two free throws to give Gainesville its only lead of the quarter, 44-43, with 3:37 to go, but it didn't last for long, as the Falcons took it back on the next possession and pushed it to 51-48 by the end of the third quarter.
In the fourth, the Falcons extended their lead to as many as six points in the fourth quarter, thanks to a Cameron Carithers' basket with 6:59 to go.
Carithers finished with a team-high 14 points. He was one of four Dacula players in double digits.
The Red Elephants, however, didn't go away. Pitts converted a three-point play to make it a one-point game, 58-57 and had several more opportunities in the final two minutes to either tie or take the lead.
"We just couldn't make a play," Graham said. "I thought the guys excited well. We just couldn't make a play. Even if we make one basket down the stretch, I think, the tide or the momentum may change. I think it was a combination of things that couldn't get us over the hump tonight."
Gainesville's Robert Reisman finished the night with 16 points, included 5-of-6 from the foul line in the fourth quarter.
DACULA GIRLS 58,
Sadie Roach scored 17 points and Lauren Teasley had 10 in the Lady Red Elephants (7-14, 2-5 Region 8-6A) loss to No. 4-ranked Dacula (20-2, 7-0 Region 8-6A) on Tuesday.
Gainesville fell behind early, 17-4, and struggled from the field most of the first half. They also struggled on the boards.
A big reason for Gainesville's struggle on the boards was 6-foot-3 Dacula sophomore sensation, Lazaria Spearman. She scored a game-high 21 points but, more importantly, pulled down 18 rebounds in the win.
Dacula led 35-15 at the half.
But the Lady Red Elephants showed improvement in the second half. They battled with the fourth-best team in Class 6A, thanks to big play from Roach and Teasley. Also, a much better defensive performance, holding Dacula to only 23 second-half points.