OAKWOOD — The White County boys clinched a state playoff berth with a 60-44 win over West Hall on Friday in Region 7-3A action at the West Hall gym.
The top two teams in the region get an automatic berth into the semifinals in the upcoming region tournament and an automatic berth into the state tournament.
The Warriors (13-5, 10-1 Region 7-3A) used a tough defensive effort to build an early lead. They held West Hall to just 14 first half points and led 31-14 at the break.
White County, spurred by 10 3-pointers, led by as many as 28 in the second half before West Hall staged a big fourth quarter comeback.
Silas Mulligan had 13 points to lead the Warriors. Jaden Yeh and Cooper Turner each had 11 points for White County.
NORTH OCONEE 64,
FLOWERY BRANCH 59
The Falcons pushed the Titans to the final seconds in a tough Region 8-4A loss at home.
It was a far better showing for Branch (3-14, 0-9 Region 8-4A) than the first meeting when the Titans took a 38-point victory.
Flowery Branch led 14-13 after the opening period behind 8 points from Tyleek Worth. But North Oconee (17-4, 5-4 Region 8-4A) outscored the Falcons 16-8 in the second quarter to take a 28-22 halftime lead.
The teams played to a standstill in the third quarter as the Titans led 40-34 and both offenses exploded in the final period. Worth and Jacob Dixon combined for 17 points in the fourth quarter but Branch could not overtake the Titans.
The Falcons had a chance to pull the upset but went just 5-of-13 from the free throw line for the game.
Dixon finished with 19 points, including five 3-pointers, to lead Flowery Branch. Worth added 16 and Trevor Gurske had 14 for the Falcons.
North Oconee was led by a game-high 23 from Jace Saxton.
LINCOLN COUNTY 61
Commerce rallied from an early deficit to take a big Region 8-A Public contest at home.
The win for the Tigers (6-12, 4-3 Region 8-A Public) moved them into a third-place tie with Washington-Wilkes.
Lincoln County opened strong, running out to a 15-11 lead after the first quarter. But Commerce exploded for a 25-point second quarter to take a 36-27 halftime lead.
The Tigers extended their lead to 51-42 heading into the fourth quarter and held off a furious comeback attempt by the Red Devils to get the win.
Ian McConnell paced Commerce with 21 points. Cayden Lord added 14 and Shaquario Sherrod finished with 10 for the Tigers.
The win pushed the Lions into third place in Region 8-6A with five region games remaining.
Lakeview has region leader Mount Pisgah and Pinecrest during the five-game span.
As for Friday, Harrison Cooper and Conley Millwood scored 14 points to lead the Lions. Declan Weidner added 12.
The Lions (13-5, 8-3 Region 6-A) plays host to St. Francis on Tuesday.
HABERSHAM CENTRAL 22
The Raiders' offense struggled against No. 7 Shiloh in the loss on the road Friday.
Jacob Brown led the Raiders (8-13, 0-9 Region 8-6A) with 10 points. Habersham Central (8-13) falls at #7 Shiloh 63-22.
DAWSON COUNTY 67,
NORTH HALL 50
The Tigers (17-6, 9-2 Region 7-3A) are now two games away from clinching an automatic state tournament bid after rolling past North Hall (9-10, 4-5 Region 7-3A) on Friday at home.
The win sets up a massive showdown at Cherokee Bluff on Tuesday with the winner taking control of the No. 2 seed in next month's Region 7-3A tournament.
The Trojans held the Tigers leading scorer Jake Craft under 2o points on the night -- 15 points -- but couldn't control Joakeim Celestin, who poured in 24 points to lead the Tigers, and Jaden Gibson added 15.
Dawson County went on a 16-0 that started in the second quarter and ended in the third quarter to push the lead to its largest, 29 points late in the game.
Brady Hall scored 10 points, all in the final period, to pace the Trojans.