cloudyn.png
Wednesday August 17th, 2022 1:12AM

Lanierland boys: GHS and Bluff roll, Vikings advance, Lakeview wins thriller in 1st round

By Jeff Hart Sports Reporter
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

GAINESVILLE — Once again, the Gainesville boys proved that records mean little when the Lanierland Tournament comes around.

The Red Elephants, who had lost eight straight games leading up to the 62nd version of the state’s oldest Christmas tournament, put on a defensive show Tuesday night in a 60-36 win over Flowery Branch to close out the first day’s action at the Lakeview Academy gym.

Gainesville (3-9) never trailed and the game was never tied in a matchup that intrigued many around the county, especially with the Falcons (8-5) off to their best starts in nearly four years. The Red Elephants forced more than two dozen turnovers and held Branch to 13 points or less in all four quarters.

“We’re going to have to hang our hats on defense right now,” Gainesville coach Chuck Graham said. “We have simplified things and our guys really rose to the challenge against a really good Flowery Branch team. I was pleased with that effort.”

But a bigger positive may have been the return of injured junior Dre Raven, who had missed the Red Elephants last eight games -- all losses. 

“Dre is a tremendous athlete. He didn’t look 100 percent but he also hasn’t played in a while,” Graham said. “It was good to get him out there. We’ll have to see how he looks (Wednesday) and if he can go on back-to-back days.”

Gainesville next will take on Lakeview Academy in the semifinals on Wednesday at the Gainesville gym. Branch will play Chestatee in the consolation bracket on Wednesday.

The defenses were tough to crack in the first half for both teams. Neither team scored until Gainesville’s Charlie Reisman scored on a driving layup almost two minutes in. Branch didn’t get on the board until Jack Burney’s basket more nearly a minute later to cut the lead to 4-2.

The Falcons closed to 5-4 on a stick back basket from Fuan Honors two minutes later. The Red Elephants closed out the first quarter with a 3-pointer from Ellis Pitts and a jumper from TJ Ramsey for a 10-4 lead.

Gainesville extended its lead to 12-4 moments into the second quarter on a Reisman layup and later took a 17-8 lead on a basket midway through the period. Branch did not go away, though.

Jackson Owens hit a long 3-pointer and Jeremiah Ware had a steal and layup to get the Falcons within 17-14 with 1:39 left in the half. But Gainesville went on a 6-0 run in under a minute for a 23-14 lead and got a steal looking to push it to double digits. But Ownes picked off a Gainesville pass and hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to get the Falcons within 23-17 at halftime.

The third quarter was the difference as Gainesville exploded for a 23-point quarter, including a 20-3 run for a 43-20 lead to blow the game open. Despite the big offensive output, Graham said there is plenty of work to do.

“Our offense is definitely a work-in-progress,” he said. “We have a lot of guys that are still learning how to play together.”

Pitts led the third-quarter barrage with 11 of his game-high 25 points. Reisman had 11 points and Raven finished with 5 points in his first action in nearly a month.

Ware had 11 points to pace the Falcons. Honors and Owens each had 7 points for Branch.


CHEROKEE BLUFF 79,
WEST HALL 49

The Cherokee Bluff boys came into the 2021 Lanierland Tournament looking for its third consecutive opening-round win.

The Bears got their wish using a 25-7 third quarter to blow open a close game en route to a big win over in the first round at the Lakeview Academy gym.

Bluff moves on to play East Hall in Wednesday’s semifinals at 4:30 p.m. at Gainesville High School. The Spartans will play North Hall at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday in the consolation bracket.

First-year Bears coach Josh Travis, like several before him on the day, said his young squad played its “best game in a while.”

“We’re young. We have four freshmen that play significant minutes. Every game is going to be a chance to learn for us,” Travis said.

One of those freshmen, Boston Kersh, poured in a career-high 17 points to pace Cherokee Bluff. Another freshman, Tyler Underwood, finished with 10 points while junior Carlos Marlowe had 12 points for the Bears.

“Boston is a lot like all of our freshmen -- he just needs some experience in environments like this,” Travis said. “Our challenge now will be to learn how to handle success.”

The first half was nip-and-tuck. West Hall took a quick 2-0 lead on an Andrew Malin basket just 15 seconds in before Bluff responded with a 7-0 run capped by a Marlowe basket.

The Spartans answered that with a 10-0 run that started with an Owen Jenkins 3-pointer and capped by a Stephen Clark trey for a 12-7 lead. But the Bears followed with a 13-5 run into the second quarter for a 25-17 lead they would not relinquish.

West Hall pulled to within 29-25 on another Jenkins 3-pointer with 4:46 left in the half. They would get no closer as Bluff took a 36-28 lead into halftime.

Cherokee Bluff denied the Spartans any chance of a comeback in the third quarter. Carlos Marlow capped a quick 8-2 spurt to open the second half and Tyler Underwood’s 3-pointer late extended it to an 18-4 run for a 55-34 lead.

Jordan Justice hit a 3-pointer to open the fourth quarter for a 65-37 lead and the Bear led by as many as 35 late in the game.

Sophomore Justyce Sadler had 13 points for Bluff. Jhace Justice chipped in with 8 for the Bears.

Jenkins finished with 21 points to lead West Hall. Malin had 10 for the Spartans.


EAST HALL 64,
NORTH HALL 50

For the first time since 2018, the East Hall boys advanced to the semifinals of the Lanierland Tournament.

The Vikings used a 24-2 second-quarter run en route to a 64-50 win over North Hall on Tuesday at the Lakeview Academy gym.

For second-year East Hall coach Tommy Yancey, it came with a sigh of relief as well.

“I think we felt a little pressure coming into this one,” Yancey said. “Winning in the first round has been a goal of ours and we had a tough opener. But we stepped up the defensive pressure in the second quarter and that was the difference.”

North Hall (9-3) jumped out to a quick 9-4 lead on a Luke Sanders 3-pointer and eventually took a 15-11 lead into the second quarter. The Vikings (11-2) took control from there.

A Clete Cooper three-point play gave East Hall its first lead of the game at 16-15. C.J. Agborsangaya followed with five straight points, Levi Holtclaw drained a long -3-pointer, and the huge run was capped by two Christian Torres free throws and a stick-back basket by Torres for a 35-17 advantage with just over a minute left in the first half.

The Trojans climbed back into the game early in the third quarter when Matthew Ray hit a 3-pointer to get North Hall within 38-26. But a 10-2 Vikings run to close out the period pushed the lead back to 48-28.

North Hall got within 54-44 with 2:45 left in the game on a Robert Terry basket but that’s as close as the Trojans would get.

“We went to our press in the second quarter and that seemed to loosen the guys up,” Yancey said. “I thought we did a real good job after the first quarter of just finding the open man and taking good shots.”

The only blemish for the Vikings was Holtzclaw going down late in the game with an ankle injury. He will be a game-time decision.

“Hopefully it won't be too bad (on Wednesday) but our chances overall may depend on his ankle,” Yancey said. “He does a lot of things for us.”

Torres poured in 21 points, nearly half coming off offensive rebounds, to pace East Hall. Holtzclaw knocked down three 3-pointers for part of his 15 points before leaving in the fourth quarter. Agborsangaya added14 points and Cooper had 9 for the Vikings.

Terry finished with 18 points to lead North Hall. Ray had 9 points and Andrew Bales 8 points for the Trojans.

East Hall moves on to the semifinals to take on the West Hall-Cherokee Bluff winner at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday at Gainesville.

North Hall will play the West Hall-Cherokee Bluff loser at 10:30 a.m. in the consolation bracket.


LAKEVIEW ACADEMY 64,
CHESTATEE 63

Senior Harrison Cooper hit a driving layup with 13.5 seconds left to lift Lakeview Academy to a thrilling 64-63 come-from-behind win over Chestatee on Tuesday in the opening boys game of the 62nd Lanierland Tournament at Lakeview Academy.

Lakeview moves on to Wednesday’s semifinals and will take on the Gainesville-Flowery Branch winner at 7:30 p.m. Chestatee will play the Gainesville-Flowery Branch loser in the consolation bracket at 1:30 p.m. Both games will be held at Gainesville High School.

Cooper’s basket capped a wild fourth quarter that saw eight lead changes. The Lions (5-6) survived a missed 3-pointer by the War Eagles’ Peyton Phillips at the buzzer.

The key for Lakeview, however, was on the defensive end in the second half. The Lions were torched for 30 points by Chestatee (5-6) in the second quarter alone and fell behind 51-38 early in the third quarter.

But three steals and five more War Eagles turnovers over the next 6 minutes pulled Lakeview within 55-53 heading into the fourth quarter.

“We were not good (defensively) in the second quarter,” Lakeview coach Tyler Sanders said. “We talked at half about buying in on that end and the kids did a great job. That was probably our best team game all season.”

Lakeview opened strong, running out to a 9-2 lead in the opening three-plus minutes. Chestatee, however, got its offense going climbing within 16-13 to end the first quarter and then exploded in the second quarter behind Jackson Vandiver and Colton Wilbanks, who combined for 18 points, to take a 43-32 lead into halftime.

Early in the third quarter, Wilbanks gave the War Eagles a 51-38 lead. But Cooper capped a huge 20-6 run early in the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer to give the Lions their first lead at 58-57 since the first quarter.

The teams exchanged the lead eight times over the final 7 minutes with neither team leading by more than a point.

Ryan Black had 19 points to lead Lakeview. Cooper finished with 11 points, all in the second half, and Jack Collins added 10 for the Lions.

Wilbanks had 20 points and Vandiver 18 to pace Chestatee. Cade Williams had 10 for the War Eagles.


LANIERLAND TOURNAMENT, Dec. 28
(Boys 1st round; seeds in parenthesis)

Lakeview Academy 64, Chestatee 63
East Hall 64, North Hall 50
Cherokee Bluff 79, West Hall 49.
Gainesville 60, Flowery Branch 36


LANIERLAND TOURNAMENT, Dec. 29
(at Gainesville High School)
(Boys bracket)

North Hall vs. West Hall (consolation), 10:30 a.m.
Chestatee vs. Flowery Branch (consolation), 1:30 p.m.
East Hall vs. Cherokee Bluff (semifinals), 4:30 p.m.
Lakeview Academy vs. Gainesville (semifinals), 7:30 p.m.

© Copyright 2022 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Lanierland boys: Lakeview wins thriller over Chestatee
Senior Harrison Cooper hit a driving layup with 13.5 seconds left to lift Lakeview Academy to a thrilling 64-63 come-from-behind win over Chestatee on Tuesday in the opening boys game of the 62nd Lanierland Tournament at Lakeview Academy...
12:25PM ( 5 minutes ago )
Lanierland girls: North Hall rallies past Bluff to open 62nd annual event
The North Hall girls overcame an early 9-0 deficit to rally for a 42-37 win over Cherokee Bluff on Tuesday in the opening game of the 62nd Lanierland Tournament at Lakeview Academy...
11:20AM ( 1 hour ago )
62nd Lanierland Basketball Tournament begins today at 9 a.m.
The 62nd Lanierland Basketball Tournament will tip-off this morning at Lakeview Academy.
7:03AM ( 5 hours ago )
Sports
Basketball: 62nd Lanierland Tournament begins Tuesday
The 62nd Lanierland Basketball Tournament is set to tip-off Tuesday morning at Lakeview Academy.
7:02AM ( 1 day ago )
Fallbys: Celebrating area program's athletic accomplishments
AccessWDUN's Bo Wilson and Chad Pittman take a look back at the area's athletic accomplishments.
10:08AM ( 5 days ago )
Boys basketball: North Hall, Rabun take wins
North Hall used a 20-6 run to open the game and held on for a 58-50 win over Union County on Tuesday on the road...
10:20PM ( 6 days ago )
High School Sports
Lanierland girls: North Hall rallies past Bluff to open 62nd annual event
The North Hall girls overcame an early 9-0 deficit to rally for a 42-37 win over Cherokee Bluff on Tuesday in the opening game of the 62nd Lanierland Tournament at Lakeview Academy...
11:20AM ( 1 hour ago )
Basketball: Kelly King Classic, Battle of the States also get under way Tuesday
The annual Lanierland Tournament isn’t the only showcase basketball event in Northeast Georgia this week. Two other major holiday tournaments will be staged beginning on Tuesday. And both will feature plenty of talent as well...
12:24PM ( 1 day ago )
Boys basketball: North Hall, Rabun take wins
North Hall used a 20-6 run to open the game and held on for a 58-50 win over Union County on Tuesday on the road...
By AccessWDUN Staff
10:20PM ( 6 days ago )
Girls basketball: East Hall routs Apalachee at home; Chestatee wins again; Lakeview falls
East Hall tuned up for Lanierland with a 55-21 win over Apalachee on Tuesday at Valhalla...
By AccessWDUN Staff
6:58PM ( 6 days ago )
Basketball: Busy holiday schedule continues for area teams
Holiday tournaments and non-region contests will continue to take center stage most of the state's basketball teams over the next two weeks...
9:45AM ( 1 week ago )