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Wednesday July 6th, 2022 7:02PM

Lanierland boys final: Vikings edge GHS in thriller for 1st title since 2010

By Jeff Hart Sports Reporter
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GAINESVILLE — With one free throw, East Hall’s Levi Holtzclaw put 11 long years behind the Vikings at the 62nd annual Lanierland Tournament.

His free throw with :00.3 seconds left lifted East Hall to a thrilling 62-61 win over Gainesville in the 2021 finals on Thursday at Lynn Cottrell Court. It gave the Vikings their first tournament championship since 2010 -- the program’s longest title drought since the tournament began in 1960 -- and at the same time ended the Red Elephants’ five-year reign as champions.

Holtzclaw’s game-winner came just moments after Gainesville’s Dre Raven drained three consecutive free throws with 7.2 seconds remaining to tie the game. However, Holtzclaw had missed his first attempt so the pressure with a huge standing-room-only crowd roaring was intense

“I wasn’t worried,” Holtzclaw said afterwards. “I just focused and it went in. It’s the greatest feeling in the world right now.”

“Levi is tough as nails so I felt confident he would make it,” East Hall coach Tommy Yancey said about the second attempt. “Just a great Lanierland finals between two good teams -- the way it should be. It also means (East Hall) hold onto the title lead.”

The Vikings (13-2) now have captured 25 tournament titles to Gainesville’s 23. This one was one of their tougher ones for sure.

Gainesville (3-9) opened the game with a Chamarian Bush 3-pointer, forced three East Hall turnovers, and got some cold Vikings shooting to roll out to an early 7-0 lead.

But East Hall got a 3-pointer from Clete Cooper to end the nearly four minute drought and eventually caught Gainesville at 9 on a basket by Christian Torres with just 2:48 left in the first quarter.

“Gainesville really came out ready to go,” Yancey said. “Once the guys settled down we were able to get back in it.”

The Vikings’ C.J. Agborsangaya, who would be named Tournament MVP, and Bush traded 3-pointers before East Hall took a 16-15 lead at the end of the period.

East Hall increased its lead to 22-17 before Gainesville got back-to-back treys from Ellis Pitts and Charlie Reisman to reclaim the lead at 23-22. The Vikings took a 29-28 lead into the break.

The Red Elephants used their defensive pressure to start the third quarter with a 13-6 run, getting 10 points off 5 East Hall turnovers as Reisman scored 5 points in a 13 second span and Raven converted a three-point play for a 41-35 lead. But the Vikings answered back once again.

After two free throws from Qua Coley gave Gainesville a 50-47 advantage early in the fourth quarter, East Hall exploded for a 9-0 run, capped by a Holtzclaw 3-pointer with 2:31 left. But the Red Elephants responded back as well.

Octavion Demory scored all 6 of his points in just over a minute, including a long 3-pointer to pull Gainesville within 60-58 with just 14 seconds left. That set up Raven’s three free throws after being fouled attempting a 3-pointer.

Holtzclaw said his group, which had won just six games the previous two seasons coming into the 2021-22 campaign, never doubted they could pull the upset.

“We were the underdogs for sure,” he said. “But I think we all knew at halftime that this could happen. It just feels great.”

Agborsangaya and Torres both poured in 17 points to lead the Vikings. Holtzclaw finished with 16, 12 coming in the second half and 7 in the fourth quarter, for East Hall.

Resiman finished with 19 points to pace Gainesville. Raven chipped in 11, 8 coming in the second half, and Bush also knocked down 11 for the Red Elephants.


CHEROKEE BLUFF 74,
LAKEVIEW ACADEMY 45

The Bears used a 20-2 run in the third quarter to roll to a big win in the third-place game.

Bluff led just 14-8 but extended its lead to 38-27 by halftime as Carlos Marlowe and Cade Simmons combined for 18 points in the second quarter. The Bears blew it open in the third quarter as Marlowe and Simmons scored 15 of their 22 points to help build a 60-37 lead lead.

Marlowe finished with a game-high 25 points while Simmons added 18. Boston Kersh had 9 for Cherokee Bluff.

Harrison Cooper scored 18 points to lead Lakeview. Isaiah Rico had 12 points, but just one 3-pointer and 9 free throws, and Ryan Black had 8 for the Lions.


NORTH HALL 77,
CHESTATEE 60

Robert Terry poured in a career-high 28 points to lead the Trojans (11-3) to a come-from-behind win in the fifth-place game.

It was a back-and-forth affair as North Hall led 17-14 at the end of the first quarter. Chestatee (6-7) rallied to outscore the Trojans 17-12 in the second quarter for a 31-29 lead.

North Hall exploded in the second half for 48 points as Terry and Elijah Gaddy, who finished with 8 points, combined for half of the points.

Edward Doig had 11 points and Korbyn Sosebee 10 for North Hall as well.

Colton Wilbanks continued his strong play pacing Chestatee with 18 points. Hugh Pruitt had 11 and Josh Bull 9 for the War Eagles.


FLOWERY BRANCH 66,
WEST HALL 50

Flowery Branch avoided the play-in game for the 2022 tournament with a win over the Spartans in the seventh-place game on Thursday.

The Falcons (9-6) led just 17-15 after the first quarter but used a 14-7 second quarter spurt to take a 31-22 halftime lead. They increased it 50-39 heading into the fourth quarter.

Fe’uan Honors had his best game of the tournament with 19 points, 13 in the second half, to lead Branch. Trey Shaw had 12 points and Jack Burney 9 for the Falcons.

Calvin Norman paced West Hall (3-10) with 13 points, 11 coming in the second half. Owne Jenkins added 9 for the Spartans.


LANIERLAND TOURNAMENT, Dec. 30
(at North Hall High School)
(Boys bracket)

Championship game: East Hall 62, Gainesville 61
3rd place game: Cherokee Bluff 74, Lakeview Academy 45
5th place game: North Hall 77, Chestatee 60
7th place game: Flowery Branch 66, West Hall 50 

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

North Hall 65, West Hall 54 (consolation)
Chestatee 72, Flowery Branch 49 (consolation)
East Hall 68, Cherokee Bluff 58 (semifinals)
Gainesville 60, Lakeview Academy 42 (semifinals)

LANIERLAND TOURNAMENT, Dec. 28
(1st round scores)

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

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