GAINESVILLE, Ga. (2021) — 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 at North Hall. 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 afterward. “I just focused, and it went in. It’s the greatest feeling in the world right now.”
(CLICK ABOVE TO VIEW ALL OF THE 2021 LANIERLAND HIGHLIGHTS)
(CLICK HERE TO FOR A PREVIEW OF THE OPENING ROUND OF THE 63RD LANIERLAND TOURNAMENT)
Meanwhile, on the girls' side of the tournament, North Hall held off a young Lakeview team to win their 15th Lanierland title.
“Wow. Just a tremendous game and atmosphere,” House said about the overflow crowd at the North Hall gym last year. “The crowd was great. That was a great game between two teams I’m sure no one thought would be here. Both teams just played so hard.”
In the end, Tournament MVP Kristina Peach was the difference. The junior guard hit two huge 3-pointers as part of her 21 points in a 20-second span to give the Lady Trojans just enough cushion to capture their second title in three years.
The 63rd edition of the state's oldest holiday tournament is set and sure to be one of the better overall tournaments in recent years. The Flowery Branch and Cherokee Bluff girls open the tournament on Wednesday at Cherokee Bluff. Tip-off is set for 9 a.m. You can hear every game live on 94.5 FM and AM 1240 The Lake, as well as streaming live at accesswdun.com.
For real-time updates, follow our Twitter page @WDUNSports.