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War Eagles' late spurt pushes them past Gainesville

POSTED: December 3, 2008 5:00 a.m.

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After hearing about Chestatee assistant basketball coach Shumbe Hunter’s mother dying recently, the War Eagles made a tribute for their coach — a 66-62 win against Class AAA’s ninth-ranked Gainesville on Tuesday.

Trailing for the entire game, Chestatee (2-1) rallied from a seven-point deficit at the beginning of the fourth quarter with a 12-7 run in the final minutes of the game to come from behind and defeat the Red Elephants (0-1) for the third straight time.

“It’s been such an emotional two days for our kids and they wanted to play so well for him (Hunter),” Chestatee head coach Russ Triaga said. “We got to settle in and play some offense, and we were able to do that in the second half.”

The War Eagles’ strong second half was led by senior Brandon Jovaag, who scored eight of his 17 points in the fourth quarter. He also four rebounds, two assists and two steals in the win.

He was joined in effort by Branden Smith (10 points, five rebounds) and Lamar Brooks (eight points, three rebounds and four assists), and an aggressive defense that had 19 rebounds on the night.

“I feel like we’re a better team now then we were last week,” Triaga said. “And that’s because we’re playing teams that our good. We’ve played three really good teams in our first three games and we’re fortunate to have two wins.”

But the game wasn’t always on Chestatee’s side. In fact, it wasn’t on its side for any of the night until the fourth-quarter turnaround, as Gainesville had held a lead for the entire game before losing it at the end.

“We missed so many defensive assignments in the first half it was pathetic,” Triaga said. “We shoot the ball well, but we don’t shoot the ball well when it’s one pass, then a shot.”

With the score 47-40 in favor of Gainesville to begin the fourth quarter, the War Eagles began pulling apart the Red Elephants defense with four quick points to move Chestatee within one point with six minutes left to play.

Gainesville regained the lead and held it for the next three minutes with four straight field goals from George Manomano, and looked to wrap up the game with a four-point lead with under two minutes left to play.

But the War Eagles inched closer every minute, first by Jackson Chandler’s three-pointer, then a drive to the net by Smith that gave Chestatee its first lead of the game with one minute left.

Keeping possession on their side for the remaining minute, the War Eagles held Gainesville to only two points in the closing minutes, as compared to seven Chestatee points.

“We made free throws when we had to make them,” Triaga said. “But if you make them all game, then the ones in the fourth quarter don’t usually mean as much.”

Manomano led Gainesville with 14 points, three assists and three steals. Bershad Williams had nine points and three rebounds and D.J. McDuffie added three rebounds and four assists for the Red Elephants.

Chestatee looks to win two in a row when it plays host to Landmark Christian at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. Gainesville visits Franklin County at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Gainesville girls 39, Chestatee 36

The Gainesville girls basketball erased a three-point deficit in the fourth quarter to defeat Chestatee on Tuesday.

Taylor Ricketts hit a 3-pointer with 50 seconds left to play to give the Red Elephants (1-0) a one-point lead. Mikalyn DeFoor added two points late to lock up the win for Gainesville.

Jaymee Carnes led the Red Elephants with 12 points and six rebounds. Madison Strickland added eight points, five rebounds and four assists.

Peyton Robertson had 14 points and seven rebounds for Chestatee (1-1). Chelsea Wilson added seven assists and four steals for the War Eagles.

Gainesville visits Franklin County at 6 p.m. Tuesday. Chestatee visits North Oconee on Tuesday. 



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