The relief expressed around the Gainesville High boys basketball team can be summed up in one word: needed.
Gainesville picked up its first region win of the new year over North Forsyth, 65-52, on Tuesday in Gainesville.
Red Elephants’ coach Chuck Graham was pleased to get on the win column in the region.
“This was a much-needed win,” he said. “They feel great. This is our first region win and to get it at home is nice to get it out of the way.”
Gainesville (5-11, 1-4 Region 6-7A) jumped ahead of North Forsyth early.
The Red Elephants set the tone making shot after shot.
As shots fell, for Gainesville, the confidence built.
Everyone on the floor for Gainesville was getting that Red Elephant swag back.
Helping boost Gainesville’s confidence on the offensive end was Chamarion Bush. The senior guard knocked down three 3-pointers helping the Red Elephants jump out to a lead it never relinquished.
Gainesville continued to build momentum and put together a solid first-half of basketball.
“It was a combination of plays with everyone making shots is contagious,” Graham said. “It’s amazing, when you play hard what happens, when you see the ball go in.”
North Forsyth (8-9, 2-3) was not going to go away, which Graham knew. He knew the Raiders had a run in them.
The run came in the third quarter. North Forsyth cut into the Red Elephants lead midway through the third with the play of Cole Kirouac and Asian Kudlas.
Kiorouac, a sophomore, dominated the interior with 18 points and a number of blocks, which made it hard for Gainesville to get any activity inside.
Kudlas, a senior, helped stifle the Red Elephants on the perimeter with defensive pressure and hard drives to the rim.
He, too, finished with 18 points.
However, it was not enough to overcome the Red Elephants’ lead.
Gainesville just worked at keeping the pressure on and speeding up the Raiders.
It sealed the game, hitting 10-of-12 free throws in the final quarter.
Bush finished the game with a team-high 16 points.
Charlie Reisman added 12 points for the Red Elephants, while Dre Raven chipped in with 11 points.
Julius Jackson contributed with 10 points for Gainesville.
Graham will look to clean up some things before the Red Elephants step on the floor again Friday.
“We’re trying to learn how to win,” he said. “It is important to play well and to get on growing.”
Up next, Gainesville visits Lambert on Friday in Cumming.
NORTH FORSYTH GIRLS 76, GAINESVILLE 53: The Lady Raiders used a combination of size and strength for a road region win.
Leading the way for North Forsyth (14-3, 5-0 Region 6 7A) was senior Haelim Adle, with 17 points. Erin Whalen, a junior, added 12 points.
Gainesville (8-8, 1-4) was led by junior Keidra Young, who scored a game-high 17 points.
Keke Jones, a junior, had 11 points. Senior Amaya Topps added 10 points.
Next up, Gainesville visits Lambert on Friday.