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High school basketball: Gainesville girls earn clutch win against Lanier
Gainesville's Julia Payne (12) goes up for a shot against Lanier on Feb. 3, 2023 in Gainesville. Photo by Bill Murphy

Gainesville’s girls are on a mission to improve its stock for the upcoming Region 8-6A tournament. 

With only two games remaining in the regular season, Friday’s 43-39 win against Lanier certainly accomplished that for the Lady Red Elephants (19-3, 7-3).

Keidra Young put up a game-high 20 points for Gainesville as it gained separation from Lanier for the No. 3 spot in the seven-team league. 

“This win was very, very important,” Gainesville coach Vanessa White said. “We’re trying to solidify the No. 3 seed or get up to No. 2 in the region. Tonight, it wasn’t pretty, but we did what we needed to do to win.”

Following a disappointing loss to North Forsyth on Tuesday, Young made sure the Lady Red Elephants wouldn’t experience the same fate again. 

Gainesville’s senior leader came up with several clutch baskets as it held on after leading by as much as 14 in the third quarter. 

Young followed her steal with a basket with 5:10 remaining in the third period, to give the Lady Red Elephants a 31-17 edge. 

She also provided sound production on defense as the game tightened to a four-point game on two occasions late in the fourth period. 

“Keidra came out and was leading us,” White said. “She was our leader on the offensive end and did a great job on defense.”

With a 10-point lead early in the fourth quarter, Young provided another clutch basket. 

However, that’s when the Lady Longhorns (14-9, 6-4) found a little bit of a late surge. 

After chipping away at Gainesville’s lead, Lanier’s Asja Howell knocked down a 3-pointer to get to within 41-37. 

However, the Lady Red Elephants answered with a basket by Keke Jones, who finished with nine points. 

Before the final buzzer, Lanier would get one more basket by Howell with 34 seconds left to play. 

Up next, Gainesville visits Jackson County at 6 p.m. Tuesday. 

LANIER BOYS 77, GAINESVILLE 51: Cade Simmons had a team-high 13 points for the Red Elephants (12-10, 5-5) on Friday, while Charlie Reisman chipped in 12 points. 

For Lanier, it was a balanced attack with Tahai Morgan scoring 19 points, Osmar Garcia finished with 18 and Jayce Nathaniel added 15. 

With the win, the third-ranked Longhorns (19-4, 10-0) have locked up the No. 1 seed to the Region 8-6A tournament. 

Up next, Lanier visits Habersham Central at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in Mount Airy. 

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