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Flowery Branch girls basketball team rolls to home victory over Chestatee behind dominant defensive effort
Caroline Wysocki and Ashley Woodroffe both scored in double-digits in the win
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Flowery Branch's Ashley Woodroffe lays the ball up with Chestatee's Alex Edmonds close behind at Flowery Branch High School on Friday, Dec. 7, 2018. - photo by Austin Steele

The Flowery Branch girls basketball team put in a complete effort Friday night against Chestatee, getting double-digit points from Caroline Wysocki and Ashley Woodroffe while holding the Lady War Eagles to eight or fewer points in all four quarters of a dominant 63-26 win at home. 

“I thought our guards did a great job just pressing them defensively and rotating on the ball,” Wysocki said. “Offensively, we attacked, and we stopped their main shooters. I thought that really helped us.”

Wysocki led all scorers with 15 points and added six assists, while Woodroffe put in 13 and dished out a pair of assists of her own. Ashlee Locke scored eight and blocked four shots for Flowery Branch (4-1, 2-0 Region 7-4A). Chestatee (5-5, 1-1) was led by guard Emma Easterwood, who scored 11 for the Lady War Eagles.

Despite the lopsided final score, this region contest began as a back-and-forth affair. Falcons center Locke got things started with a quick bucket in the post, followed by a steal on the defensive end that led to a Wysocki basket to give Flowery Branch an early lead. 

But a pair of Easterwood makes and scrappy defense from Chestatee kept things close early on. 

“I thought the first quarter we were a little bit sluggish,” Flowery Branch coach Courtney Newton-Gonzalez said. “It took a little while for our offense to get going.”

The Falcons changed gears in the second frame. 

After exchanging made shots with the War Eagles for the opening few minutes, Locke connected on a couple of short range baskets in the post, getting assists from Ashley Scott and then Wysocki. Then, Locke blocked a pair of shots in the same possession on the other end of the court that led to a Morgan Aguilar layup, which pushed Flowery Branch’s lead to 13. 

“She’s huge for us,” Newton-Gonzalez said of Locke. “She played big minutes for us as a freshman, so now (in) her second year, just being consistent and having to put big numbers up for us has been big.”

Wysocki got a pass out to Shaina Kriews in the corner, who drilled a 3 before the second-quarter buzzer, giving the Lady Falcons a 31-13 advantage at the break. And Flowery Branch didn’t slow down from there. 

Flowery Branch played their best defensive quarter of the night in the third frame, holding the War Eagles to just five points in the eight-minute period, and Wysocki continued to stay in rhythm. After grabbing a steal early in the quarter, she crossed over a couple Chestatee defenders in transition before dishing to Woodroffe, who sunk the left-handed layup while drawing a foul. 

“I’ve been playing with Ashley (Woodroffe) since eighth grade,” Wysocki said. “We know each other and how we play. We’re just there for whenever the ball comes.”

Flowery Branch kept things rolling through the rest of the game, starting off the fourth quarter on a 15-3 run and quickly putting the game out of reach. Easterwood’s team-leading four fourth-quarter points were all Chestatee could manage as the Lady Falcons pulled away.

“I was really proud of our defense,” Newton said. “Really proud of our on-ball defense and how we played and proud of how our big kids played as well in the paint.”

CHESTATEE BOYS 72, FLOWERY BRANCH 51: Chestatee’s Cameron Gwyn hit 10 3-pointers, a school record according to Chestatee coach Kevin Strickland, on a historic shooting night for the War Eagles, who made 15 total 3s in the win. 

“It’s a beautiful thing,” Strickland said of his team’s shooting performance. “This has been a fun group to coach. They’ve put in the work to be able to shoot it that well, and they have.”

Gwyn led all scorers with 34 points, while Jonah Bull contributed six points with 12 assists for Chestatee (7-2, 1-1). Flowery Branch (0-5, 0-1) was paced by Mario Brown and Johnathan Gunter, who scored 14 apiece in the loss. 

The teams played close in the first quarter before the War Eagles opened things up offensively in the second frame. Chestatee poured in four 3s over the final four minutes of the period to take a 15-point lead at halftime. 

The War Eagles kept their foot on the gas, knocking down five more 3s in the third quarter and another four in the fourth. With nearly everything falling for the visiting team, Flowery Branch struggled to keep up. 

“I thought that’s what we were capable of against this team,” Strickland said. “We were going to get a lot of open looks, and we were able to hit them. I’m proud of them, because so far this season we’ve done a lot of good things, we’ve done what we’ve supposed to. And that’s what’s gotten us the record we have and I’m just really proud of their effort.”

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