Immediately following Saturday’s Lanierland championship, Flowery Branch girls basketball coach Courtney Newton-Gonzalez had a distinct look in her eye.
It was the kind where the third-year coach was almost misty-eyed with every mention of her four seniors.
It could probably stem from the fact that her core group of Lady Falcons made program history from inside their home gymnasium of Flowery Branch High.
Reigning Hall County champion Flowery Branch successfully pulled off its first-ever three-peat at Lanierland with a 64-44 triumph over East Hall.
Flowery Branch (8-3) is the first team to win three-straight Lanierland’s since West Hall took home four consecutive titles from 1997-2000.
“This is a great tournament and it always will be respected by us,” Newton-Gonzalez said. “This is something we circle on our calendar every year. Especially for these seniors — Lexie, Taniyah, Carly and Jenna — for them to be a part of that the last three years is something special. I’m glad we got to do it in our home gym, and it’s been a fun week.”
Three of the starting five for Flowery Branch amassed double-figures, Senior Taniyah Worth leading the way with a 20 point, seven rebound showing. The Alabama pledge even added four blocks and a slew of steals to earn the tournament MVP distinction in back-to-back seasons.
“Taniyah was great today,” Newton-Gonzalez said. “She was great from the tip to the end. She played well, she got to the rim and got shots. So she was big for us. It was fun to see her shine in an area like this.”
Junior classmate Ashley Woodroffe came in behind Worth with 16 points, followed by junior Ashley Scott with 12. In addition to her 11 points, Wysocki’s four steals fueled the first of a tenacious Lady Falcons defense that generated 14 East Hall turnovers in the contest.
Meanwhile, East Hall (7-7) hit 10 3-pointers, getting four from Lady Vikings leading scoring threat Carly Winters (16 points), but otherwise struggled to find production from the field and didn’t get many opportunities from the free-throw line.
After trading three lead changes to start the opening period, the Falcons only carried a 17-12 lead into the second. But the tournament’s top seed used a string of scoring runs to eventually enter the locker rooms with a 28-20 lead at halftime. Flowery Branch also overcame streaky shooting underneath to combat East Hall’s pursuit from beyond the arc. The Lady Falcons extended their lead to 15 right before the end of the third behind a 9-3 surge. Worth capped the run with a 3-pointer from the left wing to make it 43-28. Flowery Branch went on to lead by as much as 23 in the final period.
Taniyah Worth Flowery Branch (MVP)
Camilla Howell North Hall
Anna McKendree West Hall
Sadie Thrailkil (Lakeview Academy
Chelsea Reece Johnson
Tija Blackwell Gainesville
Lindsey Caudell Chestatee
Carly Winters East Hall
Lexie Sengkhammee Flowery Branch