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Area teams winning at right time
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Parents tell their history in the hopes that stories will be passed down.

They get tickled at things they used to do or watched their friends do or heard their friends say, and as a result those listening are more apt to repeat the stories. Good history is worth repeating.

That said, on Saturday my mother was talking about her days on the basketball court, and daddy was lovingly interjecting phrases like, “She was good,” while mother refutably stated, “He didn’t like that I played.”

Mother’s style of roundball was 3-on-3.

Each team had three defensive players and three offensive players and one rover.
The rover played both offense and defense and was the only participant that crossed the half-court line or, actually, that had to run at all.

Mother was a rover and, “hated it.”

While reflecting back on her days of ballin’ she laughingly allowed as to how free throws were shot underhanded, or granny-style, and scores maxed out at 10-4, or something in the neighborhood.

Are images flashing of Ollie McFarlane hitting the winning free throws for Hickory? Picket fences?  Short shorts and Converse All-Stars?

The last week of prep basketball’s regular season is upon us and as much as the aforementioned was said to illustrate how the game has changed over the years, this last week leading up to the various region tournaments will be a reminder of how a few area teams have changed since their first games in November.

It has been said in recent days that a pair of magical, yet pastel, pants are the source of winning ways.
The Lakeview boys are undefeated in subregion play because of the mind in the head of the man whose legs are covered by those pants and it goes without saying that that piece of wisdom should go without saying.

When the season began the Lions would lose two and win two, lose two and win two and lost back-to-back games to Region 8-A foes.

The noteworthy change isn’t in their string, prior to losing Saturday night to Lumpkin County, of nine straight wins.

It’s in the way the Lions are beating people.

Prior to Jan. 8, the night of the first subregion game, Lakeview was averaging 62.6 points per game, giving up 66 points per game and having a mediocre season.

Beginning Jan. 8 and continuing through their loss in Dahlonega on Saturday night, Lakeview is averaging 79.8 points per game while allowing a downright miserly 47 points per contest.

The turnaround has been so positive that it wouldn’t be a surprise if the entire team came out of the lockeroom Tuesday when they face Athens Christian at home in pastel orange shorts.

Well, maybe a little surprising, but you get the meaning nonetheless.

What looked to be a promising season, or at least one in which they would win more than seven games, turned sour for the Flowery Branch Lady Falcons and the course that got the team where they are today is undeterminable.

They beat East Hall for goodness sake and, as will be addressed in a hot minute, that is no easy task.
A team that began the season 4-0 struggled through Lanierland and has, frankly, struggled sense.
The Lady Falcons have lost two to West Hall by a combined 10 points, lost to Johnson in overtime, lost to Pickens on two free throws after the final buzzer sounded.

A couple of 3-pointers here, a foul-less stop there and the Lady Falcons go from second to the bottom to second to the top, and instead of limping into the final week of the regular season they are prancing with a breath or two left to spare.

To those looking at records alone, these next teams that have changed since November will seem, well, misplaced.

However, if one had travelled to a game in November or early December and then travelled to a game last week, the difference between the then and now is immeasurable.

The Lady Vikings and Vikings of Valhalla are two completely different teams than they were at the start of the season, or even during Lanierland.

Granted, the Lady Vikings lost to White County in the not-too-distant past, but they are currently beating opponents by an average of 21 points.

They have been successful in enacting revenge on every team that exploited their weakened state early in the season.

They lost to Flowery Branch by one on Dec. 30, beat the Lady Falcons by 24 two weeks later. Lost to Gainesville early on, beat them Jan. 12. The same can be said for Gilmer and North Hall. And this here is the honest truth: The entire year the Lady Vikings have had the talent, they just needed their swagger back and look out Region 7-AAA, they found it.

At first thought, the early struggles of the Vikings could have been attributed to the absence of senior center Ken Wise.

When he returned and they still struggled for a bit, cause became irrelevant because a cure had to be found.

Let’s get something straight, East Hall has won 16 games this season and only lost five, but the good people of Lula and the surrounding areas expect more and, to tell the truth, so do the rest of us.
East Hall isn’t supposed to just win, the Vikings are supposed to make teams not want to get off the bus, and that wasn’t the case until recently.

The Vikings have found their defense, they have found their shooting, they have two go-to guys in Wise and Dedric Ware. They have leadership and, like their female counterparts, swagger has re-emerged.
Oh, and in no way, shape, form or fashion — as will be discussed next week — is it thought that either will win the region tournament.

How’s that for a change?

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