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Boys Athlete of the Week: Gainesville's J.D. Sosebee
Red Elephant junior scored 20 points, played key role in Lanierland victory
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Honor Roll

 

Rakim Lubin, Buford: Scored 21 points and had seven rebounds against East Hall last Tuesday.

D’Marcus Simonds, Buford: Scored 18 points and had 14 rebounds against East Hall last Tuesday.

Taylor Mills, Buford: Scored 17 points against East Hall last Tuesday.

Jordan Pulliam, Chestatee: Scored 20 points against North Hall on Saturday.

Joey Scheman, Chestatee: Scored 17 points against North Hall on Saturday.

Kirk Vaughn, Commerce: Scored 15 points against Lakeview Academy last Tuesday.

Levi Whitmire, Dawson County: Scored 12 points against Pacelli on Saturday, and 20 points against Riverside Military on Friday.

Lucas Pain, Dawson County: Scored 24 points against Lumpkin County on Friday.

Devin Watson, East Hall: Scored 15 points against West Hall on Saturday.

Kyvon Davenport, East Hall: Scored 11 points and had seven blocks against West Hall on Saturday, and scored 17 points with 14 rebounds against Buford last Tuesday.

Jacquen Hopkins, East Hall: Scored 11 points against West Hall on Saturday and 11 points against Buford last Tuesday.

Cody Dewing, Flowery Branch: Scored 16 points against Johnson on Saturday.

Jay Gaudlock, Gainesville: Scored 16 points against Cedar Shoals on Friday.

James Hodges, Johnson: Scored 16 points against Flowery Branch on Saturday.

Ty Cockfield, Johnson: Scored 20 points against Flowery Branch on Saturday.

Kirk Schneider, Lakeview Academy: Scored 21 points against Gainesville on Saturday.

Tre Gober, Lakeview Academy: Scored 15 points against Commerce last Tuesday.

Johnathan Gilreath, Lumpkin County: Scored 20 points against Dawson County on Friday.

Carson Heinen, North Hall: Scored 25 points against Chestatee on Saturday and 31 points against Banks County last Tuesday.

Brock Wingo, North Hall: Scored 13 points against Chestatee on Saturday and 23 points against Banks County last Tuesday.

Avery Cagle, Riverside Military: Scored 30 points against Towns County last Tuesday.

Jake Weiner, Riverside Military: Scored 18 points against Towns County last Tuesday.

Nic Sullens, West Hall: Scored 15 points against East Hall on Saturday.

Jordan Egerton, White County: Scored 14 points against Riverside Military on Saturday and 15 points against Union County on Friday.

Spencer Adams, White County: Scored 10 points against Riverside Military on Saturday, and 12 points against Union County on Friday.

Bradley Hurst, White County: Scored 17 points against Union County on Friday.


Lanierland Tournament

Second-round games

Thursday
At Flowery Branch High
Johnson girls vs. East Hall, 4 p.m.
West Hall girls vs. Flowery Branch, 5:30 p.m.
Gainesville boys vs. Johnson, 7 p.m.
Chestatee boys vs. East Hall, 8:30 p.m.

Friday
At Lakeview Academy
North Hall boys vs. West Hall, 4 p.m.
Lakeview Academy boys vs. Flowery Branch, 5:30 p.m.
North Hall girls vs. Lakeview Academy, 7 p.m.
Chestatee girls vs. Gainesville, 8:30 p.m.

Not even two weeks ago, football season ended for J.D. Sosebee.

Three days later, Gainesville’s tackling machine turned to the basketball court. With the Lanierland Tournament approaching fast, he got to work.

It paid off. In just his third game of the season, the Red Elephants’ junior scored a team-high 20 points and was crucial down the stretch in Gainesville’s 89-80 win over Lakeview Academy in the first round of Lanierland on Saturday.

Sosebee scored seven points in the third quarter, including the go-ahead shot that put the Red Elephants (2-4) for good.

For his efforts, Sosebee in The Times’ Boys Athlete of the Week.

“It’s good to start Lanierland with a win and get some confidence,” Sosebee said. “A lot of stuff is just getting some momentum for the rest of the tournament.”

Sosebee’s big game puts third-seeded Gainesville in the tournament semifinals, where it will play 2012 tournament runner-up Johnson at 7 p.m. Thursday at Flowery Branch High for a spot in the championship game.

The Red Elephants are still in contention for their first title since 2011. But the cutthroat bracket, which features all of Hall County’s public schools and Lakeview Academy, isn’t overly forgiving. One loss and it’s out of contention for the title.

That makes Thursday’s game a must-win for Gainesville, or it won’t be able to improve on last year’s third-place finish.

“Our coaches have gotten us a good game plan, we just have to go out there and execute and just play hard,” Sosebee said. “Play good defense, and just spread the ball around on offense. Just play hard as a team.”

Playing with that kind of intensity just comes natural for Sosebee.

For many fans of Gainesville athletics, the name J.D. Sosebee brings to mind an aggressive, hard-hitting middle linebacker for the Red Elephants football team.

He was a leader of their defense, recording a team-high 179 tackles (12.8 per game) during Gainesville’s 12-2 run that included a trip to the Class AAAAA state semifinals. He was named to Region 8-AAAAA’s All-Region first team.

But for every workout he attended during the summer, there was a basketball practice that followed directly after. During that time, he was learning a new system under first-year Red Elephants coach Benjie Wood.

“That was mostly every day, back to back,” Sosebee said. “I was pretty tired.”

Now back on the court, Sosebee carries over the same athletic abilities from the football field. At 5-foot-11 and 225 pounds, he can provide a sense of physicality that many basketball players can’t match.

“He brought a real physical presence (against Lakeview),” Wood said. “He’s just super strong.”

Beyond Lanierland, Sosebee will likely continue to play a crucial role in Gainesville’s hunt for its second straight Region 8-AAAAA title.

The Red Elephants won it last year, then enjoyed a stellar postseason run that carried them to Macon for the Class AAAAA state finals. Led by current University of North Georgia freshman Shaquan Cantrell and Clemson football signee Deshaun Watson, they turned a 1-6 start to the 2012-2013 season into a successful 23-10 campaign.

Should 2013-2014 unfold in similar fashion, Sosebee knows his role.

“I just see myself as a physical person,” he said. “Just going hard at all times and always giving 110 percent. That’s for any sport.”

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