Gainesville’s boys basketball team needed some time to level off from the emotional high of Senior Night. Luckily, solid defense and a hot hand by Sam Carpenter helped overcome a brutal start that saw the Red Elephants held scoreless for the first seven minutes of the game.
Carpenter scored Gainesville’s first five points in the final minute of the first quarter, and Gainesville bounced back to defeat Loganville 69-61 on Tuesday at home. It was the third straight win for the Red Elephants (14-9, 7-7 Region 8-AAAAA).
Carpenter added 11 more points in the third quarter to finish with 16, tying Luke Maddox for the team high.
“I’ve been struggling the last couple games, not hitting shots when I was open, so I just concentrated more, practiced harder and knocked down shots I needed to knock down,” Carpenter said.
Carpenter knocked down four 3-pointers in the game. The first came with exactly one minute to play in the opening period, with Loganville (12-11, 6-8) leading 6-0.
Up until that point, the Red Elephants had looked completely out of sync shooting and passing the ball.
“We came out on senior night and our whole team, everybody, was just trying to do too much,” Gainesville coach Benjie Wood said.
“We’ve got the playing hard part down; we’ve just got to learn to player smarter. That was a result of a lot of that.”
The second quarter belonged to Maddox, who poured in 12 points in the period.
Maddox’s scoring spree pushed the Red Elephants ahead 22-17 midway through the period, but the two teams went into the half tied 27-27.
Carpenter took over again in the third quarter, combining with J.D. Sosebee to score 19 of Gainesville’s 21 points in the period.
“He should have had more tonight,” Wood said of Carpenter.
“We should have gotten him the ball more tonight, to be honest. He had his shot on tonight and he was able to get some open looks.”
Gainesville closed the third quarter ahead 48-42, but had that lead turned into a one-point deficit in little more than a minute of fourth-quarter play.
The Red Elephants regained the lead, 50-49, and stretched it to five points when Mesiah Dorsey converted a four-point play at the foul line after being fouled on a successful 3-pointer.
Jay Gaudlock converted a three-point play at the foul line after Loganville cut the lead to 60-58, and the Red Elephants sealed the win at the foul line.
Gaudlock and Sosebee finished with 11 points apiece. Stevon Graves led the Red Devils with 12 points, while teammate Jerry Vincent had 11 points.
Wood was, for the most part, pleased with his team’s defensive effort on a night when the offense took a while to begin clicking.
“We want to pride ourselves on playing hard and playing good defense, and we did that for the most part tonight,” he said.
Gainesville is back in action tonight, hosting Cedar Shoals at 7:30 p.m. in the final home game of the regular season. The Red Elephants close the regular season on Friday at Salem.
LOGANVILLE GIRLS 40, GAINESVILLE 35: For a while it looked like the Lady Red Elephants might play good enough defense after halftime to overcome a dismal first half. Instead, Loganville (15-7, 8-6 Region 8-AAAAA) found enough points in the fourth quarter to fend off Gainesville’s comeback bid.
Gainesville (17-5, 11-3) fell behind 24-11 going into halftime and never found a way to tie things up despite closing within a basket of Loganville on multiple occasions in the second half.
The Lady Red Elephants only trailed by three points, 36-33, with 2:35 remaining in the game, but could not get any closer.
Shekinah Bimpa led the Lady Red Devils with 10 points. Taylor Hawks and Sophia Jackson led Gainesville with six points apiece.