While the outcomes were different, the second quarters of both the Chestatee boys and girls games were the turning points.
Despite going five of six from the 3-point line in the first quarter, the Chestatee boys (11-12, 6-5 Region 7A-AAA) held just a seven-point lead over two-win Gilmer.
In the second, the offense stayed the same, but the defense tightened and the War Eagles outscored Gilmer 28-6 en route to an 89-41 rout of the Bobcats (2-22, 1-10).
Chestatee would go on to hit 16 3-pointers in the game.
Lamar Brooks and Branden Jovaag each hit five from beyond the arc.
Jovaag led four double-digit scorers for Chestatee with a team-high 20 points. The senior shooting guard also had six steals. Lamar Brooks chipped in 17 points, Brandon Smith had 15 points and seven assists and John Aaron Jovaag had 14 points.
Like their male counterparts, the Lady War Eagles came out hitting from the 3-point line, the result was a 14-4 advantage at the end of one.
Shelby Bright and Chelsea Wilson combined to hit four 3-pointers in that quarter.
The momentum that held Gilmer scoreless in the final four minutes of the quarter and helped Chestatee (14-9, 8-3 Region 7A-AAA) to its 10-point lead, shifted in the second.
Gilmer (21-3, 11-0) outscored the Lady War Eagles 21-12 to pull within one point at 26-25 en route to a 51-46 win.
With the win, the fifth-ranked Lady Bobcats stretched their winning streak to 13 games, including two over Chesatee by a combined 12 points, and remain unbeaten in subregion play.
“We know we can beat them,” Chestatee coach Web Daniel said. “We feel like in the region tournament we can beat them.
“We played with them, they just outlasted us.”
Shelby Bright led three Chestatee players in double figures with 14 points. Peyton Robertson added 13 points, eight rebounds and five blocks and Chelsea Wilson had 11 points.
A 14-3 run to start the third quarter, paired with an inpenetrable 1-2-2 full-court defense, gave Gilmer a 34-29 lead.
“They’re a better team defensively than us,” Daniel said. “They sped us up and as a result we had a lot of turnovers and they got back in it.”
Chestatee responded, however, with a 7-2 run of its own capped by a Wilson 3-pointer to tie the game at 36.
As much as the second quarter was a momentum changer, so was the end of the third quarter when Gilmer’s Sarah Jones was fouled with 0.1 seconds remaining while shooting a 3-pointer.
Jones hit all three of the ensuing free throws to give her team the lead going into the final quarter.
With both teams in the bonus at the start of the fourth, free throws would be the key to winning.
Robertson hit three straight to start the fourth and tie the game at 39.
Her layup over two defenders with just under four minutes remaining gave Chestatee a one-point lead at 41-40. It would be the last time the Lady War Eagles would lead the game and the final score for
Robertson who committed her fifth foul on Chestatee’s first possession after regaining the lead.
“We don’t know how important she would have been down the stretch,” Daniel said. “She wasn’t there.
“It’s just youth, but she has to learn how to stay out of foul trouble.”
Gilmer’s Jones, who was the recipeint of Robertson’s fifth foul, hit 2-of-2 from the line to start a three-minute, game-ending run in which Gilmer didn’t hit a field goal but was 11 of 14 from the free throw line to get the win.
Gilmer was led by Kylie Smith with 20 points and Jones with 15.
Chestatee returns to action for its regular-season finale at 7 p.m. for the girls and 8:30 p.m. for the boys at White County.