Gainesville’s boys basketball team continued to show no signs of slowing down as it approaches the final week of the regular season.
It is exactly what coach Benjie Wood wants.
Three days after their 54-point triumph over Habersham Central, the suffocating pressure of No. 2 Gainesville produced its 11th win by at least 20 points this season, forcing 25 turnovers while scoring 20 in three out of four quarters for a breezy 71-42 home win over Lanier to stay perfect in region play.
“That’s what we try to do every day, try to turn the pressure up and, you know, rotate and use our depth to possibly wear them down, said Wood of their defensive intensity.”
Wood’s team is now another step closer to locking down the region with three games left and a win today against Dacula would lock up the No. 1 seed in the Region 8-AAAAAA. The Red Elephants currently lead the head-to-head with Winder-Barrow and Apalachee.
“We just want to try to build that momentum and play our best basketball before the playoffs,” Wood said.
The Red Elephants (21-1, 7-0) gave up the first basket of the contest, though quickly got it back and never let off the gas.
Four starters went on to score in the double digits, Jared Rosser leading the way with 14 points and four boards. Six-foot-6 junior forward Jarrell Rosser came in behind his twin brother with a 12-point outing that included a pair of two-handed jams. Junior Bailey Minor added 12 points, followed by Kajuan Hale 10 and Michael White with nine points, who also dished a team-high five assists with four steals.
The Red Elephants also shot a combined 16 of 20 from the free-throw line.
The Longhorns kept it close for the first seven minutes of the contest despite turning it over nine times. The Red Elephants sprinted ahead on a 9-2 run before the end of the opening period, during which Jarrel Rosser recorded a steal and finished the deed wirh a two-handed dunk on the other end of the floor.
The Red Elephants jumped out to a 20-point lead in the second period before the Longhorns scored on three-straight possessions to end the half. A long buzzer-beating trey by Adam Martin (12 points) cut the deficit to 17.
Gainesville will host Dacula in a makeup game 8:30 p.m. today.
LANIER GIRLS 64, GAINESVILLE GIRLS 58: Even a mammoth performance by senior guard Taylor Hawks wasn’t enough to resurrect a victory for Gainesville.
After being dominated on the boards and falling behind by as much as 17, the Lady Red Elephants managed to turn it into a thrilling Region 8-AAAAAA contest behind Hawks, who racked up a game-high 38 points — 20 in the second half.
The Lady Red Elephants (14-6, 5-2) cut the deficit to nine on the back end of the third period with an 8-0 run fueled by three-consecutive Tija Blackwell (14 points) 3-pointers.
The Lady Longhorns used their obvious size to outrebound the Red Elephants 27-13 in the first three quarters, but trailed in that same category down the home stretch. The Red Elephants snagged 11 boards to Lanier’s three, while Hawks (eight rebounds) made it a one-point affair on two occasions in the closing seconds. But the Longhorns pulled away on an 8-4 run to seal it.