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Dunks spark Gainesville in win over Johnson
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OAKWOOD – There’s no pick me up quite like a slam dunk.

With slipping momentum against Johnson and a lead trickling away, Gainesville’s boys basketball team got three fourth quarter dunks – all from different players – and defeated Johnson 64-58 on Friday in Oakwood.

Gainesville (7-7, 4-2 Region 7B-AAA) now has four consecutive wins and three straight in the South subregion.

“Now, as our team is starting to get back together, we’ll hope to keep getting better,” Gainesville coach Todd Cottrell said. “But we have a long way to go in the season still.”

After the Knights (9-6, 5-2) started to carve into Gainesville’s 50-34 lead after three quarters, Red Elephants junior A.J. Johnson acted as if he would pass, instead opting to drive between two defenders in the lane for a one-handed slam dunk that brought the majority of the crowd to its feet.

“I’m just trying to get my team hype out there,” Johnson said.

Johnson’s dunk extended Gainesville’s lead to 55-44. In the final minute of the game he added a tip in for a basket off his teammate’s missed free throw and finished the game with 11 points and 14 rebounds.

“That was a great play by A.J.,” Cottrell said. “He plays so hard and the great thing is that he’s so humble.”

The other two dunks in the fourth quarter for Gainesville were from Chris West and Blake Sims. Quon Holcomb led Gainesville with 16 points and West added 10.

After Sims’ dunk put Gainesville ahead 61-50, Johnson rallied back with a 3-pointer by Grant Cagle and a pair of free throws by Tre Dudley to get as close as 62-58 with only 55 seconds left in the game.

Johnson’s tip in after a missed free accounted for the final points of the game for the Red Elephants.

“I was pleased with how hard our team played except for about a four-minute lull in the third quarter,” said Johnson coach Jeff Steele, after getting outscored 22-8 in the third quarter. “And then we didn’t box out at the free throw line there at the end.”

Chris Henry finished with a game-high 17 points for Johnson and Grant Cagle added 15. In the fourth quarter, Cagle hit a pair of 3-pointers and Henry scored eight of his points.

“Henry had a phenomenal game for Johnson tonight,” Cottrell said.

Gainesville’s win ensures a season split between the two schools. The Knights won the first meeting between the two schools 90-75.

The black eye on the game happened afterward when a Gainesville player was restrained by his coaching staff as the teams shook hands.

“It was an emotional game,” Cottrell said. “The basketball is very competitive in the region and it’s going to make for great basketball down the stretch.”

Gainesville plays host to Wesleyan at 5:30 p.m. today. Johnson visits Lumpkin County at 7:30 p.m. tonight in Dahlonega.

GAINESVILLE GIRLS 47, JOHNSON 14: Jaymee Carnes led the Lady Red Elephants with 16 points and five rebounds Friday in Oakwood. Loren Thomas had seven points and six rebounds for Gainesville (8-7, 5-1 Region 7B-AAA).

Gainesville opened the game on a 15-2 run as a result of 3-pointers from Mikalyn DeFoor, Kate Callahan and Carnes. Rebecca Webster (eight points) and Callahan (7) were also leading scorers for the Lady Red Elephants.