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Falcons, Spartans split at Flowery Branch
Flowery Branch High’s Rashad Tate, right, drives past West Hall’s Tray Malone (2) as he takes the ball up court for the Falcons during Friday night’s game at the Flowery Branch High gymnasium.

The Flowery Branch boys basketball team is quick to take advantage of any opportunity this season. The Falcons (17-2, 6-0 Region 7B-AAA) made another step toward the No. 1 spot in the Region 7-AAA tournament with a resounding 76-59 win against West Hall Friday night in Flowery Branch.

With the win, the Falcons maintained its two game cushion in the subregion ahead of Gainesville, to go along with head-to-head advantage over the Red Elephants. At the same time, Flowery Branch set a new single-season record with 17 wins breaking the mark set in 2005.

"I like where our team stands right now, but I know we still have some more tough subregion games left on the schedule," Falcons coach Todd Cottrell said.

Another individual accomplishment was set Friday as Falcons senior A.C. Bailey scored a career high 25. He scored seven points in a 55 second span near the end of the second quarter as part of a 12-0 run. He finished the first half with 19 points.

Bailey and sophomore Connor Shaw each chipped in a 3-pointer during the Falcons’ run where everything went right. Flowery Branch was quicker down the court, also found the open shooter and played better defense.

"A.C. is playing well right now, and really making strides in his game," Cottrell added.

Brian Welchel finished the game with 15 points and seven rebounds for Flowery Branch, and Josh Barrett added 13.

Izaan Cross, a junior, had six points and eight rebounds for the Falcons, and Rashad Tate had 10 assists.

"I’m really proud of how we are playing right now and like how we’re growing as a team," Cottrell noted. "The best part of this team is they are fantastic young men."

Ricky Vital led the Spartans (9-9, 3-3) with 16 points, and Shunquez Stephens added 11.

Flowery Branch visits Marist at 5:30 p.m. tonight in Atlanta. West Hall plays host to Gainesville at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday night in Oakwood.

West Hall girls 34, Flowery Branch 30

West Hall girls basketball coach Lynn Jarrett has continually harped on the need for a third scorer she could depend on to emerge. It had been a lingering concern with back-to back losses entering Friday night’s game at Flowery Branch.

The result for West Hall was different this time around, producing a 34-30 win over the Lady Falcons, but the search continues for the Lady Spartans (9-9, 3-3 Region 7B-AAA) in the points department.

Jayla Moon had 14 points and 10 rebounds for her second consecutive double-double for West Hall.

Kim Smigelsky added 13 for West Hall and was 10-for-11 from the free throw line on the night, and helped the Lady Spartans pull off an 11-2 run in the second quarter.

"It feels really good to get the win tonight, it was a great team effort," Moon said. "Kim was great shooting free throws tonight."

Molly May and Jessica Hart each scored 10 for the Lady Falcons (7-11, 1-4).

Flowery Branch’s Danielle Miller hit a lay-up with 16.3 seconds remaining to narrow West Hall’s lead to 32-30. But the Lady Spartans hit two free throws in the final seconds to make it a two possession game.

"I think another key for us was that our point guard Emily Hammond played a solid second half," Jarrett said. "She was playing better and more aggressive."

West Hall plays host to Gainesville at 6 p.m. Tuesday night at the Silver Dome in Oakwood. Flowery Branch visits Marist at 4 p.m. tonight.

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