FLOWERY BRANCH- Flowery Branch coach Duke Mullis could sense his team had a new sense of confidence with Tuesday's 53-43 win against West Forsyth in South Hall.
It washed away any sense of doubt from last week's three losses in the Deep South Classic and gave a perfect boost as the Falcons (5-7) prepare to open Region 8-AAAA play Friday at Madison County.
"When you lose like that, it starts to wear on you mentally," Mullis said. "That was a great confidence boost for our guys in the locker room tonight."
Coming off the bench, junior Jaleel Bailey rattled off seven straight points in a first-quarter run as the Falcons took an 18-8 lead into the second period.
Nick Wayne also scored seven first quarter points for Flowery Branch and finished with a team-high 13 points.
"That was just a great team effort tonight," said Bailey, who also connected on a 3-pointer in the second quarter to finish with 10 points. "We needed that tonight to feel like we're ready for the subregion."
Chris Parisi led West Forsyth (0-12) with 13 points, five rebounds and three steals, and Zack Evans had 10 points and four assists.
In the girls game, Flowery Branch's Jacy Ramey and Dani Lacko each hit a pair of free throws in the final 30 seconds and preserved a 50-41 win over the Lady Wolverines.
For the Flowery Branch boys, Bailey knocked down a pair of pull-up jump shots and then a 3-pointer as the Falcons took a 16-8 lead late in the first.
Leading 34-18 after halftime, the Falcons received quick baskets from Kanler Coker (eight points) on a reverse layup, followed quickly by a 3-pointer by Tyler McBroom.
When Andrew Miles scored on a basket off a turnover at the end of the third quarter, the Falcons held their biggest lead of the game at 46-26.
Still, the Wolverines managed to chip away modestly in the fourth period. Parisi knocked down a pair of consecutive 3-pointers to take the deficit down to 51-41 with :55 seconds left to play.
Philipe Silva was also in double digits scoring for West Forsyth, which hadn't played for two weeks leading into Tuesday's meeting in Flowery Branch.
"For a two-week layoff, our defense and coverage were good," West Forsyth coach Dennis Benedict said. "I thought we played well for the most part."
Flowery Branch plays Madison County at 8:30 p.m. Friday in Danielsville. West Forsyth plays host to South Forsyth at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in Cumming.
FLOWERY BRANCH GIRLS 50, WEST FORSYTH 41: Fresh off a two-week break, the Lady Falcons (6-6) built a 14-point fourth-quarter lead and did enough to overcome a game-high 27 points and four rebounds from Lady Wolverines senior Jenna Thompson.
Flowery Branch built its biggest lead of the night at 44-30 and 4:10 left to play with one of Marissa Ivey's (14 points) four 3-point shots on the night.
She also hit a 3-point basket midway through the third quarter followed by a jump shot to take a 29-22 lead.
"I thought she shot the ball really well tonight," Flowery Branch coach Hazel Hall said.
West Forsyth (4-9, 2-1 Region 6-AAAAA) started to cut into the late deficit immediately with a 3-pointer by Kathryn Watson.
Then trailing by 11, Thompson (11 of 28 shooting) went to work with three consecutive baskets, including a 3-point play to draw to within 46-40 with one minute left to play.
In the Lady Wolverines' last meeting against Flowery Branch on Dec. 13, Thompson, their only senior, finished with 30 points.
"She does a great job battling for us and just knows where to find shots," West Forsyth coach Seth Chadwick said. "She's done it time and time again for us."
Trailing 46-41, West Forsyth forced a turnover on the inbounds pass, but the three defenders jockeying for possession last touched the ball before it went out of bounds.
Ramey and Lacko proceeded to hit their free throws at the end to secure victory.
Ramey had a big game for the Lady Falcons in all areas.
She had a key basket for Flowery Branch during its 10-0 scoring run early in the fourth quarter and finished the game with six points, nine rebounds, four assists and a blocked shot.
"Jacy's what Dick Vitale would call a stat-sheet stuffer for us," Hall said. "I know she had a number of deflected passes too that were big."
Tavia Sykes added a pair of 3-pointers midway through the second quarter for the Lady Falcons and finished the game with 11 points, five rebounds and five assists.
Cara Chilton finished with seven points and five rebounds for Flowery Branch, which visits Madison County at 7 p.m. Friday.
West Forsyth hosts South Forsyth at 6 p.m. Saturday in Cumming.