FLOWERY BRANCH — Both Flowery Branch and Apalachee entered Friday night’s game looking to get their first subregion win in 8A-AAAA.
The Falcons seemingly couldn’t miss from beyond the arc in the first half, and the Apalachee players couldn’t find the basket as Flowery Branch rolled to a 66-29 win.
“That’s probably our best game shooting the ball this year,” Flowery Branch coach Duke Mullins said. “I’m excited that we won, but I’m more excited in the way we won.”
Mullins credited his players’ effort for providing the difference in a game that got out of hand quickly. Rudy DeAza led the Falcons (5-14, 1-4) with 15 points, Tyler McBroom added 11 and Marquise Wise 10.
Apalachee was led by Qua Cleveland and Rakim Peters with eight points each.
“That may be our worst game of the year,” Apalachee coach Kevin Morris said. “We definitely took a step back tonight.”
With the Wildcats in a zone anchored by 6-foot-7 Cameron Blakely in the middle, the Falcons stayed away from the paint through most of the first half, and didn’t score from inside the arc until nearly 10 minutes into the game.
“They didn’t have to go to the middle because we kept letting them make 3-pointers,” Morris said. “They made a few big shots and we didn’t match their charge.”
Flowery Branch sank three treys to take a 9-2 lead after one, and seven 3-pointers in the first half to take a 32-9 advantage at halftime.
Flowery Branch will now have the chance to continue to roll into Saturday’s game at Loganville. Tip-off is 5:30 p.m. Apalachee, meanwhile, will finally return home for the first time in 2011 and face county rival Winder-Barrow. The Bulldoggs won the first meeting at Winder-Barrow.
APALACHEE GIRLS 55, FLOWERY BRANCH 42: The Lady Wildcats continued their string of strong performances on the road, earning their third win in their last four games away from home on Friday.
“It’s a good win on the road,” Apalachee coach Michael Parks said. “It’s always hard to win on the road, and we’ve won at Habersham Central, Cedar Shoals and now Flowery Branch.
“We’re doing good.”
Saboyce Shelton paced the Lady Cats Friday night with 14 points and 10 rebounds, Kiarra Sanford added 10 points, Aliyah Ballard recorded nine and sophomore Ryan Burke blocked five shots in addition to nine points.
The Lady Falcons stayed close early, trailing 21-19 at the half on the strength of sophomore Tavia Sykes’ eight points. Sykes finished with a game-high 23, but it wasn’t enough to keep the home team within striking distance in the second half. Cara Chilton added 11 points for the Lady Falcons.
Flowery Branch tips off at 4 p.m. Saturday at Loganville.