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Flowery Branch girls start fast, win big in Region 8-4A basketball tournament semifinals
Flowery Branch's Morgan Aguilar (1) dribbles past a North Oconee defender during the Region 8-4A tournament semifinals Thursday in Flowery Branch. Photo by Bill Murphy

The Flowery Branch girls settled into a comfortable rhythm early against North Oconee on Thursday in the semifinals of the Region 8-4A tournament in Flowery Branch. 

Shaina Kriews drained a 3-pointer for the Lady Falcons in the first minute, one of four in the first half for the team, as they rolled to a 54-34 victory. With the win, Flowery Branch has locked up a home playoff and will play in the region championship game for the fifth time in the past six seasons under coach Courtney Newton-Gonzalaz. 

By the time Kriews knocked down her third 3-pointer, in the final minute of the second quarter, the Lady Falcons were ahead 31-10 and only briefly led by less than 20 points the rest of the way. 

“We started fast, which was huge,” Newton-Gonzalez said after the game. “We play better when we come out with confidence.”

Bella Brick had a pair of 3-pointers, one in each half for the Lady Falcons, and scored a team-high 16 points. 

Ashlee Locke had 15 points and Kriews scored 13 for Flowery Branch. 

Up next, Flowery Branch faces the Jefferson/Cedar Shoals winner for the region championship at 5 p.m. Saturday in Flowery Branch.