If Flowery Branch senior Taylor Bourdage seemed a little unfazed by his 21-point performance Saturday night against North Hall, it’s because he thinks he can do even better.
Based on recent history, he might be right.
Bourdage hit seven 3-pointers, including five in the first quarter, to spark a 61-54 victory for the Falcons, their first at home this season.
“He had eight earlier this year against North Forsyth,” added David Sokol, his head coach. “He was on fire (today.)”
Flowery Branch (2-4) scored 13 treys in the game, with four coming in an 18-point fourth quarter to help seal the team’s second win.
Junior Sam Jackson led the Trojans with 18 points. Jackson’s hard work in the paint helped tie the contest 43-all at the end of the third quarter, but Bourdage, Hunter Konuszewski and John Mills all hit 3s to create just enough separation for the win.
“Sometimes, I’m just feeling it and it hits,” Bourdage said after the game. “It’s great. All that hard work you put in, and I know it’s paying off right now.”
The Falcons got off to a 14-0 lead in the opening five minutes, thanks to Bourdage’s laser-like accuracy from beyond the arc.
North Hall (3-2) missed its first five shots and would finish the opening quarter with eight points on three field goals.
But the Trojans adjusted after the quick break to cut the lead to four before halftime. Senior point guard Brock Wingo found space near the free throw line and would connect for seven points to help support a 12-3 run early in the second quarter.
“We started getting lazy on defense,” said Bourdage. “But we wanted to shake them hard after the half and hit them in the mouth.”
North Hall continued to press hard on Flowery Branch’s outside shooters. The Falcons were held to just five field goals in the third quarter, while Jackson was creating layups with ease for the Trojans.
That would end as Flowery Branch hit the gas when it counted most. Bourdage combined with Konuszewski (12 points) and Mills (8 points) to make four back-to-back 3s down the stretch.
Junior Chris Garcia stopped a Carson Heinen breakaway with a minute and a half remaining to effectively end any hint of a Trojan comeback.
“Everybody’s working hard and we know we can shoot the ball,” Bourdage said. “And when they drive in on us, we can come up against them. It’s working well for us.”
FLOWERY BRANCH GIRLS 56, NORTH HALL 52: Flowery Branch shot eight of its final 10 free throws in the final minute and a half to hold off a North Hall rally and win.
The Lady Trojans were leading by six at the end of the third quarter, but were forced to foul as Julianne Sutton scored eight of her 19 points in the fourth to claw back the lead and help the Lady Falcons (5-1) to their third straight win.
Sydney Cleveland tied with Sutton for a game-high 19 points, but couldn’t help North Hall (4-1) escape its first loss of the season.
Down by a point late in the third quarter, Cleveland went to the free throw line to spark a six-point unanswered run. A 3-pointer by Breanna Locke, combined with her layup on the next possession, allowed Sutton to tie the game at 40-all with a turnaround jumper on the five minute mark.
Cleveland made four of her six free throws in the final quarter, but the Lady Trojans couldn’t get off the shots they needed to pull off the comeback.
With under four minutes remaining, freshman Lexie Sengkhammee (9 points) exploited the North Hall weakside defense for a layup to stretch the Falcons’ lead to four.
Flowery Branch scored 25 points in the crucial fourth quarter to secure the non-region win.