at East Hall High
Consolation bracket: Lakeview Academy girls 77, West Hall 54
Consolation bracket: Johnson boys 72, Chestatee 58
Consolation bracket: Chestatee girls 42, Johnson 26
Girls semifinal: Flowery Branch 66, North Hall 34
Taniyah Worth’s best play during Flowery Branch’s 66-34 rout of North Hall wasn’t even a basket.
Responding to her team’s full-court press on an inbounds pass in the third quarter, Worth (18 points) picked up a loose pass, drove inside the paint and dished to a wide-open Julianne Sutton to sink the easiest layup of the game.
The sophomore’s vision and quick reflexes put Flowery Branch (13-0) back in the Lanierland title game 7 p.m. Wednesday at East Hall High.
Flowery Branch will play East Hall today at 6 p.m. The Lady Vikings topped Gainesville 44-41 later in the day.
The Lady Falcons fell to Gainesville in last year’s championship game, but showed no mercy in Tuesday’s semifinal against the Lady Trojans (5-4) in their return to the top.
“We’ll have the same mindset,” said Worth, who had nine points in last year’s title game. “It’s a good feeling to be back, but we have to play harder and focus the entire game.”
Worth was dialed in, especially during the second quarter where she chipped in eight of Flowery Branch’s 17-2 run to finish off the first half.
Trailing 9-2 within the opening four minutes of the first quarter, the Lady Falcons roared back with an 11-0 streak to take a lead they would never concede.
Flowery Branch crashed the paint on every opportunity, allowing the tall combination of Worth and Sutton to work their magic on the boards.
“(Worth’s) pretty special,” said first-year Flowery Branch coach Courtney Newton. “She brings a lot of athleticism to the team and she’s hard to guard. Things work out when you’re the most athletic kid on the floor.”
Flowery Branch led 32-13 at halftime. The Lady Falcons scored 17 points in each of their final three quarters.
Sutton scored 10 of her 16 points for Flowery Branch in the first half, while teammate Kierra Knight contributed eight points.
North Hall was led by Taylor Anne Kelley with nine points. The Lady Trojans, who trailed by as many as 38 late in the 4th quarter, were held to just four points in the second quarter. Laken Sears sank two of North Hall’s four 3-pointers in the final frame.
Newton said her team hasn’t talked about last year’s title game loss, but said the Lady Falcons would only look toward the next contest.
“They’re playing one game at a time,” said Newton. “You’ve got to check them off.”