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Gainesville shows balance in win at North Hall
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North Hall's Brock Wingo (10) goes up for a shot while being guarded by Gainesville's Caleb Mize (32) during Saturday's game in Gainesville. - photo by Erin O. Smith

North Hall lets senior Nicholas Bennett take center stage for game against Gainesville. 

The way Gainesville’s boys spread the wealth scoring points, it made for an easy win at North Hall on Saturday. Junior D’Marcus Simonds had a typical big night scoring, junior center Tyler Scott was key inside with hitting baskets and changing the direction of Trojans shots, and K.J. Buffen scored a number of early baskets for the Red Elephants.

“I feel like we’re playing really hard as a team,” said Gainesville coach Benjie Wood. “The thing we preach is playing together as a team.”

Simonds had eight of his 16 points in the opening half as Gainesville pulled away before halftime for a 78-44 win at North Hall. Ball distribution was key, too, for the Red Elephants (18-2) as 11 players scored points.

With teamwork the standard by which Wood judges success, the Red Elephants look to be headed in the right direction. After a back-and-forth first quarter, Gainesville steadily stretched its lead the remainder of the evening.

However, it was the Red Elephants’ 6-foot-10 big man inside, Scott, who changed the direction of the game. Just before the half, Scott put back a basket on a layup, followed by two shots at the foul line on Gainesville’s next possession to carry a 16-point lead into intermission.

Scott finished tied for the team-high with 16 points and also blocked 10 shots. Part of his success is the chemistry he already had on the floor with Simonds when both moved to Gainesville from Buford this season. He said their unspoken ability to communicate on the floor is good for knowing when one is going to be open for a score.

Not only was he making shots himself, but Scott also dished it underneath for a number of baskets by Simonds.

“Tyler changed the game for us,” Wood said. “He was playing with tremendous energy all night.”

With five games left on the regular season, Scott said defensive consistency is one thing he’d like to see improve.
Earlier this season, Gainesville won 64-56 at home against North Hall.

For North Hall (11-11), Carson Heinen and Harrison Lovell both chipped in 10 points. Brock Wingo had a 3-pointer in each of the first two quarters for the Trojans, and finished the game with seven points.

Scott and Buffen anchored Gainesville’s offense early with three baskets each in the opening quarter.

On Tuesday, both programs jump back into region play. Gainesville visits Flowery Branch; North Hall plays at Johnson in Oakwood.

GAINESVILLE GIRLS 49, NORTH HALL 40: Point guard Taylor Hawks made four straight from the free throw line early in the fourth quarter and put up a basket that drew a foul to give the Lady Red Elephants (15-6) a 47-37 lead in the final two minutes.

Hawks scored 13 of her 15 points in the second half for Gainesville, which won both meetings against North Hall this season.

Down by eight in the fourth quarter, North Hall scored four straight, the second basket on a Katie Sayres layup, to cut Gainesville’s lead in half.

Shikiya Brown also put up 15 points for Gainesville. She hit a 3-pointer in each of the first three quarters, including one at the buzzer to wrap up the third period with a 34-30 lead.

North Hall’s only lead of the second half came with Sadie Cleveland’s 3-pointer, to go up 27-26 midway through the third period. Hawks scored for Gainesville on the next trip down the court, then drained a 3-pointer to make its lead four.

Sayres led the Lady Trojans (12-10) with 13 points. Cleveland and Kensi Gillespie each finished with eight points.

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