It wasn’t enough that Gainesville stay undefeated with Tuesday’s blowout win over region rival Cedar Shoals.
The Red Elephants wanted to draw a line in the sand.
Junior shooting guard D’Marcus Simonds and senior Luke Maddox combined for 39 points, 11 Gainesville players scored, and the Red Elephants held the Jaguars (5-2, 2-1 Region 8-AAAAA) to one of their worst offensive nights of the season in a 73-47 victory in Gainesville.
“We’ve always been a defensive-minded team, and I thought the kids really stepped up and made that important,” Gainesville coach Benjie Wood said. “They got it done.”
Gainesville (6-0, 2-0) used two 9-0 runs in the first quarter, as well as a dominant 26-point third quarter to pull away from head coach L’Dreco Thomas’ team from Athens and deal the Jaguars their first defeat in two weeks.
Simonds ran off seven of his game-high 21 points to help open up a 14-4 lead halfway through the opening quarter. Maddox (18 points) controlled most of his team’s offensive sets, and was able to use his pace to control the tempo from early on.
It took more than four minutes for Cedar Shoals to score, but even D’andre Mahaffey’s floater in the lane couldn’t cool a separate 9-0 Gainesville run to close the first quarter at 21-10.
“Everyone was scoring, and everybody’s coming together,” Maddox said. “It’s looking really good and it’ll be fun to keep it going.”
Freshman Bailey Minor (7 points) turned heads when he came on in the second quarter and sank a long-distance 3-pointer to complement back-to-back jumpers by Simonds.
Mahaffey (15 points) singlehandedly dragged Cedar Shoals back into contention when he hit two layups and a 3 to cut the lead to 20 three minutes after the halftime break.
But Simonds and Maddox combined for 15 points, including six made free throws, to put Gainesville up 63-36 entering the fourth. The Red Elephants finished 11 of 12 (92 percent) from the foul line.
“Those two set the stage tonight,” Wood said of Simonds and Maddox. “They set the tempo, it was a fun thing to watch tonight. We pushed them and that’s a tribute to our kids. I thought they played really good.”
Phlandrous Fleming finished with 10 points for the Jaguars, but managed just one layup in the final quarter of play against Wood’s bench players.
The Red Elephants travel to Clarke Central for another region test on Friday before returning home to take on county rival North Hall next Tuesday.
“We like our depth,” Wood said. “We have a lot of kids who play hard, so we’re proud when we can see those guys.”
CEDAR SHOALS GIRLS 44, GAINESVILLE 40: Senior point guard Kierra Curry hit a deep 3-pointer to give Cedar Shoals (3-4, 2-1 Region 8-AAAAA) its first significant lead of the night midway through the third quarter, Gainesville was held to a game-low six points in the fourth, and the Jaguars pulled out just their third win of the year Tuesday night in Gainesville.
Tanai Watson led the Red Elephants with 14 points, but was able to sink just one free throw in the decisive final quarter of Tuesday’s region loss.
Curry’s 3-pointer gave the Lady Jaguars a 34-32 lead, which Gainesville couldn’t claw back from in the final quarter. Despite opening the game on a 16-8 run, no other Lady Red Elephant could score in double digits. Cedar Shoals held Gainesville (3-2, 2-1) to just one made field goal in the fourth quarter, a trey by Kayla Kelly, to secure the tight win with a minute to go.
Gainesville’s Breanna Fair and Kelly finished with seven points apiece.
Curry finished with 14 points, while freshman Daishia Almond had a game-high 16 points.