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Hanna Grogan's 25 points spur Lakeview Academy to 68-51 win over region foe Commerce
Victory pushes Lady Lions into tie for first place in Region 8-A
Lakeview's Ryann Moody (34) goes up for a shot while being guarded by Commerce's Autumn Mathis (3) during Tuesday's game at Lakeview Academy. - photo by Erin O. Smith

Much to the chagrin of her coach, Hanna Grogan admits to sometimes getting a little lazy on defense.

That’s when the screams and motivation from her Lakeview Academy teammates really come in handy.

“When the bench gets excited, it really encourages me,” said Grogan. “It gets me hyped.”

Grogan led all scorers with 25 points, including 13 in the third quarter, to help the seventh-ranked Lady Lions (18-6, 11-1 Region 8-A) top Commerce 68-51 Tuesday in Gainesville. The victory pushes Lakeview Academy into a tie for first place in the region with Commerce, with one more game to play (at Hebron Christian Academy in Dacula on Friday).

Commerce (15-5, 10-1) has two more home games: against Towns County on Thursday and Athens Christian on Saturday to finish the regular season.

Should both teams win out, a coin flip will ultimately decide the tiebreaker for the No. 1 seed in next week’s region tournament.

“I really like the way they’re playing,” said an upbeat Lakeview coach John Carrick. “They’re a fun team to be around. This is the 42nd team in my life, and they’re fun to coach. They really get along with each other.”

The Lady Lions forced 13 turnovers in the third quarter, and led by as many as 28 with two minutes gone in the fourth.

Sadie Thrailkill helped to pace Lakeview Academy with 10 points off the bench, while Halee Cash added eight points.

Cash suffered a left wrist injury when she fell out of bounds going for a layup with 2:04 left to play in the fourth and did not return. Carrick said he was told that it was a sprain by the trainer.

Inspired by her team’s commitment to the full-court press to start the second quarter, Grogan ignited the Lady Lions with strong transition defense. The junior knocked down a trey midway through the third quarter to give Lakeview a 14-point advantage before stealing the next Commerce inbounds to convert an easy layup with four minutes gone in the second half.

“I get on at her about defense all the time,” said Carrick with a grin. “She deflected a lot of balls and made things hard on them. You notice that the trap was a lot more aggressive in the second half than it was in the first half. She’s definitely the leader on this team, and it’s big when she steps up like that.”

Commerce topped Lakeview in the reverse matchup on Jan. 16, but were no match for the Lady Lions in Gainesville. The win snaps Commerce’s 10-game win streak that dated back to Jan. 5.

Sophomore Asia Jones led the visiting Lady Tigers with 18 points, while teammate Nia Johnson added 17 and Brasha Jones chipped in 10. Asia Jones was responsible for four of Commerce’s six 3-pointers, including three in the first quarter.

Leading by 10 at halftime, Lakeview cranked up the offensive pressure, putting together streaks of 13-1 and 11-3 in the third quarter that ultimately handed the win to the Lady Lions.

“We can’t be satisfied,” said Grogan. “It’s only going to be harder from here. We’ve got X’s on our back, and we have something to lose, so they’ll be hunting for us.”

Thrailkill sank a jumper to give Lakeview a 63-35 lead, its largest of the night with six minutes left to play. Ninth-ranked Commerce outscored Lakeview 18-10 in the final eight minutes, but never came close to threatening the Lady Lions.

Lakeview (15 of 22 from the free throw line) has won 13 of its last 14 games dating back to Dec. 8.

LAKEVIEW BOYS 73, COMMERCE 45: Evan Pitts led all scorers with 21 points, Josh Randolph and Drew Cottrell both chipped in 10 points each and the Lions clinched the No. 1 seed in next week’s region tournament at Athens Academy.

With the lopsided victory, third-ranked Lakeview remained perfect against Class A teams and in region play this season.

Daniel Fadool recorded 10 assists on Senior Night, while Cottrell knocked down three treys and nabbed five steals.

The Lions (20-4, 12-0 Region 8-A) are riding a six-game win streak, while Commerce (0-19, 0-10) hasn’t won a game since Jan. 31, 2015.

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