It seems like each time Taylor Hawks’ number is called, she delivers. Her 22-point showing against Chestatee in the opening round of Lanierland was a reflection of that assessment.
The senior guard gave the Red Elephants the push to get ahead of the War Eagles right before the half, then helped ice the game with a pair of free throws in the closing minutes in a 56-44 win at North Hall High School.
Defensively, the Red Elephants held Chestatee to 16 points for the second half, and sunk 7 of their final 12 shots from the charity stripe to belittle a late surge by Chestatee in the fourth quarter.
A crowd erupting trey by Dawndria Bell (11 points) brought the War Eagles within five at the 2:26 mark before the Red Elephants closed it out with a 7-0 run.
Hawks took charge in the closing minutes of the half to put the Red Elephants back out front. She generated a pair of steals and scored six points, including four from the free throw line, during a 10-2 run that gave the Red Elephants a six-point lead at the half.
The War Eagles led 15-13 after one, and opened the second period with back-to-back 3-pointers by Brooklyn Popham (14 points) and Lindsey Caudell (15 points). But their offense was otherwise sporadic from there, shooting under 40 percent for the remainder.
Others to lead the Red Elephants behind Hawks include Sydney Payne with 12 points, followed by Tia Shelton with 10.
Gainesville will play the winner of No. 7 seed West Hall and No. 2 seed East Hall on Thursday at Gainesville High.