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High school basketball: Chestatee boys take down East Hall 58-53
East Hall's Zion Cheeks (0) passes to Clete Cooper against Chestatee on Friday in Gainesville. Photo by Bill Murphy

Chestatee jumped all over East Hall early in Friday’s region matchup at East Hall, riding a dominant opening to the game to a 58-53 victory to open the region schedule with a win. 

The War Eagles built up a 9-1 lead over the first five minutes of the contest and never looked back in the key victory. 

After the game, Chestatee coach Josh Travis said poor starts in games earlier this season had his team motivated to put its best foot forward Friday evening. 

“Our last two games, we got down margins like 18-3 and 20-2, and those were the differences in those games, so yes, (starting hot) was very much a point of emphasis,” he said. “You can’t start a game like that and expect to win. You’ve got to start the game like we did tonight.”

Hugh Pruitt scored 16 points to lead the War Eagles, while Peyton Phillips added 12 points on four made 3-pointers. Christian Torres poured in 22 for East Hall in the loss. 

Chestatee built its early lead behind 5 points from Josh Bull in the opening three minutes of the game that helped the War Eagles run out to their 9-1 advantage. Torres scored 5 late points in the frame to get the deficit to just 4 points one quarter in, but the War Eagles kept up the heat.

Phillips hit on a trio of 3s for Chestatee in the second quarter to help push the lead up to 8 at halftime. 

After a back-and-forth third quarter that saw the Vikings cut the deficit to 49-42 going into the fourth, East Hall started to make its move. 

A layup from Torres and a deep 3 from Imre Earls early in the final frame got the Vikings to within just 3 points of the lead with six minutes left to play. Yet, despite the momentum swing, Chestatee’s defense clamped back down at that point, holding the Vikings scoreless for nearly five minutes and icing the game with three consecutive layups from Pruitt. 

Following the game, Travis said Friday’s victory was a key moment in the growth of his young roster filled with underclassmen.

“It was our guys trusting what they needed to do and then just believing in themselves and being mature, growing up,” he said. “We didn’t look like a bunch of freshmen and sophomores in that fourth quarter.”

EAST HALL GIRLS 48, CHESTATEE 37: The Lady Vikings rode a strong start to the contest and held off a late Lady War Eagles comeback attempt to pick up their first Region 8-4A win of the year. 

“We just tried to play with intensity,” East Hall coach Justin Wheeler said of the effort. “We tried to pressure the ball, try to be in the gap, try to be on the help side. Just play as a team.”

Senior Carly Campbell scored 16 points to lead the Lady Vikings in the win. Logan Wiggins added 17 points for the Lady War Eagles.

Chestatee scored the first 4 points of the game on a pair of Wiggins layups, but East Hall took over from there. The Lady Vikings put together a 9-0 run through the middle of the opening frame that gave them a commanding lead early. Wiggins got the deficit back to within 2 points with a deep 3 near the end of the first quarter, but East Hall did not let off the gas. 

The Lady Vikings outscored the Lady War Eagles 12-2 over the first four minutes of the second period, getting a pair of 3s from Campbell to take the lead by as much as 12 points near the midpoint of the frame. Chestatee responded with 3s of their own from Wiggins and Annie Dollyhigh, but still trailed 26-15 going into halftime.

East Hall built on the lead with a 10-2 start to the third quarter, and 3s from Campbell and Audrey Griffin gave the Lady Vikings a 42-24 lead going into the final frame. The Lady War Eagles staged a bit of a comeback in the fourth, starting the period off by scoring 11 straight points to get the deficit to just 7, but Chestatee could not make up any more ground than that in the eventual defeat.

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