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High school basketball: Flowery Branch boys fall in narrow defeat to North Oconee

By Robert Alfonso Jr.
For The Times

The North Oconee boys team had to be patient Friday evening against Flowery Branch, but the Titans rolled once the offense got going, leading the visiting North Oconee squad to a 66-59 win over the host Falcons. The Titans navigated Flowery Branch’s defensive zone, getting into a consistent offensive flow late in the game for the victory.

“We needed to stay patient,” North Oconee coach Rick Rasmussen said of the Falcons 2-3 zone. “Once we got it inside and played inside out we were able to make some shots.”

The Titans (17-4 overall, 5-3 Region 8-4A) got things going inside with Jace Saxton, who normally plays on the perimeter. Saxton got some baskets inside, opening up the outside shots for Dylan Garrington and making the Titans too much of a handful for the Falcons (3-14, 0-9 Region 8-4A) to handle. 

Saxton finished with a game-high 23 points. Garrington chipped in with 14 points, including a three-pointer from half court to finish the third quarter. For Flowery Branch, Jacob Dixon led the way with 19 points, while Tyleek Worth added 16 and Trevor Gurske put in 14.

“We did a good job controlling the tempo early,” Falcons coach Jay Burney said. “We were able to make three’s early. They’re a really good team. I’m just proud of my guys for fighting and competing.”

Up next, Flowery Branch will host Jefferson on Saturday. North Oconee travels to East Hall on Saturday. 

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