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High school basketball: North Hall girls survive late rally by Dawson County
North Hall's Victoria Cape (4) fends off a Dawson County defender during Tuesday's game in Gainesville. Photo by Bill Murphy

The North Hall girls basketball team recovered from a slow start Tuesday evening to dominate Dawson County in the second quarter of the 7-3A region matchup and eventually roll to a 55-46 victory. 

The Lady Trojans (4-9, 3-2 Region 7-3A) poured in five 3s in the first four minutes of the second frame and held the Lady Tigers to just 2 points in the entire period, riding an 18-2 advantage in the quarter to the region win. 

“We had so many people step up tonight,” North Hall coach Kristi House said. “It was just a team effort, grinding it out. We’ve been struggling. It’s no secret we’ve been struggling. For us to be able to come get this region win on our home court, we’re super excited.”

Victoria Cape led the way for North Hall, scoring 16 points off the bench and connecting on four 3-point shots. 

North Hall got off to an inauspicious start to the contest, giving up a pair of Dawson County 3s and a putback from Tigers center Mariah Benson to fall into an early 6-2 hole. Cape’s first 3 briefly stemmed the Dawson County surge, but the Tigers scored the last 4 points of the quarter to go up 14-7 eight minutes in. 

The Lady Trojans completely flipped the script in the second frame though, getting two more 3s from Cape, two from Rylee Thompson and one from Amelia Shoemaker. They also held the visiting Lady Tigers to just 2 points in a dominating effort that gave North Hall a 9-point lead at halftime. 

“Just buying in to defense and really grinding it out on the defensive end led to some confidence on offense in that second quarter,” House said.

Dawson County made a couple of runs in the second half, putting together a 10-0 run through the middle of the third quarter and an 8-3 spurt early in the fourth, but the Lady Trojans kept their composure even as they watched their lead get cut all the way down to 4 points. 

North Hall hit on 7 of 8 free throws down the stretch, making 5 of 6 in the last minute of the game to ice the win and pick up their third region victory of the season. 

“For them to be able to relax and not let the moment be too big for them and step up and knock down free throws, it was huge,” House said.

Up next, the Lady Trojans will go on the road to take on Gilmer on Friday at 7 p.m.

DAWSON COUNTY BOYS 60, NORTH HALL 57: The Trojans (5-7, 1-4 Region 7-3A) led for much of Tuesday’s home region contest against the Tigers, but a cold stretch through the middle of the fourth quarter doomed North Hall in the eventual loss. Dawson County put together a 15-0 run in the final frame to build a double-digit lead that the Trojans could never recover from. 

“Our energy was the best for four quarters it’s been all year, win or lose, but there’s still moments when we’re not bringing it, and that’s when they capitalized,” North Hall coach Miles Kendall said. “They had a really good run where they were just killing us on the boards, and that was the difference in the game.”

Sam Gailey paced the Trojans offensively with 12 points, all coming from beyond the 3-point arc. 

North Hall struggled on offense to start the game, managing just 4 points in the first half of the opening quarter, but heated up a bit from there, getting 3s from Gailey and senior Cole Ellis. The Trojans used an 11-2 run over the back half of the first frame to take the lead, and then extended it with a buzzer-beating 3 from Jeremiah Telander that put them up 18-13 one quarter in. 

But Dawson County fought back in the second period, outscoring the Trojans 14-3 during a four-minute run through the middle of the frame to go back up in front. Tigers guard Joakeim Celestin scored 8 straight points for Dawson County down the stretch of the second quarter to put the Tigers on top 27-26 at halftime. 

North Hall came out hot in the third frame, starting things off on an 8-2 run that put the Trojans back in front. But Dawson County battled back to nearly even, getting a layup from Max Tierney to cut the deficit to just 1 point going into the fourth. 

The teams fought back and forth for the first couple minutes of the period before the Tigers really started to take control. Dawson County scored 15 straight points, dominating the glass on both sides of the court and getting 7 points from Celestin to go up by 12 with a minute-and-a-half remaining. 

North Hall made things interesting with a trio of late 3s, two coming from Gailey and the third from Clark Howell that cut the deficit to just 2 points late, but the Trojans could not finish off the comeback. 

North Hall will travel to take on Gilmer on Friday at 8:30 p.m.

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