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High school basketball notebook: East Hall, Chestatee boys back on track
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East Hall's Antonio Maddox tries to work his way around Gainesville's Tray Harrison during last Saturday's game. - photo by Scott Rogers | The Times

Today's games

Riverside at Greene County, 7:30 p.m.

Towns County at Hebron Christian, girls 6 p.m., boys 7:30 p.m.

Jefferson at Washington-Wilkes, girls 7 p.m., boys 8:30 p.m.

Lakeview at Prince Avenue, girls 7 p.m., boys 8:30 p.m.

White County at West Hall, girls 7 p.m., boys 8:30 p.m.

Jackson County at Elbert County, girls 7 p.m., boys 8:30 p.m.

Fannin County at Dawson County, girls 7 p.m., boys 8:30 p.m.

Monroe Area at Lumpkin County, girls 7 p.m., boys 8:30 p.m.

Gainesville at Apalachee, girls 7 p.m., boys 8:30 p.m.

Banks County at North Hall, girls 7 p.m., boys 8:30 p.m.

Winder-Barrow at Flowery Branch, girls 7 p.m., boys 8:30 p.m.

Habersham Central at North Gwinnett, girls 7 p.m., boys 8:30 p.m.

Chestatee at Eastside, girls 7 p.m., boys 8:30 p.m.

Social Circle at Union County, girls 7 p.m., boys 8:30 p.m.

Lanier at Johnson, girls 7 p.m., boys 8:30 p.m.

Commerce at Athens Academy, girls 7 p.m., boys 8:30 p.m.

The East Hall boys have to feel much more confident about the direction of their season after a four-game region winning streak.

The Vikings (7-10, 4-4 Region 7-AAA) started the year with an uncharacteristically slow start.

Starting on Jan. 5 with a 82-61 win against West Hall, the Vikings have won each of their region contests. The only loss in that timeframe was 88-77 to Class AAAAA’s Gainesville on Jan. 12.

Next week will be especially pivotal for East Hall with a chance to salvage a split of the season series against North Hall on Tuesday, then against Dawson County on Friday.

Even though East Hall lost each of its first four region games, a couple of those were very close. The Vikings lost their first matchup against North Hall 72-69 in overtime on Dec. 7, then lost their second and final meeting of the year against Buford 59-57 on Jan. 2.

The last time East Hall was shut out of the playoffs was in 2009.

Also making a second-half surge to the season are the Chestatee boys. The War Eagles (8-10, 3-0 Region 8-AAAA) are currently positioning themselves for a good spot in the region tournament at Johnson High, even though there are five games still remaining that count toward seeding. In Region 8-AAAA, each team faces the other schools only once in region play.

“We’re excited about starting out 3-0,” Chestatee coach Gary Barnes said. “The way our region sets up, each game is huge.

“There are no second chances.”

Barnes said the direction of Chestatee’s season started to improve when it won two of three games in the Lafayette Christmas Tournament, which included a 107-101 win against Ridgeland in overtime.

“We’re learning how to win,” Barnes said. “We’re also improving in late-game situations.”

In Region 8-AAAA, the top seven teams automatically earn a spot in the tournament. No. 8 and No. 9 will hold a play-in game.

LADY FALCONS ON A ROLL: Not only do the Flowery Branch girls (16-1, 10-0 Region 8-AAAAA) have a talented crop of seniors, but also a trio of freshmen that have been a force on the court.

Lady Falcons coach Hazel Hall says that depth gives them the flexibility to play more rotations, considering that all her regular players have proven their talent.

Leading the way for Flowery Branch are seniors Tavia Sykes (16 points, 6 rebounds and three assists) per game, Marissa Ivey (11.5 ppg.) and Jacy Ramey (10 ppg., 7 reb., 3 1/2 steals).

Along with that, the development of freshmen Breanna Locke, Maddie Hetzel and Heather Moore has been a pleasant surprise for Hall.

The Lady Falcons have six region games remaining in the regular season, starting with tonight’s game against Winder-Barrow in Flowery Branch. The Region 8-AAAAA tournament will be held at Apalachee High next month.

HERITAGE ACADEMY GIRLS STILL PERFECT: After winning the 2012 state championship in the Independent Christian Schools of Georgia-Alabama’s Division II, the Lady Chargers have won all 14 games this season. On Tuesday, Heritage Academy topped Young Americans Christian, 50-16. Heritage Academy, a University model school in Braselton, has three players that are near a double-double each night out.

“We have a neat group of girls that all love the Lord,” Lady Chargers coach Sunny Weiner said.

Senior Anna Staub, a guard, is pushing 10 steals and 10 rebounds a game. Sophomore Elizabeth Walters is also a key contributor from the guard spot, while seventh grader Audrey Weiner, a 5-foot-11 post player, is a regular to pull in a double-double, including 15 points and making 11 of 12 free throws in Tuesday’s game.

Heritage Academy plays in the ICSGA state tournament on Feb. 21-22 in Columbus. The Lady Chargers are also taking part in the 24-team field of the Homeschool Nationals March 12-16 in Lynchburg, Va.

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