East Hall coach Joe Dix said it after his team held on for a 101-97 win, and North Hall coach Benjie Wood said it after his team didn’t pull away until the last couple of minutes.
The familiar phrase: “Chestatee is the best winless team we’ve played.”
Thankfully for the War Eagles, that phrase is no longer applicable after Chestatee’s 81-73 win over Lumpkin County on Tuesday in Gainesville.
The win for the War Eagles (1-17, 1-3) broke a 17-game losing streak to start the season, a season that started with a one-point loss to Lanier, followed by a three-point loss to Northview and a two-point loss to Sprayberry. In all, nine of the losses were by 10 points or less.
Chestatee will look to continue the momentum at 8:30 tonight at White County.
MILESTONES MET IN MACON: Chestatee High junior wrestler Jose Reyes-Lavallee helped the War Eagles to a sixth-place finish in the school’s first ever trip to the state duals tournament in Macon, picking up his 100th career win along the way.
It was also the first time that a pair of Hall County schools had gone to the tournament, now in its 11th year. It’s interesting to note that current Chestatee coach Carey Whitlow had also taken the North Hall team, which was back in Macon last weekend, to the tournament in 2002.
Jefferson continued its dominance of Class AA at the tournament, winning its 11th consecutive duals title. The Dragons have won 12 straight traditional state titles as well.
A HISTORY OF OVERTIME: The Gainesville and West Hall boys basketball teams seem to enjoy playing one another. How else do you explain a 91-79, four-overtime game last Saturday in Oakwood, a year after a triple-overtime game.
Four of the past five meetings between these teams — two last season and two this season — have all been close. Each of the close games have been Red Elephants wins, including a 64-62 decision in last season’s Lanierland tournament, the 70-67 triple overtime win later in the season, and a 65-57 game earlier this season.
“They always want to beat Gainesville,” Red Elephants sophomore Deshaun Watson said of the Spartans, who nearly had Gainesville beat on a couple of occasions Saturday night.
West Hall’s one win over Gainesville in the past two seasons, on Jan. 4, 2011, was the only lopsided game in the past five meetings; a 77-57 West Hall win.
PLAYERS SET CAREER BESTS: Johnson forward Montrell McKenzie has become a consistent double-double threat this season, and Tuesday night he went above and beyond as he recorded a triple-double in a win over Lanier with 19 points, 13 blocks and 11 rebounds. He also recorded a double-double Friday night in a loss to Walnut Grove, and he did it in record-setting fashion: 13 points and a school-record 32 rebounds.
Another consistent double-double threat, Lakeview forward Austin Montgomery, recorded a career best the same night. In a 72-59 win over Athens Academy, Montgomery scored 32 points, his best offensive performance.
One day later and a few thousand miles away, East Hall senior J.C. Hampton matched a career high with 39 points to lead the Vikings to the Alaska Airlines Classic championship against Alaska’s defending Class AAAA state champs, Bartlett High.
BUFORD GIRLS BETTER THAN RECORD: The Lady Wolves are 10-6 this season, which on the surface is surprising for the defending Class AA state champs. But Buford, which is playing without two-time Class AA Player of the Year Andraya Carter, has only lost one game to a team from the state of Georgia, a 60-42 defeat at the hands of Class AAAAA power Alpharetta.
The Lady Wolves are a perfect 5-0 in Region 6-AA and finish the season against teams in either Class AA or below (although the Class A team, No. 1 Wesleyan, may be the biggest test remaining).