Tavia Sykes scored 24 points, and the Flowery Branch girls basketball team used a 14-point halftime lead to take down top-seeded Loganville, 44-41, on Friday in the semifinals of the Region 8-AAAA tournament in Winder.
With the win, the Lady Falcons (10-18) advance to the region championship game against Clarke Central at 7 p.m. Saturday in Winder.
Flowery Branch jumped out to a quick 16-8 lead after the first quarter, and continued the pressure to make it 29-15 at the half.
“All of a sudden we are playing with poise,” Flowery Branch coach Hazel Hall said. “Our youth isn’t showing as much as it did earlier in the season.”
That youth was on display in the third quarter, however, as Loganville came out in a new defensive set. The Flowery Branch offense struggled to put just two points on the board in the third, but held off a 17-point charge by Loganville in the fourth quarter to earn the win.
“Our kids are believing in what we’re trying to do here,” Hall added. “They’ve grown up the last few days.”
Regardless of the outcome of today’s game, Friday’s win ensured that the Lady Falcons will host at least one state playoff game.
BUFORD GIRLS 56, LOVETT 31: The Lady Wolves opened their semifinal matchup with Lovett on a 15-8 run and cruised to the win to advance to the Region 6-AA finals Friday at Jackson-Atlanta.
The junior duo of Kaela Davis and Andraya Carter accounted for 34 of the Lady Wolves’ points in the win, with each scoring 17.
Buford (23-3), the two-time defending champion of Class AA, will continue its pursuit of a second region title in the last three years against the winner of the Greater Atlanta Christian/Decatur game at 7 Saturday at Maynard-Jackson.
SOUTH ATLANTA BOYS 61, BUFORD 48: Despite 19 points from Alex Flagler and 10 from T.J. Shipes, the Wolves (19-8) lost Friday in the semifinals of the Region 6-AA tournament at Jackson-Atlanta.
Buford got off to a slow start, managing just five points in the first quarter and eight in the second, to go into the half trailing 25-13. The Wolves came out strong in the second half and scored 21 in the third quarter, but were unable to overcome the first-half deficit. Buford will play the loser of the Decatur/Greater Atlanta Christian game at 5:30 p.m. Saturday to determine the No. 3 and No. 4 seed from the region going into the state playoffs.
GAINESVILLE GIRLS 3, EAST HALL 0: Catherine Chambers scored two goals in the Lady Red Elephants win Friday at City Park.
Mary Catherine Dempsey added the third goal for Gainesville (2-0), which visits Athens Academy at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
JOHNSON BOYS 7, LUMPKIN COUNTY 0: The Knights led 3-0 at the half and outshot the Indians 22-1 for the game Friday in Oakwood. Israel Azura scored two goals and added an assist for Johnson (2-0, 1-0 Region 8B-AAA), which saw six players score. Ariel Mejia, Ben Cervantes, Jeffrey Cabrales, Juan Morfin and Rigoberto Mojica each scored one goal, with Cervantes adding an assist. Silviano Cuevas had a team-high two assists, while Manuel Aguilar added one for Johnson, which hosts Lanier at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
JOHNSON GIRLS 5, LUMPKIN COUNTY 0: After a scoreless first half, in which the Lady Knights outshot the Lady Indians 17-1, Johnson exploded for five goals in the second half to earn the win Friday in Oakwood.
Kayla Madsen scored two goals, with one each coming from Brittany Martin, Karolina Guzman and Kayln Dumanowsky for Johnson, which hosts Lanier at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. Lumpkin County, which was held without a shot in the second half, hosts West Hall at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 25.
BUFORD GIRLS 7, DAWSON COUNTY 0: Anne Schmidt and Katy Garth each scored two goals as the Lady Wolves rolled to the win Friday in Dawsonville.
Seeley Coker, Melissa Sullivan and Jessie Vaverka each score one goal, with Sullivan adding an assist for Buford (1-1). Caitlyn Hollis had the shutout in goal and Tara Dambach also had an assist for the Lady Wolves, who visit North Hall at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.
JOHNSON GIRLS 4, WEST HALL 1 (THURSDAY): With straight-set wins at No.1 and No. 2 singles and doubles, the Lady Knights won at home.
At No. 1 singles, Cady Nix defeated Kelly Lingle, 7-5, 7-6, while Maggie Turner defeated Savannah Pate, 6-4, 7-5. In the two doubles matches, the Johnson teams of Claire Crain/Harlee Robson (6-3, 6-2) and Emma Rowlett/Carlyn Ivey (6-4, 6-1) secured the win for Johnson.
Eric Cansler had the only win for West Hall on the day at No. 3 singles, defeating Kelly Chance 6-0, 6-0. West Hall hosts Walnut Grove at 4 p.m. Tuesday.
High school results may be reported by 10:30 p.m. by calling 770-718-3406, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.