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Lanierland boys: East Hall, West Hall, Flowery Branch earn first-round victories
Spartans knock off No. 1 seeded Knights, Falcons pull off strong 4th to beat Chestatee
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East Hall's Andy Lara chases after Lakeview's Daniel Fadool during Monday's first-round game game in the Lanierland basketball tournament at Johnson High School. - photo by Erin O. Smith

2015 Lanierland Tournament 
Tuesday at East Hall High
Second round

10:30 a.m. – Lakeview girls vs. West Hall

Noon – Chestatee girls vs. Johnson

1:30 p.m. – Chestatee boys vs. Johnson

3 p.m. – North Hall girls vs. Flowery Branch

4:30 p.m. – North Hall boys vs. East Hall

6 p.m. – East Hall girls vs. Gainesville 

7:30 p.m. – West Hall boys vs. Flowery Branch

With his team trailing by three, East Hall coach Joe Dix laid it all out on the line in his halftime locker room speech.

East Hall responded, and the Vikings beat Lakeview Academy 61-54 to book their spot in Tuesday’s Lanierland semifinals.

“I told them, you’ve got to dig in and make smart plays, and they got after it,” said Dix.

East Hall put together a dominant 15-3 run midway through the third quarter to overtake the Lions and secure a berth to play North Hall at 4:30 p.m. in the semifinals at East Hall High.

Tylor Brown and Markese Jackson combined for 31 points for the Vikings (8-3).

Josh Randolph led the Lions (8-2) with 14 points, while Evan Pitts had 12 and Daniel Fadool chipped in 11.

The Lions will next play in the consolation bracket final Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. at East Hall High. Lakeview Academy skipped on the consolation semifinal since North Hall had a first-round bye in its game against Gainesville.

“We had some defensive breakdowns, which is uncharacteristic of us,” said Lakeview coach Todd Cottrell. “We turned over the ball too many times.”

Down 28-25 at the half, East Hall picked up eight unanswered points during a three-minute stretch to gain a foothold.

Lakeview regained a slim advantage early in the fourth with Carter Reeves’ layup, but East Hall answered with a 12-1 run in the next two minutes to silence any comeback attempt. Triston Cooper had eight points for the Vikings, including a long trey that established a five-point lead.

Dix said he expects “a war” against North Hall Tuesday.

“Hopefully we’ve got a lot of energy after winning a tough one like that,” he said. “It’ll be on our home floor, which helps.”

WEST HALL 81, JOHNSON 46: Senior Tyquan Statham scored 14 of his 18 points in a critical run for the Spartans, who sewed up a semifinal berth at 7:30 p.m. today against Flowery Branch.

Statham was lights-out in the third quarter, outscoring Johnson 11-2 at one point as West Hall pulled away and eventually knocked off the back-to-back Lanierland champions.

“That’s why (Statham’s) a Division-I athlete,” said West Hall coach Zac Swansey. “I thought we played well in the first half, but I wanted us to execute a little more coming back out. I think we played our best game all year. We’ve tried to jell at the right time, and hopefully this is the springboard we need to build on that.”

Xzavier Reed led West Hall (5-5) with 21 points, while Esteban Ulloa chipped in 13.

Yaz Hagins and Qua Butler both led the Knights (3-8) with 11 apiece. Johnson falls into the consolation bracket and will take on Chestatee at 1:30 p.m. today.

West Hall drained seven 3-pointers in the win. Johnson enjoyed a 7-0 run to earn a narrow lead early in the second quarter, but Dylan Curry and Bryson Jones knocked down back-to-back treys that supported a 13-0 West Hall run.

The Spartans led by nine at the break and scored 28 points in the third quarter.

FLOWERY BRANCH BOYS 61, CHESTATEE 50: The War Eagles (0-10) gave the Falcons (7-5) all they could handle for three quarters, but a big final period launched Flowery Branch to victory.

The Falcons will move on to play West Hall in the semifinals at 7:30 p.m. today at East Hall. Chestatee falls into the consolation bracket and will face Johnson at 1:30 p.m. today at East Hall.

After the third quarter, Chestatee led 39-29.

Flowery Branch more than doubled its score by outscoring the War Eagles 32-11 in the fourth.

“We made shots. I don’t know what else to say,” Flowery Branch coach David Sokol said. “It’s really that simple. We had Trey Bailey have some and-ones and get some offensive rebounds.

“In the first three quarters, I thought they did a great job, Chestatee,” Sokol said. “We lost our confidence shooting the ball with our shooters. Those guys that hit them in the fourth quarter usually hit them to get us started.”

Guard John Mills knocked down three consecutive shots behind the arc and made all four attempts from the foul line on his way to 15 points in the fourth and a game-high total of 24.

Bailey was the only other player for the Falcons in double-digits as he was 3 of 5 from the line and scored eight points in the second half for 13 on the night.

The War Eagles trailed 25-24 at halftime, but outscored Flowery Branch 15-4 in the third to take the 10-point lead before the final quarter.

Cooper Wilson scored all nine of his points in the first half to help Chestatee keep it close.

Donovan Hernandez had nine points after the break and a team-high 13 in the game.

Also for the War Eagles, Logan Cates scored 10 points over the final two periods and had 12 points on the night.

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