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Lanierland: East Hall, Johnson boys open with blowout wins
Chestatee, Gainesville also advance to second round
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Johnson's Roderick English, left, contests a shot by Flowery Branch's Taylor Bourdage in the opening round of Lanierland on Saturday at West Hall High. - photo by Jared Putnam

Following Tylor Brown’s best performance in an East Hall uniform, Vikings coach Joe Dix raved about how composed his talented junior looked.

No rushing, no forcing shots.

Just smart, refined scoring.

“He’s played well before, but he was lights out today,” Dix said.

Brown scored a season-high 26 points, including nine in the third quarter, to help East Hall rout North Hall 80-44 in the first round of the Lanierland Tournament Saturday evening at West Hall High School.

No. 2-seeded East Hall (8-1) will play Gainesville in Monday’s Lanierland semifinal at Chestatee High School. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.

The win was never in doubt for Dix’s team, which was aggressive on both ends of the court and held North Hall (6-5) to just six points in the final eight minutes.

Leading by five in the second quarter, East Hall scored 19 points before the half, including two emphatic dunks by senior

Kyvon Davenport (13 points) to give the Vikings their first significant lead.

Brown even had the chance to score a few style points himself in his 2014 Lanierland debut.

Davenport’s outlet pass one minute into the second half found Brown with just one defender near the basket. Brown took the time to slow his momentum, pull a 360 degree spin juke and make the simple layup for the Vikings’ biggest lead of the night.

Pure composure.

Luke Cooper and Tristian Cooper added nine points each for the Vikings.

“I haven’t played like this for a long time,” Brown said. “So it’s great to come back and do this.”

Dix said Brown is just reaching his potential after a broken ankle last year forced Brown out of basketball in his sophomore year. 

With the guard back on the court, East Hall (8-1) is in prime position to challenge Gainesville in Monday’s Lanierland semifinal at Chestatee High School.

And if Brown can replicate his performance against the Red Elephants, he’ll be leading the charge.

Brown rattled off four straight field goals to open the second half, including three straight to build on a 23-point advantage with a minute left in the third.

The junior’s hot streak was a part of a 9-0 East Hall run to enter the fourth and push the Viking lead to 63-38.

“The big issue is that he was going 100 miles an hour all the time, but today, he was so in control,” Dix said of Brown.

“We’ve talked openly of sharing the ball and being that team of sharing the ball, looking for each other and we were that team tonight.”

East Hall had built a 12-3 lead early in the first, capped off by the first of Davenport’s two dunks of the night. Two uncontested baskets by North Hall’s Harrison Lovell and back to back treys by Sam Jackson and Carson Heinen cut the

lead to two heading into the pivotal second quarter.

That’s when Brown, steady and composed from just outside the paint, made his patience count. Brown said he’s not satisfied until he can play on Tuesday in the final.

“I’ll be happy when we win that championship,” he said.

JOHNSON BOYS 75, FLOWERY BRANCH 52: Ty Cockfield launched six 3-pointers in an aerial assault of No. 8 seed Flowery Branch (5-6) Saturday night at the Lanierland Tournament.

Cockfield (33 points) beat his chest and screamed into the air after almost every trey as the senior put on a show of force ahead of Monday’s semifinal matchup against Chestatee High School. Tipoff is scheduled for 8:30 p.m.

He scored four of his 3-pointers in the first half to help the Knights (10-0) to a 42-22 halftime lead. The senior set up an early nine-point lead just seconds into the second quarter when he finished off a flowing movement between DeMonte Nicholson and Roderick English (15 points) to finish with an emphatic dunk.

Andrew Sims (6 points), Ladarius Odem (4 points), English and Cockfield combined for a 16-2 run to blow the lead open late in the first half as Johnson romped to an easy first-round victory.

Taylor Bourdage (17 points) hit two back-to-back treys to cut the lead to 21 with 4:14 remaining in the game, but a Cockfield dunk and an English layup restored order to the blowout.

GAINESVILLE BOYS 77, LAKEVIEW ACADEMY 63: Red Elephants junior D’Marcus Simonds scored 35 points, including 13 on fourth quarter baskets, in the first round of the Lanierland on Saturday at West Hall.

Simonds didn’t have any dunks, like he typically comes away with. However, his vertical leaping ability and touch on his shots in the paint was just as valuable.

“There’s a misconception out there that D’Marcus is out there just looking to make the highlight reel play,” Gainesville coach Benjie Wood said. “He wants to win the game first.”

With the victory, Gainesville (11-0) advances to face the East Hall/North Hall winner in the winner’s bracket at 5:30 p.m. Monday at Chestatee.

Simonds’ baskets were the final counter attack needed after the Lions drew to within 3 points in the third quarter. Lakeview’s Tre Gober hit his fourth basket of the third quarter with 2:50 remaining to narrow Gainesville’s lead to 47-44.

The Lions didn’t stop battling, despite trailing 10-0 early in the game. Lakeview Academy (7-3) slowly started to carve away at the deficit. Tae Turner knocked down 3-pointers twice in the second quarter for the Lions, who got to as close as 32-30 of Gainesville in the second quarter.

The Red Elephants never trailed after their big run early in the game.

Wood commended Simonds for his effort to pass the ball first late in the game, knowing that Lakeview would be so heavily focused on stopping his shots. K.J. Buffen and Sam Carpenter each finished with 10 for the Red Elephants.

Turner and Gober each scored 15 for Lakeview Academy. With the loss, the Lions will face the North Hall/East Hall loser in the consolation round at 10:30 a.m. Monday at Chestatee.

CHESTATEE BOYS 56, WEST HALL 36: Fueled by Caleb Jameson’s three 3-pointers in the opening quarter, and Jordan Pulliam’s 11 second-quarter points, the War Eagles (8-4) rolled to a first-round win in the Lanierland Saturday at West Hall.

With the win, Chestatee advances to face Johnson in the winner’s bracket at 8:30 p.m. Monday at Chestatee.
Jameson finished with a game-high 17 for Chestatee, which lead for 20 by halftime. Pulliam finished with 16 for the War Eagles.

Mikey Petraroi scored 11 for the War Eagles.

Bryson Jones scored a team-high 12 for West Hall (2-7). With the loss, the Spartans move on to face Flowery Branch in the consolation round at 1:30 p.m. Monday at Chestatee.

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