The Gainesville boys basketball team rode an offensive explosion Monday evening to a 78-50 win over Lakeview Academy in the first-round Lanierland matchup. The Red Elephants went over 20 points in each of the first two quarters of the game, racking up 44 first half points in the dominant win.
“We’ve been talking all week about coming out and playing hard and having that intensity once the game starts,” Gainesville coach Chuck Graham said after the game. “We’ve been slow starters up until this point. I was really pleased to see the guys come out with a different intensity level and a different mindset.”
Eli Pitts led the way for Gainesville offensively, scoring 12 points on the night. Lakeview’s Conley Millwood paced the Lions with 13 points.
The Red Elephants’ offensive production was steady and methodical throughout the opening half. Gainesville scored the first 8 points of the quarter off of quick-hitting layups and free throws to take an early lead. Lakeview Academy responded with a pair of 3s from Bodie Blackwell and Liam Weidner, but the momentum did not stay with the Lions for long. The Red Elephants responded with an 11-3 run that gave Gainesville its first double-digit lead of the contest right before the end of the first quarter.
The Red Elephants were even better on offense in the second frame, starting out with an emphatic dunk from Robert Reisman off a steal that set the tone for how the rest of the game would play out.
Gainesville ran off to a pair of 7-0 runs over the course of the second period and scored the last 5 points of the quarter to go on top 44-20 at halftime.
The Lions battled the Red Elephants to a relative stalemate in the third quarter, but the first half deficit was too much for Lakeview Academy to come back from.
Millwood hit on a pair of fourth-quarter 3-pointers that kept Gainesville from completely running away with things, but the Lions did not have the offensive firepower to ever mount a full comeback.
Up next, Gainesville faces Chestatee in the semifinals at 8 p.m. Tuesday.