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Lanierland: Gainesville holds off Johnson
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Led by Jaymee Carnes’ 27 points, Gainesville made it through the first round of the Jackson EMC Lanierland Basketball Tournament beating Johnson 53-43 Saturday night. Carnes came up big down the stretch, scoring 11 in the fourth quarter, while grabbing three defensive rebounds and one offensive rebound.

Despite a sluggish start by the Lady Red Elephants, and a beginning of the game in which Johnson made four of its first five shots, Gainesville went into halftime with a four-point lead.

An assist by Loren Thomas to a cutting Mikalyn DeFoor for a layup, followed by a rebound and put back by senior Hailey Solomon off a missed Loren Thomas free throw gave Gainesville the advantage and, seemingly, the momentum.

Johnson, however, came out in the second half much the same way it did in the first half, shooting.

The Lady Knights opened with a basket by Ansley Benefield to cut Gainesville’s lead to two and, despite a Carnes layup making it a four-point game again, pulled back within two after a Shekeria Cooper steal and layup. Cooper finished with a team-high 12 points and Jordan Gustavel added 10 for the Lady Knights.

Gainesville came back on its ensuing possession to push the lead to five on a Kiki Thompson 3-pointer.

The Lady Red Elephants finished the third quarter on a 6-0 run to give them the biggest lead of the night at nine, 34-25.

Gainesville continued to build on its lead by hitting six of its first seven shots from the field in the fourth quarter and hitting its first 5-of-7 from the free-throw line.

Carnes managed to keep Johnson from getting much-needed offensive rebounds in the final period and, herself, was 4-for-4 from the free-throw line.

With the win Gainesville moves on to play North Hall in the semifinals of Lanierland on Friday at East Hall High. Johnson will play a consolation game against Chestatee, who earlier in the night lost to East Hall, Tuesday at Johnson High.

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