North Hall boys basketball coach Benjie Wood didn't give the impression he was pleased with his team's performance in its 55-44 win against Lumpkin County on Wednesday in the Region 8-AAA tournament quarterfinals, even though the victory secured the Trojans a spot in the state playoffs next week.
"We survived," Wood said after the game at North Hall.
After winning, Wood was already thinking ahead to facing Franklin County, which notched a 50-47 win against Gainesville earlier in the night, at 5:30 p.m. Friday in the tournament semifinals at Gainesville.
"Franklin County has a good team, and that's a tough task trying to beat someone for the third time in the same season," Wood said.
After a sluggish first half against the Indians (3-24), North Hall opened things up substantially in the third quarter with an 11-0 run.
Tied 27-27, North Hall's (22-4) Imani Cross (eight points, six rebounds) started and finished the scoring run with baskets inside the paint.
Cross put the Trojans' lead into double-figures when he followed his own missed 3-pointer with a rebound and an open lay-up.
North Hall won the rebounding battle with a 28-19 advantage for the night.
Ebo Smith led the Trojans in scoring with 15 points, including a 3-pointer early in the fourth quarter to make their lead 27-23.
Early in the first quarter, Smith knocked down a basket and foul shot to complete a 3-point play and build a 9-0 lead for the Trojans.
Later in the first quarter, he knocked down another 3-pointer, then followed it up with an alley-oop dunk in the second quarter to keep North Hall out in front.
Even though Lumpkin County trailed big early, Devonte Anderson answered a pair of Trojans baskets early in the first, then added a 3-pointer late in the first quarter to make it just a five-point North Hall lead.
Jacob Haskel's 3-pointer late in the second quarter for Lumpkin County cut North Hall's lead down to 22-20 just before halftime.
Hunter Polk led the Indians with 15 points.
"That was not out best effort tonight," Smith said. "We were not smart with the ball, but we still got the win."
FRANKLIN COUNTY 50, GAINESVILLE 47: Lance White led the Red Elephants (16-10) with 18 points and Shaquan Cantrell added 12 in the tournament quarterfinals Wednesday at North Hall.
With the loss, Gainesville's season is now finished.
Trailing 49-44 with only :33 seconds remaining in the game, White knocked down a 3-pointer to put the Red Elephants within one basket.
Then after a timeout, Franklin County was whistled for having six players on the court, resulting in a technical foul.
However, Gainesville's player that went to the line missed both attempts and then the team missed its shot when it took possession after shooting free throws.
Tied 44-44 earlier in the fourth quarter, Franklin County's (19-7) Tomoreia McGlockling hit a 3-pointer followed by a pair of free throws on the next trip down the floor to build the team's biggest lead of the game at 49-44.
The Lions' leading scorer was Raquan Jones with 16 points to go along with 14 rebounds.
Three times in the third quarter he sank a basket and kept the lead going back and forth.