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North Hall girls, Gainesville to meet in Lanierland championship
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Lakeview Academy’s Daniele Morgan, from left, and Kaylee McCLendon guard driving Trojan Taylor Anna Kelley in the semi-finals of the Lanierland tournament at Lakeview Academy Friday night. - photo by Nat Gurley | The Times

Pinpoint accuracy from the 3-point line is doing wonders for the North Hall girls basketball team.

The Lady Trojans sank 12 shots from beyond arc in their 63-43 win over Lakeview Academy in the Lanierland Tournament semifinals on Friday, earning them a spot in Saturday’s championship game.

North Hall unloaded seven 3-pointers in the first half to take a massive early lead that created enough of an advantage to hold off a more productive Lady Lions team in the second half.

“We came out with a fast start, then we hit that lull in the second quarter,” North Hall coach Kristi House said. “We were able to pick it up defensively toward the end.”

The Lady Trojans, who last won a Lanierland title in 2009, face Gainesville in the finals at 7 p.m. Saturday. The Lady Red Elephants defeated Chestatee on Friday night to advance.

Sadie Cleveland scored a team-high 19 points for the Lady Trojans, providing three 3-pointers on the night.

North Hall got four more long-range baskets from Kenzi Gillespie (15 points), while Sydney Cleveland controlled the paint for 10 points.

By the final buzzer, nine different players represented the Lady Trojans in the points column on the stat sheet.

“We have a lot of kids who work really hard on their skills,” House said. “Any given night, we’re waiting to see who’s going to show up and play well offensively.”

North Hall’s stellar first half was highlighted by a 19-4 lead after the first quarter. The Lady Trojans hit five 3-pointers and held Lakeview scoreless through the first seven minutes of the period.

Down 31-15 at halftime, Lakeview outscored North Hall 17-10 in the third to get within eight of the Lady Trojans. The Lady Lions took a 41-32 deficit into the fourth.

North Hall caught fire from the 3-point line again, knocking down three more in the fourth to outscore Lakeview 22-11 the rest of the way and secure the win.

Hanna Grogan led Lakeview with 14 points. The Lady Lions face Chestatee for third place in the tournament at 4 p.m. Saturday.

GAINESVILLE GIRLS 41, CHESTATEE 27: Taylor Hawks scored 15 points as the Lady Red Elephants clinched the tournament finals with a win over top seed and the defending Lanierland champion Lady War Eagles.

Kayla Kelly contributed 11 points for Gainesville, while adding a team-high four rebounds.

“Kayla made the difference in our team win,” Lady Red Elephants coach Brenda Hill-Gilmore said.
“We did some good things and we made some mistakes, but we’re young. They played hard, they love to win and they love to fight.”

Gainesville can win its first Lanierland girls title since 2011 with a win Saturday.

“North Hall is a really good team,” Hill-Gilmore said. “We know who their shooters are. We can’t worry about them — we have to stick to what we do well. It should be an exciting game.”

Gainesville turned a 8-7 first-quarter deficit into a 22-10 halftime lead with a 14-0 run to close out the second quarter. Tamia Rucker opened the run with a 3-pointer at the 4:28 mark, and the Lady Red Elephants didn’t allow a Chestatee basket the rest of the period.

The defense took over in the fourth quarter after the Lady War Eagles cut Gainesville’s lead to nine through three quarters. Chestatee struggled to break the press and was held to just four points the rest of the way.

“Our press is our bread and butter — we take pride in it,” Hill-Gilmore said. “We know we’re going to give up some things, but we’re going to get some good things out of it as well.”

Only three players accounted for all of the Lady War Eagles’ scoring. Bridgette Kelly tallied 15 points and Savanna Long added nine.

WEST HALL BOYS 62, NORTH HALL 48: Hunter Atkinson scored 22 points as the Spartans successfully held off a third-quarter rally by the Trojans in Friday’s consolation semifinal game.

West Hall took a 34-24 lead into halftime, but North Hall roared back with an 18-point third that put the Trojans within one point with a minute left in the period. They settled for a 46-42 deficit entering the fourth.

The Spartans took full control from there, outscoring North Hall 16-6 the rest of the way.
Tyquan Statham scored 14 points, including 10 in the second half, to go along with his nine rebounds. Nic Sullens added 10 points. Evan Easton led North Hall with 14.

West Hall faces Lakeview in the fifth-place game at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Lakeview Academy.

LAKEVIEW ACADEMY BOYS 50, FLOWERY BRANCH 47: Tre Gober hit a tiebreaking 3-pointer from the corner with 5.9 seconds remaining to lift the Lions to a consolation bracket win.

The shot highlighted a 15-point, seven-rebound night for Gober. Tae Turner also reached double figures with 10 points.

Lakeview trailed 28-27 at half but only fell behind two more times midway through the fourth quarter. Neither instances lasted long.

Flowery Branch tied the game at 47 with 40 seconds remaining on a layup by Cody Dewing. Gober’s shot broke the tie, and an equalizing 3-point attempt at the buzzer by Taylor Bourdage bounced off the rim.

Hunter Konuszewski led the Falcons with 11 points and six rebounds.
Lakeview faces West Hall in the fifth-place game. Flowery Branch plays North Hall in the seventh-place game 11:30 a.m. Saturday.

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