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North Hall opens region tourney with convincing win
North Hall's Madison Copeland, left, and Mary Kate Rushton, right, leap in attempt to block Gainesville High's Tiarra Hill's volley during their Thursday night match at the North Hall gymnasium during the Region 8-AAA tournament.

After sitting in the stands during top-seeded Oconee County’s dominating and quick win over Lanier, North Hall coach Emi Hughes wanted to show the fans in attendance that her Lady Trojans were just as good.

They certainly did that.

The No. 2 seed Lady Trojans cruised to a 2-0 win over Gainesville on Thursday and advanced to play Eastside in the second round of the Region 8-AAA tournament.

“That was huge for us,” Hughes said. “We wanted to make a statement, and we did.”

Doing so against their rivals made it all the more special.

“That’s a rivalry game, so that made it fun,” Hughes added.

Kathryn Bell led the Lady Trojans with eight assists and eight aces, while Madison Copeland chipped in with two kills and a block and Tess Patton adding three kills and two blocks.

“North Hall’s a very solid team,” Gainesville coach Clay McDonald said. “We need to focus on the things that got us here.

“Our record is not indicative of how much we’ve improved,” he added. “I feel like we can play and compete with some teams in this tournament.”

Katelyn Whelchel and Tiarra Hill each had two kills for Gainesville, which beat Monroe Area 2-1 in the play-in game. Hill had six kills and Daphne Ragone added four aces in the win. Gainesville plays Johnson at noon Saturday in the loser’s bracket.

WEST HALL 2, CHESTATEE 1: Stephanie Rowland and Tonya Bennett each had six kills to lead the Lady Spartans to a win in the first round. Laykin Herford had 19 assists and Nicolette Ashley added 25 digs and four aces for West Hall, which plays top-seed Oconee County on Saturday in the second round.
Melissa Bailey had 12 kills, Jennifer Hill had 16 assists and Lindsey Neece had four blocks for Chestatee.

CHESTATEE 2, MONROE AREA 1: Bailey had 12 kills and Hill had 16 assists to lead the Lady War Eagles over Monroe Area in the loser’s bracket of the tournament. Rebecca Vinke added three kills and two aces for Chestatee.

EASTSIDE 2, JOHNSON 1: Caitlin Sloan had nine kills, Kellsie Brisbois had 11 digs and Brittney Mimbs had six assists and four aces in the Lady Knights’ opening-round loss.
Savannah Turk added four aces for Johnson.

JOHNSON 2, WALNUT GROVE 1: Playing their first game in the loser’s bracket, Mimbs had six aces, nine assists and six digs to help keep the Lady Knights’ season alive. Sloan had seven kills and Turk added four kills and 11 digs for Johnson, which plays Gainesville at noon Saturday.

CHESTATEE 2, LANIER 0: Kellen Richards had a seven-point service run in the first game to lead the Lady War Eagles past Lanier in the loser’s bracket of the tournament. Bailey had 11 kills for Chestatee, which plays the loser of the Eastside/North Hall game Saturday.

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