The East Hall and Gainesville boys basketball teams appear to be ships headed in different directions.
The Vikings (12-4) defeated the Red Elephants 80-67, for their sixth consecutive victory, Saturday night at Gainesville.
Those wins help erase any lingering memories of the three loses East Hall absorbed during a Christmas tournament played in Florida.
"I feel like our team is playing focused right now," East Hall coach Joe Dix said. "Our guys are playing with a purpose."
East Hall earned its win with four scorers in double digits, and a solid contribution from its bench players.
For the second night in a row, Dedric Ware led the Vikings with 15 points, five assists and four steals. Ken Wise added 11 points and 11 rebounds. Patrick Hoggard and Kiante Young each finished with 10 points for East Hall, and Trevor Bishop scored nine.
"That’s important for our team that our bench is playing well," Dix added. "We have some depth on this team."
On the other hand, the Red Elephants (7-8) are losers of three of their last four games going back to an overtime lose at North Hall.
Gainesville hopes to rebound quick with important sub-region games against Johnson and Flowery Branch on the schedule this week.
On Saturday, Gainesville’s main nemesis was the free-throw line shooting an abysmal 3-for-19 (16-percent) in the first half. It only got slightly better in the second half as the Red Elephants finished the game 8-for-26 (31-percent).
Red Elephants coach Jerry Davis now is going to look for a way to get his players back on track with the free throws.
"I don’t know what happened tonight, because we had been shooting free throws well," Davis said.
"I know we’re going to shoot a whole bunch at practice to try and get it corrected.
"I think we’ll be fine, our kids are resilient."
Bishop helped set the tone for the evening early with two three points in the early minutes against the Red Elephants. Ware added another 3-pointer to extend the Vikings’ lead to 16-3 with 5 minutes remaining in the opening period.
But a basket from senior Gerald Ford helped the Red Elephants narrow their deficit to 35-31 shortly before halftime. Gainesville’s George Manomano and Allan Dockery were also playing well inside with second-chance baskets.
Martin Estes led Gainesville with 18 points and Manomano added 16.
Dockery added eight and Ford scored seven before leaving with an ankle injury in the third quarter.
Wise helped secure East Hall’s win in the third period with a lay-up followed by a 3-pointer from Ware to push its lead back to 53-44.
East Hall plays host to North Hall at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday night. Gainesville plays host to Johnson at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
East Hall girls 42, Gainesville 40
The Lady Vikings (11-4) just returned the favor.
After losing the first head-to-head match-up of the season on Dec. 4 at Valhalla, East Hall managed to win on Saturday night at Gainesville.
Despite shooting poorly from the field, the Lady Vikings made enough shots late in the fourth quarter to come from behind to win. East Hall senior Sada Wheeler hit a jump shot off of a rebound to give the Lady Vikings the final lead, 39-38. On the next trip down the court Jessica Blackwell hit a pair of free throws to push East Hall’s lead to 41-38.
Blackwell finished the game with 12 points, four assist and two blocked shots. Wheeler had 12 points, six rebounds and two blocked shots. She also played well on defense forcing the Red Elephants into bad shots.
"It’s always a big game when Gainesville and East Hall get together," East Hall coach Joey Rider said. "It wasn’t a good night shooting for our team but we managed to fight through it and I think that says something about our team.
East Hall also got the best of the rebounding battle. The Lady Vikings finished the game with 29 rebounds (11 offensive rebounds).
Tierra Benton finished with nine points, nine rebounds and two blocked shots for the Lady Vikings. Equally as important is the way she managed to contain Gainesville’s sophomore post Jaymee Carnes, who only scored four points after getting into early foul trouble.
"Tierra did a very good job for us tonight," Rider added. "She’s hard to shoot over because she is so long."
Kiki Thompson and Taylor Ricketts each finished with nine points for Gainesville. Ricketts scored all over her points behind the three-point line, including one basket that gave the Lady Red Elephants a 34-32 lead with 5 minutes left to play.
East Hall entertains North Hall at 6 p.m. Tuesday. Gainesville plays host to Johnson at 6 p.m. Tuesday.