GAINESVILLE — A lackadaisical first quarter had Gainesville boys basketball coach Jerry Davis fuming and his team down by four points to the second-to-last team in the Region 7B-AAA standings.
A second-quarter turn around, thanks to an aggressive half-court trapping defense led to turnovers and easy buckets and put the Red Elephants in control for good in a 64-47 win Friday night in Gainesville.
“The first quarter we weren’t putting any pressure on the ball we were just letting them pass and move where they wanted to,” said Davis, who picked up win No. 702 in his final regular season game on the bench. “The second quarter we put pressure on them and ran double (trapping defense) some and got in their face a little bit and made them make decisions while on the move.”
Due to a West Hall win over Johnson on Friday night, Gainesville will be the No. 3 seed heading into next weeks Region 7-AAA tournament and, as a result, will play at 8:30 p.m. Monday against Gilmer at West Hall High School.
With the loss, West Foryth remains a No. 5 seed and will play at 5:30 p.m. Monday against White County.
Gainesville (13-11, 6-4) outscored West Forsyth (7-18, 3-7) 15-2 in the decisive second quarter.
The Wolverines jumped out to an early 6-3 lead due, in large part, to the inability of Gainesville to get around high screens, which allowed West Forsyth to curl from the free throw line to the basket and get wide open layups.
The Wolverines were led by Kris Drees who finished with 14 points and Michael Moch who added 12.
Gainesville got as close at two points in the first quarter, thanks to a Graham Williams 3-pointer from the corner but wouldn’t get any closer.
Midway through the second quarter the Red Elephants cut West Forsyth’s lead to one point on a Trey Edmondson steal and feed to Nick Johnson for a layup, then took their first lead on their subsequent possession when Ty Redmon fed Edmondson who hit a layup.
“Edmondson’s come on lately and played well,” Davis said.
The two baskets, scored within 14 seconds of each other, sparked the 15-2 second-quarter run that gave Gainesville a nine-point lead heading into halftime.
The Red Elephants took their first double-digit lead, at 35-24, four minutes into the second half on a free throw by George Manomano and kept the lead above ten for the duration of the game.
Gainesville was led by Nick Johnson with 14 points and Manomano and Gerald Ford who both added eight.
“I thought we played well when we put the pressure on,” Davis said. “We had some unnecessary turnovers, but that is something we can fix. All around, I was pleased with the game tonight.
“I feel really good about our chances heading into the region tournament,” Davis added. “I knew this would be an up and down year but I thought we could be a team that would give people trouble at tournament time and I think we still can.”
Gainesville girls 64, West Forsyth 28
Led by sophomore center Jaymee Carnes, who finished the game with 19 points on 7-of-13 shooting, the Lady Red Elephants finished the regular season where they started, undefeated in Region 7B-AAA play.
Carnes, who added 10 rebounds, and four blocks, set the pace for her team in the first quarter, scoring Gainesville’s first eight points.
Another of the Lady Red Elephants joined the scoring fray five minutes into the first quarter when junior Madison Strickland hit a close-in bank shot.
The scoring pace set by Carnes in the first quarter permeated the remainder of the team by the second quarter and Gainesville didn’t let up, going up by 25 points at halftime and 32 by the end of the third quarter.
Other than Carnes’ standout performance, the Lady Red Elephants were led by freshman shooting guard Mikelyn DeFoor who finished with 10 points.
Gainesville will enter the Region 7-AAA tournament as a No. 1 seed and will play the winner of Monday’s Flowery Branch-Chestatee matchup at 7 p.m. Tuesday at North Hall High.
West Forsyth plays at 7 p.m. Monday against the No. 3 seed from Region 7A-AAA, North Hall at North Hall High.