The game got off to a slow start for the West Hall girls basketball team, but eventually the team was able to get things going and pull off a 47-39 win against Jackson County Comprehensive High on Thursday night at West Hall High.
The slow start was something that Lady Spartans’ head coach Lynn Jarrett was concerned with prior to the game.
"The last two practices we’ve had we haven’t been as intense as we needed to be," said the head coach. "I don’t think we were as sharp as we need to be. But I was proud of the girls, they were able to do what we had to do to win."
After scoring 19 first-half points (on 8-of-22 shooting), the Lady Spartans (7-3 overall, 2-2 in Region 7A-AAA) came out of the third quarter on fire, scoring 14 points, while missing only five shots.
Senior Jayla Moon led the Lady Spartans in the third quarter by scoring nine points. Moon ended the night with 22 points and seven rebounds.
"We’re going to get the ball to Moon every chance we get," said Jarrett. "Jackson County did a good job of stopping her early on, but we were able to get her some looks later in the game."
According to Jackson County’s head coach Chad Pittman, his game plan to stop Moon was real simple: Deny her the ball. While the Lady Panthers were able to do that early in the game, they were not able to accomplish that game plan for the entire 32 minutes.
"I didn’t want us to have to fight for position with her, I just wanted to deny her the ball," said Pittman. "When we did that it was great, when we didn’t it was ugly."
Despite the big third quarter from West Hall, the Lady Panthers (4-6, 2-1 in Region 8-AAAA) showed that they would not go away easily, scoring 13 third-quarter points and looking at a two-point deficit going into the final period.
The Lady Panthers went 7-for-8 from the free throw line in the third quarter to keep it close.
The two teams were separated by only one point midway through the fourth quarter, but the youth of Jackson County eventually showed, as the Lady Panthers committed four consecutive turnovers down the stretch to allow the Lady Spartans to take the lead for good.
The Lady Spartans sealed the victory by hitting eight of the 13 free throws they attempted in the fourth quarter.
Besides the big game from Moon, West Hall got a strong performance out of Kim Smigelsley, who scored 13 points.
Jackson County was led by freshman Breanna Drew, who scored 18 points and grabbed six rebounds in the losing effort. Drew was responsible for seven of the eight points scored by the Lady Panthers in the fourth quarter.
West Hall boys’ 68, Jackson County 36
Holding a seven point lead coming out of the half, the Spartans (6-4, 0-0) went on a 19-2 run to start the third quarter and outscored the Panthers 32-4 in the period en route to a 68-36 win Thursday night.
Jackson County (3-7, 1-3 in Region 8-AAAA) committed 15 turnovers in the third quarter and attempted only 10 shots.
The Spartans had 20 assists on 25 field goals in the victory.
West Hall was led by Derek Weatherly’s 14 points and six rebounds and Willie Morales, who scored 11 points, including three 3-pointers for the Spartans.
Jackson County was led by Joseph Smith’s 13 points.
Dawson County boys 53, Forsyth Central 41
The Dawson County High boys basketball team won its third consecutive game with a win against Class AAAAA Forsyth Central on Thursday night in Cumming.
Dawson County was in control of the game early with a 15-2 lead after the first quarter.
Zach Cook and Robert O’Quinn led the scoring for the Tigers (6-5, 0-1 Region 8-AA) with 15 points each.
Lee Little scored 14 for Dawson County.
Dawson County visits Commerce in the Commerce Christmas tournament at 8:30 p.m. on Dec. 28 in Commerce.
East Hall boys 89, Pickens 42
The Vikings (6-1) won their final tune-up before heading to the Tampa Prep Classic on Dec. 26 in Tampa. East Hall dominated the Dragons from the start with a 25-11 lead after the first period, and doubled its lead to 50-22 by halftime.
Trevor Bishop, a senior, led East Hall with 20 points and Dedric Ware added 12 for the Vikings. Sterling Bailey scored eight for East Hall.
North Hall girls 55, Johnson 37
Letiecia Davenport led the Lady Trojans (7-1) with 17 points on Thursday night at North Hall. Anna Porras added 10 for North Hall. Lady Trojans senior point guard Elizabeth Williams had 15 assists, four points and three steals.
North Hall led throughout with an 18-5 lead after the first period. The Lady Trojans took a 34-13 lead into halftime.
Jordan Gustavel led the Lady Knights (0-9) with 16 points.
North Hall plays Monroe Area in the Oconee County High Christmas tournament on Dec. 27 in Watkinsville. Johnson plays host to Chestatee at 7 p.m. tonight in Oakwood.