The Gainesville Red Elephants stomped through the region finals Saturday night at Chestatee High, taking home both trophies in a championship sweep.
In the girls’ game, a 46-39 win against East Hall, the Lady Red Elephants lived their mantra, “Defense, hustle, teamwork,” while winning their second straight region title.
Gainesville held East Hall to its second lowest point total of the season, scrapped for every loose ball, while blocking nine Lady Vikings’ shots and getting scoring contributions from all seven players who saw action.
Jaymee Carnes led all scorers with 17 points and eight rebounds. Keela Griffin and Mikalyn DeFoor each added six points.
East Hall pulled within one point with just under two minutes remaining when Haley Chapman capped a 7-0 run with her only 3-pointer of the game.
It was as close as the Lady Vikings would get, however, as Gainesville opened the fourth on a 7-1 run and closed it going 10-of-17 from the free throw line to get the win.
DeFoor led the way going 6-of-10 from the charity stripe.
“We think we have the best player in the region,” Gainesville coach Manson Hill said. “But we’ve never been the star system.
“Each girl contributed in their own special way. It was just a great team effort.”
The Lady Vikings were led by Symone Hampton with 10 points and Jasmine Jenkins with eight.
“East Hall is a very good basketball team,” Hill said. “It makes it more special to win region when you play a tough opponent.”
With the win, Gainesville earned the No. 1 seed out of Region 7-AAA in the state playoffs. The Lady Red Elephants will play host to Hart County, the No. 4 seed out of Region 8-AAA on Friday in the first round of the playoffs.
East Hall, which is the No. 2 seed out of Region 7-AAA, will play host to Elbert County which is the No. 3 seed out of Region 8-AAA.
In the nightcap, the Gainesville boys used a 13-0 run that stretched over six minutes of the third and fourth quarters to beat West Hall 57-46 and win region.
Gainesville was led by senior George Manomano who scored 22 points, including three 3-pointers. Juwon Jeffries contributed 17 points, 10 in the fourth quarter, for the Red Elephants.
“I’m really happy for the kids,” said first-year Gainesville coach Todd Cottrell. “It’s been neat to watch them grow as a team this year.”
West Hall held a seven-point lead in the first quarter thanks to five straight by Kavon Williams and four points by Rodney Gibson, who finished with nine points and nine rebounds. Shunquez Stephens led West Hall with 11 points. Kyle Weatherly added 10 points.
It also helped that West Hall held Gainesville without a basket for the better part of three minutes.
Despite being outrebounded 13-1 in the second quarter, Gainesville was down only two points because of a Manomano up-and-under layup as the halftime buzzer sounded.
An 8-2 Gainesville run to start the third quarter put the Red Elephants ahead for good and was the catalyst for the program’s first region title in two years.
Gainesville, which is now the No. 1 seed out of Region 7-AAA, will play host to Eastside, the No. 4 seed out of Region 8-AAA on Saturday in the first round of the state playoffs.
“It’s a new season,” Cottrell said. “I think our league is going to do very well in state.”
West Hall, now the No. 2 seed out of 7-AAA will play host to Hart County, the No. 3 seed out of 8-AAA.
Flowery Branch boys 68, North Hall 63 OT
Josh Barrett led the Falcons with 20 points, seven in overtime, in their win Saturday in the third place game of the Region 7-AAA Tournament at Chestatee High.
Ethan Satterfield hit a layup with 20 seconds left in regulation to send the game into overtime. He then participated in North Hall’s team defense clinic, which included a Kanler Coker block out of helpside on a Barrett layup, holding Flowery Branch without a score in the final 20 seconds.
Satterfield and Chris Barnes led North Hall with 14 points each.
Flowery Branch, which faced a 10-point deficit at the half, outscored North Hall 15-10 in the overtime period to get the win.
Brian Welchel added 17 points for Flowery Branch which, with its No. 3 seed, will travel to Elbert County on Saturday in the first round of the playoffs. Ishmael Hollis contributed 18 points and 17 rebounds for the Falcons.
North Hall will travel to Franklin County on Saturday to take on the No. 1 seed out of Region 8-AAA in the first round of the playoffs.
Gilmer girls 67, Chestatee 48
Despite staying within one point of Gilmer through the first quarter, and leading by as much as three in the second, the Lady Bobcats proved to be too much for Chestatee this time.
The Lady Bobcats took a seven-point lead with two minutes left in the first half after a 9-0 run capped by a Ashley Waters 3-pointer and never looked back.
Chestatee managed to pull back within three points with a 5-0 run late in the second quarter, but a Kylie Smith offensive rebound and putback at the buzzer gave Gilmer the momentum it needed to carry it through the second half and to a win Saturday night at Chestatee High.
With the win, Gilmer will be the No. 3 seed out of Region 7-AAA and travel to Stephens County, the No. 2 seed out of Region 8-AAA, on Friday in the first round of the Class AAA state playoffs. Chestatee will be the No. 4 seed and will travel to Franklin County, the No. 1 seed out of Region 8-AAA.
Gilmer was led by Sarah Jones with 25 points including six three pointers. Kylie Smith added 15 points for the Lady Bobcats and Waters had 10.
Chestatee was led by Peyton Robertson with 17 points and nine rebounds and Melissa Bailey and Chelsea Wilson who each added 11 points.