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Trojans go out on top
North Hall boys rally to go unbeaten in subregion
Lumpkin County High’s Shawn Chapman tries to block a shot made by North Hall High’s Ethan Satterfield during a game at Lumpkin County High School in Dahlonega Friday. - photo by SARA GUEVARA | The Times
DAHLONEGA — North Hall didn’t need to win Friday night against Lumpkin County. The Trojans had the subregion championship wrapped up two weeks ago.

With the desire of a team out to prove it’s worth, however, North Hall overcame a 10-point deficit and a hot-shooting Lumpkin County squad en route to a 61-56 win in Dahlonega.

“I can’t put into words how proud of my guys I am,” North Hall coach Benjie Wood said. “Their attitudes were amazing. They persevered, stayed poised and stuck to the gameplan.”

The Indians (13-10, 8-4 Region 7A-AAA) came out firing from beyond the arc, hitting 5-of-6 3-pointers en route to a 10-point lead.

E.J. Young hit two of those 3-pointers and senior Devin Dunson hit three, accounting for the only field goals by Lumpkin County in the first quarter.

Young finished with 12 points and Dunson with nine.

“We played well in the first half,” Wood said. “They just shot it extremely well.”

North Hall’s defensive intensity picked up in the second quarter. The Trojans limited the Indians’ looks from the 3-point line, holding them to just nine points, six from senior center Shawn Chapman.

The Trojans also found their niche offensively, going on a 9-2 run that included three 3-pointers, to close the Indians’ lead to three points.

The momentum built by North Hall at the end of the second quarter took a slight hit at the start of the third as Lumpkin quickly jumped out to an eight-point lead.

Rather than use that as a deterrent, North Hall adjusted once again, going on a 14-6 run capped by a Nathan Jones steal and Chris Barnes layup to tie the game at 41.

Barnes had six of his 13 points to spark the Trojans run.

With one minute and 10 seconds remaining in the third quarter, North Hall took its first lead of the game thanks to the play of rarely-used reserve Zach Pendley.

Pendley played all of three minutes in the game but made an impact, stealing the ball on one end and then receiving a pass down low from Ethan Satterfield to give his team the lead for good.

Lumpkin County tied the game three times over the course of the final nine minutes, but North Hall handled it each time.

With three minutes remaining, Austin Tolbert was fouled on a drive and hit two free throws to knot the score at 49. The Trojans responded with a 5-0 run capped by a Chase Syfan 3-pointer.

With 30 seconds remaining, the Indians pulled within two on a Tolbert 3-pointer off an inbounds play. Once again the Trojans withstood and responded finishing the game on a 3-0 run to get the win.

“This game just reinforced the character of this basketball team,” Wood said. “They play for each other and truly just want to go out there and do that every game.”

Both North Hall and Lumpkin County have first-round byes in the region tournament. North Hall will play the winner of Pickens vs. East Hall at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at North Hall. Lumpkin will take on the winner of Flowery Branch vs. White County at 6 p.m. Thursday at Gainesville.

North Hall girls 60, Lumpkin County 47

The Lady Trojans withstood a 32-point, eight-rebound performance by Lumpkin’s Ashley Brown to get the win Friday night in Dahlonega.

The quick start by North Hall (8-16, 5-8 Region 7A-AAA), which resulted in a 18-7 lead after the first quarter, proved to be the difference as the teams were neck-and-neck for the rest of the game. The Lady Trojans outscoring the Lady Indians (4-19, 2-10) by only two points over the next three quarters.

McKenna Rushton led North Hall with 16 points. Taylor Swoszowski added nine points and Mary Kate Rushton had eight.

North Hall will play West Forsyth in the first round of the region tournament at 5 p.m. Monday at East Hall. Lumpkin County will play Flowery Branch in the first round at 7:30 p.m. Monday at Chestatee.
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