West Hall junior Hunter Atkinson has a feeling Friday’s 59-41 win over White County was just the boost the team needed to start the second half of a difficult Region 7-AAA schedule.
The Spartans (8-9, 4-4) came close in some big region games earlier, staying in contention late before falling to Dawson County and Buford.
“We just did some of the little things wrong in some games earlier,” Atkinson said. “This win is big for us going into the second half.”
West Hall’s win also put an end to a four-game skid in region play, against East Hall, North Hall, Buford and Dawson County. West Hall coach Warren Sellers says with the improved execution shown Friday in Oakwood, he feels his squad can hopefully beat some of those same teams in the upcoming rematches as the regular season starts to wind down.
Right now, it’s all about improving that seeding for the Region 7-AAA tournament.
“I feel like we’re getting better and this win against White County gives us some confidence,” Sellers said. “We’ve played better these last two weeks, it just didn’t show up on the scoreboard.”
Atkinson set the tone early for West Hall, scoring 11 of his game-high 20 points in the opening quarter. His inside presence opened up the outside shot for his teammates, highlighted by the three third-quarter 3-pointers, which accounted for all nine points on the night, by Grayson Tyler.
Deandre Peoples and Tyswon Cantrell (10 points) each knocked down a 3-pointer for the Spartans in the second quarter to take a 30-14 lead late in the first half.
“Hunter throws a great outlet pass,” Sellers said. “He’s gaining confidence out there on the floor.”
Tyler’s third and final 3-pointer of the game gave West Hall its biggest lead at 51-27 in the final seconds of the third quarter.
For White County (8-10, 2-6), Dalton Whitfield had a team-high eight points to go with six rebounds. With West Hall leading 8-2 early in the first quarter, Rand Rowland (seven points) completed a 6-0 Warriors run with a basket inside. Atkinson scored on the next trip down the court for West Hall, and it led for the remainder of the night.
West Hall visits Fannin County at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in Blue Ridge. White County plays host to Dawson County at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in Cleveland.
WHITE COUNTY GIRLS 46, WEST HALL 39: Sara Black hit back-to-back 3-pointers early in the fourth quarter for the Lady Warriors (11-7, 4-4 Region 7-AAA) on Friday. After Black’s two 3-pointers and leading 34-26, Brooke Helton scored the next four points for White County on a lay-up, then a pair of free throws the next time down the court.
Cassie Carter and Riley Slaton each tied for a team-high with nine points each for the Lady Warriors.
For West Hall (7-10, 2-6), Jensen Hall scored a game-high 19 points. She finished with six 3-pointers, three of those in the third quarter. Hall hit a 3-pointer in both the second and third quarter that tied the score. Her third and final 3-pointer of the third quarter cut White County’s lead to 28-26 going into the fourth period.
Kaelyn Gattis finished with 10 points and eight blocked shots for the Lady Spartans.