Lakeview Academy boys basketball coach Todd Cottrell knew Chestatee’s 3-point shooters would hit some shots throughout Thursday’s first-round Lanierland game.
But once his team settled down defensively, dealing with the War Eagles’ long-range threats became a much easier task.
Junior guard Adam Cottrell led all scorers with 20 points as the third-seeded Lions outlasted No. 6 seed Chestatee’s 3-point barrage and pulled away late for a 62-49 win at the Walters Athletic Center in Gainesville.
“We knew they were a good shooting team,” Todd Cottrell said. “You can simulate it in practice, but sometimes it takes a while to adjust when you see the real thing. Our closeouts weren’t good early, we let them catch the ball in rhythm and we didn’t run shooters off the line.”
The 3-point shooting of guards Cooper Wilson (17 points), Cameron Gwyn (15) and Donovan Hernandez (10) kept the War Eagles (4-9) in contention well into the fourth quarter of the fast-paced game. Chestatee trailed by seven points before Lakeview Academy (5-3) went on a game-clinching, 8-2 run.
The Lions, who received 11 points from junior guard KJ Millwood, sank 7 of 9 free throws in the final minutes to seal the win. Senior forward Alec Bornhost corralled 10 rebounds, while guards Jack Blackburn and Blake McIntyre dished out eight and six assists, respectively.
Lakeview Academy has a semifinal date with either No. 2 seed East Hall or seventh-seeded West Hall at 4:30 p.m. Friday at Flowery Branch High.
The War Eagles, meanwhile, are primed for a consolation contest at 10:30 a.m. Friday.
GAINESVILLE 107, JOHNSON 46: It was not a bad night to be a Red Elephant.
The reigning Hall County champs put a major dent in the scoreboard with its highest scoring mark since Lakeview Academy (104) in last year’s semifinal of Lanierland, and every single Gainesville player scored.
The top-seeded Red Elephants (5-6) didn’t hold back in order book a return to the semifinals, wowing spectators with five electrifying jams that included an alley-oop connection from Brent Kelly to Jarred Rosser.
Sophomore Griffen Neville put the final exclamation point on the evening with a steal and one-handed dunk to send Gainesville’s bench in a frenzy.
Xavier Bledson led all Red Elephant scorers with 18 points. Jarred Rosser (12 points), KJ Buffen (12) and Brent Kelly (11) were others to reach double-figures for Gainesville.
Junior guard Danny Garcia paced the Knights with nine points, followed by Chandler Jones with seven.
Johnson (6-7) kept pace with Gainesville in the early going, even cutting it to 13-12 at the 3:30 mark of the opening quarter. But the Red Elephants erased that feat rather quickly, closing out the period on a 16-0 extended scoring run complete with the Kelly-Rosser hookup at 20-12. The suffocating press of Gainesville also generated 14 Johnson first-half turnovers to supplement a high-scoring affair.
Gainesville now shift gears for a semifinal showdown with No. 5 seed Flowery Branch at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Flowery Branch. Johnson faces North Hall in the consolation bracket at 1:30 p.m.
FLOWERY BRANCH BOYS 71, NORTH HALL 22: The No. 5 seed Falcons built an early cushion and cruised to victory in the first Lanierland boys game.
Flowery Branch’s stifling defense didn’t surrender a field goal in the first or third quarters and limited the No. 4 seed Trojans (4-7) to their lowest scoring output of the season. The Falcons (8-4) led 17-3 after the first quarter and 40-13 at halftime, extending their lead even further with a 20-2 spurt during the third period to reach the semifinal round.
Senior guard Justin Quick notched a game-high 19 points for Flowery Branch, which faces the winner of top-seeded Gainesville and No. 8 seed Johnson at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Flowery Branch High.
Falcons senior guard Patsheko Lutumba added 13 points, while Myles Janess and Angel Rivera both contributed nine points.
North Hall, which was paced by five points apiece from Noah Holman and Nate Nixon, dropped into the consolation bracket game at 1:30 p.m. Friday.
EAST HALL BOYS 83, WEST HALL 60: Darryl Gray and Jayvion Rucker scored 13 points apiece, Luke Holtzclaw added another 11 and last year’s Lanierland runnerup Vikings coasted to a first-round victory.
The Vikings (5-5) used an explosive second quarter to eventually build a 20-point halftime lead over the Spartans and never looked back. Gray even raised the volume of the packed crowd at Walters Athletic Center during the final period, snatching a steal near mid court and finishing with a one-handed jam to make it 71-41 with 6:55 left.
After leading by three entering the second, the No. 2 seeded Vikings vaulted ahead on a 22-2 extended spurt to make it 38-15 before eliciting a West Hall timeout with 2:56 left in the half.The Spartans (5-8) were awarded the double bonus with 16 seconds on the clock before East Hall made it a 20-point margin with a Luke Cooper 3 at the buzzer at 45-25.
Noah Edmondson paced the Spartans with 13 points, followed by Datavian Buffington with 11.
West Hall continues in the consolation bracket against Chestatee at 10:30 a.m. Friday, while East Hall faces No. 3 seed Lakeview Academy in the semifinal round at 4:30 p.m. at Flowery Branch High.