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Grace Hollifield scores 27 to lead North Hall girls to first Lanierland title since 2009
LANIERLANDGIRLSCHAMPS
The North Hall girls basketball team poses with the Lanierland trophy after beating Lakeview Academy in the championship game on Monday, Dec. 30, 2019 at Cherokee Bluff High School in Flowery Branch. - photo by Nathan Berg

For the first time since 2009, the Lady Trojans of North Hall are Lanierland champions. 

Tournament MVP Grace Hollifield scored 27 points — hitting on five 3-pointers — and the Lady Trojans completed dominated the second quarter of the game, building a huge early lead and running away with a 66-58 win over Lakeview Academy.

"We had all the keys as a team to make it click," Hollifield said. "We just made it click tonight. I'm grateful for the win."

Hollifield got things going for the Lady Trojans with a pair of 3s and a layup inside the opening three minutes of the game, setting the tone of the contest from the outset. Eliza Snyder contributed 8 first quarter points for the Lady Lions to prevent North Hall from completely running away with things early, but a late 3-pointer from Lauren Swanson with less than 30 seconds to go in the first period pushed the Lady Trojan lead up to 17-12 eight minutes into the game. 

Swanson and Hollifield kept up the high level of play in the second frame, combining to start the quarter off on an 8-0 run that gave North Hall its first double-digit lead of the night. Lakeview Academy players attempted to respond with a flurry of long range shots, but continuously struggled to find the mark, opening the door for the Lady Trojans to push their lead higher and higher. Hollifield hit on two more treys down the stretch, and a Joelle Snyder 3-point play with less than a second left on the clock was all that kept North Hall from leading by 20 at the intermission. 

Even still, the Lady Trojans emerged from the dust of the first half with a 37-20 lead, that was simply too much for the Lady Lions to come back from. 

The Lady Lions did make runs in both the third and fourth quarters, but both times their best comeback efforts were rebuffed by big plays from North Hall. First, Maddy Towles and Elise Roark combined to hit on a trio of quick 3s to cut the deficit to single digits, but a layup from Maci Gillespie off a nifty behind-the-back dribble and another 3 from Hollifield pushed the game back out of reach. 

Then in the fourth, treys from Eliza Snyder, Towles and Jackie Allen closed North Hall's advantage to just 6 points with two minutes left to play, but the hole was just a little to deep to fully climb out of, and North Hall managed to dribble things out to finish off the win.

"For (the girls) to be able to have a Lanierland title in their bag that they can take with them, I'm really excited," North Hall coach Kristi House said. "I'm really excited for them, the program, the community to get the ball back up north. We're happy about it."

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