The Flowery Branch girls basketball team faltered late Friday evening on the road against Chestatee, but the Lady Falcons finished strong.
After allowing the Lady War Eagles to cut what had seemed like an insurmountable deficit to single digits midway through the fourth quarter, Flowery Branch scored the final 14 points of the contest to take a 54-32 win and move to 2-0 in Region 7-4A play.
“Any road region win is a big win for us, especially bringing a young team on the road for the first time in the region,” Lady Falcons coach Courtney Newton-Gonzalez said. “I’m just really proud of our defensive effort tonight.”
Flowery Branch led by 17 going into the final frame, but a quick 13-4 run from Chestatee to start the period — highlighted by back-to-back 3s from the Lady War Eagles’ Maggie McNair — forced Newton-Gonzalez into taking a timeout.
As the Lady Falcons huddled up, Newton-Gonzalez took the opportunity to remind the team that there were still five minutes left in the game, and it was not time to start playing lax defense.
“I just think they like to hear me yell every now and then,” she said. “We were lax a little bit and we lost (Morgan Aguilar) there for a little bit. Obviously proud of them for that 14-0 run to end the game and how we locked in. I think that’s what you need in region play. Teams are going to go on runs. It’s how you respond to the runs that matters.”
Outside of the first half of the fourth quarter, Flowery Branch ultimately dominated the game defensively. The Lady Falcons jumped out to a 16-8 lead over the first eight minutes of the game, and then held Chestatee to just four points in the second quarter to push that lead to 16 points by halftime.
The Lady War Eagles did not fare much better coming out of the break, scoring just seven points in the third frame, allowing Flowery Branch to keep its lead comfortable going into the fourth.
CHESTATEE BOYS 64, FLOWERY BRANCH 38: Brenton Nicholson scored 25 points for the War Eagles, connecting on four 3-pointers and going a nearly perfect 8 for 9 at the free throw line to lead Chestatee to its first region win of the season.
The War Eagles got things cooking early, giving up a 3 to start the contest but then scoring nine straight to take a lead they would never relinquish. Nicholson did much of his work in the second frame, hitting a pair of treys and also making three free throws following a foul on a fourth 3-point attempt. His 11 second-quarter points helped Chestatee to go up by 16 at halftime.
He hit another shot from beyond the arc late in the third period to put the War Eagles on top by 21 going into the final frame, allowing the home team to cruise to the easy win.