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High school basketball: West Hall boys run away with Lanierland semifinal win over Johnson
West Hall's Colton Smith dribbles around a pick during a Lanierland semifinal game against Johnson on Saturday, Dec. 28, 2019 at Johnson High School. - photo by Nathan Berg

The West Hall boys basketball team will have a shot to play for its first Lanierland title in 10 years.

The Spartans rained down 3s against Johnson Saturday evening, putting in nine shots from beyond the arc in a 62-26 win to send them to Monday's championship game.

West Hall's high powered offense actually struggled to start the game, as the first quarter was a wild flurry of missed shots and scrappy defense with neither team finding any offensive rhythm. Johnson held onto a narrow lead for the opening five minutes before a traditional 3-point play from Canaan Koger and a late layup from Quincy Holcomb put West Hall on top 8-5 after one frame.

The Spartans seemed to draw confidence from the surge that carried into the second period, where an 11-2 West Hall run highlighted a much more offensive quarter. Spartan foward Andrew Malin scored 6 points in the final four minutes before halftime — including a put-back bucket right at the buzzer — to put West Hall on top by 10 at halftime.

And as West Hall's confidence seemed to grow from there, Johnson's appeared to wane. Sawyer Passmore hit on a 3-pointer early in the third frame that energized the rest of the Spartans, leading to an 11-2 run to close out the third that put West Hall on top by 21. The Spartans hit on three more 3s in the fourth while holding the Knights to just 4 points in the final quarter to coast to the easy win. 

West Hall will take on the winner of Gainesville and Cherokee Bluff on Monday night at Cherokee Bluff High School in the Lanierland boys championship.

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