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High school basketball: West Hall escapes with overtime win over East Hall in first-round Lanierland matchup
West Hall's Quincy Holcomb and East Hall's Malachi Vance prepare for the tipoff before overtime during the first-round Lanierland matchup on Friday, Dec. 27, 2019 at East Hall High School. - photo by Nathan Berg

West Hall very nearly squandered a 14-point halftime lead against East Hall in their first-round Lanierland matchup at East Hall High School, allowing the Vikings to tie things up at 50 at the end of regulation. But solid free throw shooting in the extra period proved to be the difference in the game, as the Spartans claimed a 56-52 overtime win.

After a back-and-forth opening quarter, West Hall made its biggest mark in a second frame that saw the Spartans score 14 straight through the bulk of the period and 22 points total. Senior guard Sawyer Passmore scored 8 — going 2 for 2 from 3-point range — and fellow senior Quincy Holcomb added 6 to help the West Hall jump into an overwhelming early lead. 

But East Hall came out of halftime looking like a completely different team, getting a quick 4 points from TJ Campbell to start off a 13-2 run that brought the Vikings nearly all the way back. West Hall stayed cold offensively throughout the second half, managing just 6 points each in the third and fourth quarters, and 3s from East Hall's Campbell, Imre Earls and Clete Cooper helped to close the gap to just 2 points late. 

Earls hit on a layup with 30 seconds remaining in regulation to tie things up and send the teams to overtime with East Hall carrying all the momentum. 

Both sides struggled throughout the extra period — making only one shot from the field between themselves — but West Hall was better at the charity stripe. The Spartans went 6 for 9 from the free throw line, while the Vikings missed on all five of their free throw attempts — a mark East Hall could not recover from as West Hall escaped with the win. 

The Spartans advance to take on Johnson tomorrow at 5 p.m. at Johnson High School.

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