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No. 5 Flowery Branch girls regroup in second half, storm past Chestatee for 61-38 region basketball win
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Flowery Branch High's Ashley Woodroffe, right, grabs a rebound Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019, as Chestatee High's Christina Garcia, left, tries to box out during the first half of their game at the Chestatee High gymnasium. - photo by Scott Rogers

For a while, Chestatee High’s girls basketball team made things interesting against region unbeaten Flowery Branch Tuesday night. 

But the Lady War Eagles, after frustrating their ranked foes in the first half and making it a one-point game midway through the third period, couldn’t fully catch the Lady Falcons. 

Senior guards Ashley Woodroffe (21 points) and Caroline Wysocki (18) tag-teamed for a combined 21 of Flowery Branch’s 34 second-half points, and the fifth-ranked Lady Falcons (17-3, 7-0 Region 7-4A) stormed pastChestatee for a 61-38 win in Gainesville. 

Flowery Branch also preserves its unbeaten mark in region play while capturing its 10th straight victory. It also snapped Chestatee’s three-game win streak that included an upset triumph over North Hall on Saturday. The Lady War Eagles still find themselves in a race to capture the No. 2 seed as the region tourney draws closer. 

“In the second half, we talked about making some adjustments — moving the ball more, cutting more — and they did that,” Lady Falcons coach Courtney Newton-Gonzalez said. “We were able to get a good win.”

Those adjustments came after the Lady War Eagles (11-10, 5-3) lured Flowery Branch out of its comfort zone, and after things looked as if the visitors put themselves on track for a dominant performance during the first period.

Woodroffe knocked down her first two attempts from outside to help Flowery Branch jump out to a 10-2 lead early, and the Lady Falcons stretched the margin to 11 early in the second period. But Chestatee found ways to hang around. 

The Lady War Eagles mixed in a pair of defensive looks while locking down the interior around Flowery Branch’s inside threat Ashlee Locke. The hosts spurred five Flowery Branch turnovers while getting baskets from Emma Easterwood and Maggie McNair to make it a seven point contest at the break. 

“I thought Chestatee came out and gave us a different defensive look, which was good on their part,” Newton-Gonzalez said. “I thought our kids focused on that too much, took us a while to get settled in the game.” 

The Lady War Eagles continued their pursuit at the start of the second half. Christina Garcia made a long-range, stepback jumper for the first basket of the third period. Minutes later, McNair and Garcia drained back-to-back treys that ignited the home crowd as Chestatee climbed within one at 29-28.

It was all Flowery Branch after that. 

Ashley Scott dished to Wysocki for a quick-drive basket inside, and Newton-Gonzalez’s squad kicked it into a higher gear. Morgan Aguilar added a 3-pointer from there, and Flowery Branch exploded on a 28-2 run extending into the final period. 

Wysocki (four assists, three steals) clearly found her groove during that span, scoring twice more inside during the third period and tallying five of her final seven points from the free-throw line in the fourth. Woodroffe’s fourth trey of the contest from the top of the key stretched it to a 44-29 before the end of the third period. 

Chestatee meanwhile couldn’t find a way around the half-court defense of Flowery Branch as the margin ballooned to as much as 26 during the fourth period.

“We put a little bit more pressure on them to not let their guards get those open shots,” Newton-Gonzalez said. “I thought in the first half, we weren’t pushing the ball as much as we normally do. So it was good to get back to our normal game in the second half. I was pleased.” 

McNair and Garcia finished with 15 and 12 points, respectively to pace the Lady War Eagles. 

Locke finished with 10 points as the third starter for Flowery Branch to score in double figures. 

Flowery Branch continues its road slate, visiting Blessed Trinity for a 6 p.m. tip Friday in Roswell, while Chestatee plays Marist in a pivotal region game at 6 p.m. on Friday in Atlanta.

CHESTATEE BOYS 71, FLOWERY BRANCH 62: The War Eagles had five players in double figures and combined for 14 3-pointers — 11 in the first half — in order to fend off a scrappy Falcons (1-18, 1-7) squad that hung around for the entirety Tuesday.

In a region clash that was too close for comfort, Flowery Branch battled back to make it a one and two possession game inside the final three minutes.

Chandler Watson muscled inside to bank a layup and cut Chestatee’s lead to five at 65-60 with 1:01 left. But the War Eagles answered with some timely baskets while doing just enough from the free-throw line to ice the game.

Jonah Bull and Kyle Bowmar (four 3s) each had 16 points to lead the War Eagles (13-7, 4-4), which snapped a two-game skid. Brenton Nicholson (12 points, four 3s), Cameron Gwyn (11 points, three 3s) and Will Cantrell (10) were others to produce for Chestatee.

Harrison Cooper paced the Falcons with 19 points, followed by Mario Brown with 12, Chandler Watson with 11 and John Gunter with nine.

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