Posted: Friday, December 11th 2009 at 10:00pm
Lanierland: North Hall stuns No. 2 Gainesville for girls title
By Jeff Hart Staff
Bryan Richerson and the Lady Trojans knocked off No. 2 Gainesville 65-53 Friday night to win the 50th annual Lanierland girls basketball championship.
FLOWERY BRANCH – The Class AAA second-ranked Gainesville girls came into the 50th annual Lanierland basketball tournament looking for their second straight title and to show they were still the top lionesses in Hall County and Region 7-AAA.
Apparently, North Hall didn’t get the memo.
The Lady Trojans stole the show and the title Friday night in an impressive 65-53 win over the Lady Elephants in the finals at the Flowery Branch gym. It was the second Lanierland title in the past three years for the Lady Trojans.
Defense was the key for North Hall, which held Wake Forest-signee Jaymee Carnes to just 10 points and six rebounds. The Lady Trojans employed an active triangle defense that limited Gainesville (4-4) to one shot most of the game.
“We knew we had to find a way to keep Jaymee off the boards and the girls just executed our game plan to perfection,” North Hall coach Bryan Richerson said. “They played every possession like it was the last one. They played as a unit and never quit or gave in.”
North Hall (6-0) only trailed twice – at 2-1 and 4-3 – and took the lead for good on a 3-pointer by MVP Taylor Swoszowski just moments after Gainesville’s last lead. North Hall led 17-13 after the first quarter and used a 17-4 run in the second quarter to take control of the game.
Just a sophomore, Swoszowski had the statement game of her young career with 18 points and four steals - two coming in the fourth quarter to help stop Gainesville runs.
“Coach asked me to become more of a leader and I’m trying to do that,” Swoszowski said. “We knew they would make a run, they always do. We felt like we could beat them but we knew it would take a team effort. It feels great to do it.”
Gainesville cut into North Hall’s 34-22 halftime lead early in the third quarter but North Hall answered with a 9-3 run in the third and fourth quarters for a 50-36 lead. The Lady Elephants made one final push in the fourth quarter to close to within 50-43 behind Lauren Thomas, who had nine of her team-high 21 points in the period.
But the Lady Elephants could get no closer than seven points the rest of the way. Swoszowski scored six straight points late in the fourth quarter to keep North Hall’s lead at 13 points.
Sisters McKenna and Mary Kate Rushton and Sarah Paschall each had 12 points for North Hall.
Mikalyn DeFoor had 10 points for Gainesville before fouling out.
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