The Gainesville boys basketball team, which went 28-2 last season and lost to eventual state champion Hughes by three points in the quarterfinals, finally has things rolling again.
The Red Elephants started the season 0-4 and were just 3-6 after nine games before getting on track. All six of the losses came against Class AAAAAAA or out-of-state teams.
Now they’ve won six consecutive games, averaging 94 points per game during the streak, and are sitting at No. 4 in this week’s Class AAAAAA rankings. Included in the streak are three dominant victories at the Lanierland Tournament, in which they won their second straight championship, a 13-point win over Class AAAAA No. 2 Warner Robins and victories over Dacula and Habersham Central to start play in Region 8-AAAAAA.
That sets up a big showdown Tuesday night at 10th-ranked Lanier (12-4, 2-0), which brings a four-game winning streak of its own into the contest. The winner will have sole possession of first place in the region.
Jarred Rosser was the MVP of the Lanierland Tournament. K.J. Buffen, a second-team all-state selection last season who is headed to Middle Tennessee, scored 24 points in the victory over Dacula last week.
*Big win for Winder-Barrow: The Class AAAAAA girls schedule was light on high-profile matchups last week, but third-ranked Winder-Barrow picked up a significant victory when it beat Class AAAAA No. 2 Flowery Branch 50-49 in overtime on Saturday. Olivia Nelson-Ododa, a Connecticut signee, scored 29 points for the Bulldoggs. Winder-Barrow has region games this week against Dacula (Tuesday) and Gainesville (Friday) before heading to the Music City Classic in Nashville, where it will take on Male, Ky. (Saturday) and Riverdale, Tenn. (Monday).
*Time to get to work: The Creekview girls team faces perhaps the most important part of its regular season this week, taking on eighth-ranked Sequoyah and No. 2 Harrison before closing out the week with a non-region game against Etowah on Saturday. The Grizzlies are 9-5 overall but 6-1 in Region 6-AAAAAA. They are in second place behind Harrison (12-3, 7-0) and just ahead of River Ridge (11-4, 5-2) and Sequoyah (12-2, 4-2). Creekview opened the new year with victories over River Ridge (54-36) and Osborne (47-45). The Grizzlies’ only region loss came against Harrison, 66-51 on Dec. 5 at Harrison.