GHS boys hoops tops Santa Fe

Published: Saturday, January 9, 2010 at 11:57 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 9, 2010 at 11:57 p.m.

ALACHUA — For the second time in a span of 24 hours, the Gainesville Hurricanes found themselves in a non-district dogfight against an area team. This time, however, the outcome was more to GHS’s liking.

Getting 12 points each from senior forward T.J. Hall and junior center Lawrence Certain, the Hurricanes improved to 12-4 on the season with a hard-fought 48-42 win over upset-minded Santa Fe (11-5) before a packed house in the Raiders’ gym Saturday night.

Santa Fe senior center Ashton Lee led all scorers with 14 points despite picking up two first-quarter fouls, and junior point guard C.J. Wakeley added 13, but it wasn’t enough as the ’Canes, who won the previous matchup in their gym by 20, prevailed by six.

It was a nice bounce-back for the Hurricanes, who lost a tough 55-52 overtime game to crosstown foe Eastside on Friday night.

“That was a tough loss (Friday) night, and I thought the kids came back and responded real well,” GHS head coach Kelly Beckham said. “We worked the ball around and took really good shots tonight, and that was the key to the victory.”

Santa Fe head coach Elliot Harris was disappointed with the loss, but very upbeat about his team’s steady improvement since the beginning of the year.

“We’re getting better and better,” he said. “At the beginning of the season, we lost to this same team by 20. I just told our guys to go out and compete, and whatever the score was at the end, I’d be happy with that, and that’s what we did.”

The Raiders, who trailed by six, 24-18, at the half and five, 31-26, at the end of three periods, simply would not fold and had a chance late, trimming a 45-38 GHS lead to 45-42 on a Wakeley layup with 33 seconds remaining. A bad pass by the ’Canes gave the Raiders possession and a chance to tie with 29 ticks left, but Wakeley, a usually solid 3-point shooter who had failed to make a trey all night, misfired again with 18 seconds left, and GHS was able to corral the rebound. Point guard Frank Gainey iced the victory by hitting 3-of-4 free throws in the closing moments as the Raiders finished the game without a made 3-pointer.

“We’re going to go with C.J. and I’m going to keep telling him to shoot those because he’s our guy,” Harris said. “When he’s on, you know, there’s not many people who can stop him. He just had an off-night beyond the 3-point line tonight.”

Beckham was pleased with his team’s defensive effort.

“We defended really well tonight and only gave up 42 points,” he said. “They didn’t hit any 3-pointers, so that was a big key for us.”

The only successful 3-pointers by either team were back-to-back treys by Gainesville’s Matt Jackson in the fourth quarter and they were huge, extending a slim 31-30 GHS lead to 37-32.

The win gave GHS a sweep as the Hurricanes prevailed in the junior varsity game, 71-63, to start the evening.

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