Class 7A Playoff – Gainesville High School Hurricanes vs. St Augustine Yellow Jackets
The Gainesville High School Hurricanes (22-5) took on the Yellow Jackets of St. Augustine (8-13) in Gainesville to kick off their 2018 Class 7A playoff campaign. Other playoff games featuring teams from all over the state also began tipping off at 7pm to begin the first round of tournament action.
First Half – Hurricanes Clinch Early Lead 40-24
The Hurricanes were aggressive from the get-go. They were diving for loose balls and creating turnovers for easy fast break buckets. Senior forwards Diamond Smith and Christian Miller-Cardwell both had impressive first halves in the paint. The duo’s ability to outrun the Yellow jackets in transition consistently gave the Hurricanes advantageous 2-on-1 fast break opportunities.
Smith opened up the game with a dunk and from then on the Hurricanes dominated in the first half. He finished the first half with a team high eight points. On defense, the Hurricanes were constantly interrupting passing lanes and intercepting passes. They won the turnover battle by a large margin. The Yellow Jackets’ turnovers led to many transition buckets for Smith and Company. When the Yellow Jackets did manage to collapse on Smith and body the forwards, the Hurricanes would kick the ball out for wide-open perimeter looks. They connected on four 3’s.
GHS Continues to Dominate: Final Score GHS 74-36
Smith didn’t let the lead affect his intensity; he opened the second half with two steals that lead to fast break opportunities. He converted the first for a layup. He drew a foul on the second, but missed both free throws.
The Hurricanes did an excellent job of drawing fouls. However, they missed eight of their nine attempts, the only weakness in their game. Desmond Davis had some flashy passes and finished the game with five assists. Overall, the Yellow Jackets speed and athleticism did not match up to the Hurricanes. With only three minutes remaining Yellow Jackets’ guard Luca Stauble received a technical foul when things got heated between him and Hurricanes’ center Jeremiah Tisme over a loose ball. They had to be separated by teammates and officials. Gainesville played very unselfishly, credit to Hurricanes’ coach Kelly Beckham.
Boys Basketball defeated St. Augustine 74-36 in the first round of the state playoffs. pic.twitter.com/3FLbPqbFzW
— GHS Hurricanes (@GHSHurricanes) February 23, 2018
If Gainesville can continue moving the ball and creating turnovers like they did in this game a return to the Lakeland Final Four may be imminent. To get there they will need Smith to continue his excellent scoring, as well as set up teammates.
Gainesville High School was clearly the better team tonight. They move onto their next test the regional semi final in Jacksonville. They are set to face Englewood on Tuesday at 7pm.