On Friday, the Gainesville Hurricanes basketball team was victorious in the 6A District 2 final against the Buchholz Bobcats. It was a thriller as the Hurricanes edged out a 59-55 win to earn their crown.
The Purple Palace was hopping well before the 7 p.m. tip-off time. The crowd was electric and continued this energy throughout the whole game. Gainesville won the tip-off and scored the first points of the game. The team struggled at the line, missing their first four free throws. Surprisingly, this wasn’t a problem for the Hurricanes as the first quarter closed 14-9 in their favor.
Gainesville came out hot in the second quarter. The Bobcats couldn’t contain the Canes pressure and were forced to call a timeout after a spectacular dunk by center Josh Hayes. Hurricanes guard Seth Childers was magnificent all quarter. Even after picking up a foul, he went on to knock down a three in Gainesville’s very next possession. Childers was great at spreading out the floor and creating the perfect plays for his teammates. Gainesville would head into the locker room with a 29-22 lead at halftime.
Buchholz did not give up. They grabbed rebounds and played great defense throughout the third quarter. This defensive effort helped close the Hurricanes’ lead to just four points.
Both teams’ offenses were absolutely on fire in the fourth quarter. Buchholz was earning constant trips to the line and knocking down their free throws. The Bobcats were down by one with 3:51 left on the clock. Guard Jacob Sterck shot up a three and scored. The visiting crowd immediately erupted as Buchholz was up 48-46.
Hurricanes guard Theo Stephens decided to put the team on his back and scored five points in a row, regaining the lead. The Bobcats efforts to take back the lead were inspiring, but the Hurricanes were not leaving the building without the win. Amazingly, each team scored 21 points in the fourth quarter. As the final buzzer rang, Gainesville High School was district champions after a hard-fought 59-55 win.
After the game, the Hurricanes Head Coach Mike Barnes says Seth Childers’ contribution to the team in important. “He’s an extension of me,” Barnes said.
“He keeps the guys calm. He keeps everybody together and on the same page. He’s a great asset to have.”
The high praise is deserved due to the hard work and dedication Childers has for his team. He is an important piece to the Hurricane’s puzzle, and without him, the team would not be complete.
Coach Barnes knows regionals will be difficult. “There are no easy games from here on out,” he said. “We are going to take these two days, enjoy this, rest, relax and then come back ready to go on Monday.”
According to the rankings, Gainesville is the second seed and will play seventh-seed Forest Wildcats at home in the Purple Palace. The game will take place Thursday, February 16 at 7 p.m.