The Gainesville High School boy’s basketball team defeated Forest by a score of 76-57 on Thursday. But, the final score doesn’t indicate how close the game was in the first half. Neither team could stop the opposing offense.
With less than 15 seconds left in the first half, the Hurricanes only led by two points. However, Jordan Bodie nailed a buzzer-beater 3-pointer at the end of the half to put the Hurricanes up 35-30. This ended up being the game’s turning point, as it started the Hurricanes’ 19-1 scoring run that spanned over four minutes.
Both teams started the game off hot offensively. The Hurricanes couldn’t stop Forest’s Xzavion Mccoy from the 3-point line, but they dominated in the paint. Josh Hayes secured multiple offensive rebounds which led to second-chance points for the Hurricanes. Despite Forest’s 7 first-half 3-pointers, they trailed the Hurricanes by five at halftime. And things only got worse for Forest in the second half.
Second Half Burst
Thirteen seconds into the second half, the Hurricanes committed a shooting foul against a Forest player. He made one-of-two of his free throws to reduce the Hurricanes lead to four points.
The Hurricanes then scored 16 straight points that started with a 3-pointer from Theo Stephens. They capitalized on multiple Forest turnovers with wide-open fast break layups. The Hurricanes finished the quarter with 21 points and limited Forest to seven points, giving them a sizable 19-point lead. Forest fought for 20 points in the fourth quarter, but the Hurricanes put up 20 points of their own, making the final score 76-57.
Senior Theo Stephens was electric for the Hurricanes, scoring 29 points on the night. He scored his 1,000th career high school point, and he’ll be looking to add more in the Regional Semifinal game. Josh Hayes added 13 points of his own with an additional 20 rebounds.
Hurricanes Coach Mike Barnes said his team made defensive adjustments in the second half. He said his players were over-helping on defense, giving Forest wide-open looks from the 3-point line. In the second half, he asked each player to stay on his defensive assignment. This helped the Hurricanes take their large lead in the third quarter.
“Defensively, if we can handle our business, we’re really tough to beat,” Coach Barnes said.
Coach Barnes said his team needs to continue the hot shooting to have the best chance of winning their next game.
“I don’t know much about (Oakleaf) but I know they got some dudes that can really play,” he said.
The Hurricanes host Oakleaf on Tuesday at 7 p.m. for the Regional Semifinal. They will be looking to keep their season alive and advance to the Regional Finals.