A month finally into the season, Gainesville head coach Kelly Beckham said his team was finally playing up to its potential. Which is scary news for its future opponents.
The Hurricanes (8-2) easily swept through all three of their ranked opponents to win their third Lake Region McDonalds Kiwanis Tournament title with a 75-55 win over host Bradford County.
Tournament MVP Christian Miller-Cardwell started the game off with the first of three pointers on the night to give the Hurricanes an early 3-0 lead.
Bradford took the lead at 9-7 and held onto it in a back and forth first quarter to take a 19-15 lead after the first quarter.
Down 21-17 early in the second, the Hurricanes took the lead for good with a 12-0 run to lead 29-21 with 3:31 left till the half.
Dallas Tealer nailed back-to-back three pointers, J’len Wilson stole a pass and laid it up, Cardwell added a layup and Desmond Davis added another layup forcing Bradford coach Adrian Chandler to call a much needed timeout to try to settle his team down.
Whatever Chandler said worked as Tavi’en Young’s put back ended the run and his ensuing layup cut the lead to 29-25.
Cardwell hit one of two free throws and Diamond Smith drove the length of the court and laid the ball up along with the free throw for a 32-25 lead. Gainesville went into the locker room with a 34-26 lead at the half and full of confidence.
They came out in the second half and kept it going as Tealer added another three and Josh Dudley lay up forced Chandler to call another timeout down 39-26 barely a minute into the third.
Smith nailed consecutive three pointers to extend the lead to 47-30, before Cardwell went back-to-back with threes extending the lead to 53-36 midway through the third.
Gainesville took a 57-39 lead into the fourth quarter shooting out the lights in the gym along with its suffocating defense.
Six-foot eight center Jeremiah Tisme banking shot put the Hurricanes up 59-43, while Tealer converted his fifth three pointer of the night for a 62-45 lead.
Not even six guys on the court could stop the Hurricanes offense as the Tornadoes were hit with a technical foul for two many players on the court late in the game as Jack May nailed both free throws for a 75-52 lead in the closing seconds.
Tavi’en Young led the Tornadoes in scoring with 19 points, while Chris Cummings chipped in with 15 points.
Tealer led the Hurricanes in scoring with 26 points including a remarkable 8 three pointers, while Cardwell chipped in with 22 points including three three pointers.
Gainesville (8-2) will compete in the prestigious 16 team Kingdom of the Sun Tournament Dec 27-30 at Ocala Vanguard, while Bradford (7-2) heads to the Hitchcock Challenge Dec 27-30 in Santa Fe next week, a 16 team tournament held at the new Celebration Arena.
Creekside bounced back from its first loss of the season with an easy win over Santa Fe to finish in third place at the 2017 Lake Region McDonalds Kiwanis Tournament.
Noah Lippy led the Knights in scoring with 19 points, DJ Dumas added 12 points, while J’michael Plummer contributed 11 points.
The Knights opened the tournament with a 69-62 win over South Carolina power Landrum before Gainesville ended the Knights eight game winning steak dropping a 69-58 loss in the semifinals.
Creekside (9-1) heads to Orlando Dec 28-30 for the Ocoee Great 8 tournament, while Santa Fe (3-5) hosts the 16 team Hitchcocks Challenge Dec 27-30 in its new Celebration Arena.
After Christmas break, the Knights will play undefeated Tampa Plant in the MLK Classic Jan 6 before returning home Jan 10 against St. Augustine and Jan 12 against Ponte Vedra.
Madison County 72, Stanton 48
Having had to wait till mid December to have his full team on the court thanks to another football state championship run, Madison County head coach Allen Demps likely couldn’t wait to see what his team was capable.
He likely like what he saw as Madison (5-2) went 2-1 in the tourney to finish fifth after blowing out Stanton in the fifth place game.
Nick Nist was the lone bright spot for the Blue Devils leading the team in scoring with 19 points, while Owen Shea chipped in 7 points for the Devils (1-8).
Landrum 98, Union County 75
Landrum’s multi state trip down to Florida wasn’t likely what it expected with a 1-2 finish, however the Cardinals (8-2) ended their tourney on a good note routing Union County.
The Cardinals were paced by Trey Smith (35 points), Foster Bridges (27) and Manny Gonzalez (11 points, 13 rebounds) in scoring.
Noah Lippy (Sr., F) Creekside – Hit six threes for 18 pts in win over Landrum in opening win
Christian Miller Cardwell (Sr., F) Gainesville – MVP 22 points in title game
Dallas Tealer (Sr., G) Gainesville- 26 points in title game
Tavi’en Young (Sr., G) Bradford – 19 points in title game
Travis Jay (Jr., G) Madison – 17 points in fifth place game
Honorable mention: Foster Bridges (Landrum), Trey Smith (Landrum), Nick Nist (Stanton)