With football season now over and Mother Nature no longer in the way, the Gainesville basketball team was finally at full strength for the Aubrey Tournament Thursday and Friday.
Playing with a full roster for the first time this season, the Leopards (0-3) dropped their first two games at the tournament, falling to the Southlake Carroll JV team and the Christian Homeschool Athletes of North Texas (CHANT).
“The effort’s there from the players, but most of these teams have played 10-12 games and we’ve now had just two together as a team,” Gainesville head coach Eric Johns said. “We’re a little offensively challenged right now, we’re having trouble getting the ball to go in the basket, but that will get better. Right now, it’s about getting in shape and preparing to win games in January and February.”
Gainesville 42 CHANT 51
The Leopards made a late run to keep things close, but GHS couldn’t overcome a shooting percentage below 40 percent in a loss to the CHANT Chargers.
Demetrius Franklin gave GHS a 3-2 lead with a three pointer from the right side of the hoop, but the Chargers then went on a 15-7 run.
Gainesville cut into that deficit at the end of the quarter when Landon Bond got open in transition and scored on a fast break lay up as time expired.
Johnathan Mendez then cut the Chargers edge to 19-17 in the second quarter, hitting the first of his three 3-pointers before forcing a steal and scoring on an open lay up on the next CHANT possession.
CHANT was then called for a travel, but the Chargers defense held strong, notching three blocks on the next two possessions. The Chargers used the momentum from the blocks to once again pull ahead with a 12-3 run to finish the quarter, taking a 31-20 lead into halftime. Other than Mendez’s 3-pointer and steal, the Leopards lone
points came from a short floater basketball from Demetrius Franklin after splitting the defense and a foul shot made by Kisean Jackson.
Gainesville scored the first four points of the second half, with Devin Mims scoring from inside after GHS hauled down three straight rebounds and Franklin scored on a lay up in transition. But the Chargers defense clamped down, once again allowing just three points after giving up two opening buckets to start a quarter. The Leopards
defense had a tough time containing the CHANT front line, with the Chargers forwards and centers scoring seven points in the third quarter.
GHS trailed by 16 going into the fourth, but the Leopards came close to making that lead disappear. The team once again got off to a strong start at the beginning of the quarter, with Bond sinking a three from the left side and Devin Mims scoring on a lay up following a steal. Gainesville then cut the lead to 44-34 when Mims stole the
ball from a CHANT guard outside the 3-point line and found Bond, who executed the game’s first dunk in the fast break score.
At the four minute mark, Mendez continued to shoot well from the outside, cutting the deficit to seven with a 3-pointer from the left corner. Mendez then stole the ball after the CHANT inbound, but the
Chargers got the ball back after Franklin’s shot was blocked.
Both teams failed to score until just before the two minute mark, when Mendez again delivered with a 3-pointer, bringing Gainesville within four. The Leopards brought the full court press and notched a steal, but Demarius Farr was called for traveling right before attempting a lay up.
CHANT then hung on to their lead by scoring seven of the next nine points, and the victory was clinched.
“We’re still trying to figure out how to play with one another, and that’s the biggest thing for us right now,” Johns said. “If we keep playing with the defensive intensity and effort that we had today, we are going to win games.”
Franklin led the team with 13 points, Mendez had 11, Bond scored seven and Mims and Jackson each finished with four. Lilton Moore added two points and Nick Welch had one point.