The Gainesville High boys’ basketball team is heading to their first championship game since 2013. They have an opportunity to win their first state title since 1984. After defeating Heritage (Conyers) by a score of 102-86 on Saturday, the team is poised to capture the state crown. The semifinal matchup was a scrappy one full of fouls and physical play. Gainesville ended the first half with a lead of more than 20 points, but towards the end of the game, Heritage got within 8 before the Red Elephants sealed the deal. Now, the team will play their final game on Friday at 8PM. They will face Virginia Tech commit Landers Nolley and the Langston Hughes Panthers. This highly anticipated matchup is a rematch of last year’s Elite 8 showdown in which Gainesville narrowly lost in overtime.
“Our depth is always an advantage. We have a lot of really good players, which allows us to play up-tempo”, says Coach Benjie Wood when asked about what allowed them to come out victorious in their semifinal game. “We had a lot of foul trouble in that game but our depth allowed us to persevere through that.” We then asked him about the upcoming state championship game. “This is the game that everyone has been looking forward to all year. We’ve been preparing. We’re ready. We want to stay focused on our execution so that we can be prepared for everything they might do.” When asked about coaching a team that has the potential to bring home Gainesville’s first boys’ basketball championship since 1984, Wood replied, “I’m very proud of these kids. I’m just extremely blessed to be a small piece of this puzzle, but all the credit goes to them. They’re the ones playing the game.”
Make sure to not miss this game. It will be one of the greatest games of basketball in Georgia this year. With two teams packed full of talent, you will definitely see a fine display of basketball. The game is tonight, Friday, March 9, at Georgia Tech’s McCamish Pavilion. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at the door. So, come out and show your support. We can’t wait to see you there!