It was a fantastic way to end 2017, with both the #2-ranked Leopards (12-1) and #6-ranked Lady Leopards (10-3) taking home the Banks County Christmas Tournament titles.
The Leopards won 77-66 in the first game over Hebron Christian on Thursday night before taking the championship with a 79-62 win Friday over NW Whitfield. The Lady Leopards won 60-41 over Habersham Central Thursday and 55-40 over North Gwinnett on Friday.
The boys survived a scare against visiting Hebron Christian, but used 20 second-half points by Carl Cleveland to hold on for a 77-66 win over the Lions. Cleveland finished with 22 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists, but it was Dylan Orr who also stole the show with a rare triple-double of 23 pts, 10 rebounds and 10 blocks, while also dropping five dunks, including two alley oops. Darius Bonds added 9 points and 11 assists in the win, while Gabe Martin chipped in with 8 points.
Banks County picked up where it left off on Friday, taking down NW Whitfield 79-62. Cleveland had 22 points, while Orr and Martin had 11, and Bonds and Sawyer Pace had 9 points each. Dylan Orr and Carl Cleveland were named to the All-Tournament Team.
The Lady Leopards fought off a tough Habersham Central team 60-41, while both Jaycie Bowen (14 pts) and Allison Smith (17 pts) led Banks County to the win. Maddie Thomas added 13. Smith had 15 in the first half before giving way to Bowen in the second half, as the latter scored 10 of her 14 in the final 16 minutes.
On Friday night, the Lady Leopards downed North Gwinnett 55-40. Allison Smith and Amber Williams were named to the All-Tournament Team.
HABERSHAM RAIDERS & LADY RAIDERS
Habersham Central boys and girls both took home third place honors with hard-fought wins on Friday night. The Raiders fell to NW Whitfield Thursday, but rebounded with a 83-75 win over Hebron on Friday. Dontarius Bailey had 20 points (and 24 in the loss to NW Whitfield), earning him an All-Tournament team honor. Bryce Tanner had 14, while Caleb Hodges added 13 in the third-place game.
The Lady Raiders earned their first win of the season after a tough opening loss Thursday to Banks County. In the Thursday loss, McKenzie McDuffie dropped 16 points, while Heather Vaughan added 12 and Halle Black 11 to account for 39 of the teams’ 41 points. In the third-place game, Vaughan and McDuffie both posted 19 points, while Kirsten Brown added 15. Vaughan was named to the All-Tournament Team.