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Wesleyan breaks in new gym with wins

NORCROSS - Even for a small private school like Wesleyan, the previous gym had gotten a little too cozy.

The Wolves made a lot of memories in their old home, Marchman Gymnasium, but the basketball programs at the Norcross private school love their new one, the Don and Ida Yancey Gymnasium.

They looked plenty comfortable on Tuesday night, opening the plush gym with a pair of Region 6-AA victories over Creekview. The girls started the night with a 63-25 win and the boys followed it up with a 52-41 victory at the recently completed facility.

"It's great, especially to be able to go into our locker room afterward and be able to move around," Wesleyan girls coach Jan Azar said. "I've played in a lot of gyms and this is probably the best gym I've seen in high school and probably at a lot of colleges."

The Yancey Gymnasium gives the Norcross private school a nice home for its traditionally powerful basketball teams, including a girls program that has won the past three state championships and four overall.

It's a major upgrade over the Yancey Gymnasium, which had nice atmosphere but only 600 seats. The new place has 1,500 seats, which gives Wesleyan the capability to host this season's 6-AA semifinals and finals, and plenty of adequate space to hang the school's numerous state championship banners. It also has seating on all sides of the court and not a stage on one end like Marchman.

Plenty of office space and a loaded, 4,000-square foot weight room are among the additional amenities. Wesleyan's volleyball and wrestling teams also will use the venue for competitions.

"We're just thrilled to be in here," Wesleyan athletic director Dewayne Cupples said. "We're thrilled to death. It's a blessing to have something like this."

The Creekview girls actually scored the first varsity points in the new gym on Tuesday to take an early 2-0 lead. Then Wesleyan scored the next 27.

The Wolves led 21-2 after the first quarter and 35-10 at halftime behind 16 points from Anne Marie Armstrong. Armstrong finished with a game-high 20 points, eight assists and six rebounds.

Wesleyan (5-2) also got nine points from Sarah Delk, who scored the hosts' first varsity points in the new gym on a first-quarter basket. Katie Fulton scored eight and Michelle Pope added seven points for the victors.

The victory wasn't as easy for the Wesleyan boys (6-2). Tanner Smith scored five straight points in the closing seconds of the first quarter, the last coming on a 3-pointer at the buzzer, to give the Wolves a 14-9 lead after a quarter. They used the momentum to build a 30-19 halftime edge, but they never could truly shake Creekview in the 11-point victory.

Smith carried the offense with 26 points, 18 coming in the first half.

No other Wolf scored more than six points.