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Dacula boys, Osborne girls win middle school titles

— The Dacula boys are one win away from a perfect season. For the Osborne girls, a second consecutive Gwinnett County middle school basketball championship is the goal within reach.

Dacula and Osborne won Western Division titles Saturday at Peachtree Ridge and earned the right to play at Berkmar High School on Monday night for an even more prestigious trophy.

The Dacula boys (14-0) will play Eastern Division winner Sweetwater (12-3) with a county title at stake after the Osborne girls (13-1) face Shiloh (15-0) in the 5 p.m. opener of the championship doubleheader.

Dacula rolled past Twin Rivers 47-34 in the Western Division boys finale, while Osborne slipped past the Twin Rivers girls 44-39.

Until last season, play would have stopped right there. But the Gwinnett County championship — absent since 1997 — was restored in 2010, with Osborne winning the girls title and Trickum from the Eastern Division prevailing for the boys championship.

“I’m excited about the opportunity to play another game for a true county championship,” said Dacula coach Jason Thomas, an assistant when the Falcons’ season ended after a division title in 2009.

Dacula had no trouble moving on, jumping in front 12-0 against Twin Rivers (10-4) and leading 30-9 at halftime. It was 39-14 when Thomas cleared his bench for the fourth quarter.

Keyshawn Gibbs had 15 points and seven rebounds for the Falcons. Jonathan Hawkins and Davion Clark each scored 10 points and Logan McIntyre grabbed eight rebounds.

But Dacula won’t have it so easy against Sweetwater, which defeated defending county champion Trickum 65-54 for the Eastern Division title on Friday night at Berkmar.

“It will be a challenge,” Thomas said. “Sweetwater has a very good team. But we’re bigger and hopefully that will work in our favor.”

The Western Division girls title game was as tight most of the way as the boys finale was lopsided from the beginning.

Down 8-2 early, Twin Rivers (12-2) came back to lead by five points early in the second quarter and was up 19-18 at halftime. But Osborne pulled back ahead in the third quarter and expanded a 34-29 lead going into the final quarter to as much as a 10-point margin before Twin Rivers closed the deficit.

Madison Phillips scored 17 points for the Hawks and Madeline Beck snatched 13 rebounds.

Iceis Walker had 13 points and D’Andre Pringle added 10 for Twin Rivers, which struggled at the foul line most of the game. The Bears shot 34 free throws, but made just 13. Osborne was only slightly better, going 12-for-29.

Osborne and Twin Rivers finished the regular season in a three-way tie for first place with Hull, the Bears’ previous loss also coming against the Hawks.

Osborne, a feeder for Mill Creek, defeated Trickum for the county title last year. Trickum had a chance to meet Osborne again, but lost 51-48 to Shiloh for the Eastern Division title

Since only eighth-graders are eligible, it will be a new experience for this season’s Osborne team.

“We’re happy to play another game,” Phillips said. “It will be exciting.”