SUGAR HILL -- After a long holiday break, the Mountain View girls basketball team got off to a sluggish start Thursday afternoon in the Lanier Christmas Tournament.
But there were no complaints with the second half, particularly on defense.
The Bears held Whitewater to four points over the final two quarters, including a scoreless third quarter, and cruised to a 68-27 first-round win.
Mountain View is now 8-3, just three wins away from its win total from the 2011-12 season.
"We were slow to start," said Mountain View girls coach Jackie Lindquist, whose team hasn't played a game and has practiced just once since a Dec. 19 win over Collins Hill. "We were pressing and we were not getting back and covering the paint. In the second half, we played much better defense."
That was an understatement.
Whitewater (6-5) didn't score its first second-half points until 5:46 was left in the fourth quarter. During that span, the Bears went on a 26-0 run to turn a 29-23 halftime game into 30-plus point lead.
The 19-0 third quarter was the big key as eight different Mountain View players scored in the quarter -- 12 different Bears scored in the game. Lindquist said her players were eager to get back to the Lanier tourney after a close loss last year to Cedar Shoals kept them from the title.
"We want to finish the job this year (and win the tourney)," she said.
Despite missing almost the entire second quarter with foul trouble, Kelsey Hutchins led Mountain View with 14 points and 12 rebounds. D'Andra Pringle also scored in double figures with 10 and Iceis Walker had nine points, four steals and three assists.
Aneysa Williams contributed six points, six assists and four steals, while Arianna Williams (five points, 12 rebounds) and Tierra Young (eight points) had big games off the bench.
Rena Jenkins scored 10 to lead Whitewater.
Central 64, East Jackson 29
East Jackson hung tough with the Central Gwinnett girls early, but the Black Knights pulled away for a decisive 64-29 win in their Lanier Christmas Tournament opener on Thursday.
Lexus Travis had 18 points and eight rebounds to lead Central (8-3), which also got 10 points from Briana McGee and eight points off the bench from Carol Reynolds. Alexandra Frazier added seven points and six assists.
Kelsey Palette (13 points) and Kayla Thomas (nine points) led East Jackson (2-10), which trailed just 18-15 after a quarter after Thomas hit a 30-footer at the buzzer.
But Travis scored 11 of her team's 23 second-quarter points and the Black Knights coasted from there, holding East Jackson to six second-half points.
Lambert girls 51, Providence 25
The Providence Christian girls lost their opener in the Lanier tourney, falling 51-25 to Lambert in the day's first game at 9 a.m.
Aubrey Gold had eight points to lead the Storm.