Staff Photo: John Bohn
Mountain View's Iceis Walker (24) drives the ball past Central Gwinnett's Alex Frazier (5) during the second period of the girls final game at the Lanier Holiday Tournament played on Saturday.
SUGAR HILL — After completing first semester final exams a couple weeks ago before Christmas break, Central Gwinnett and Mountain View girls had one more final on Saturday night.
Only this one was on the basketball court.
Squaring off in the championship game of the Lanier Holiday Tournament, Mountain View put together a dominating first quarter and rode that momentum to a 62-49 win to take home the tournament trophy.
That early surge came from a stifling defense that held Central to just six points in the first, while the turnovers caused by the Bears press led to numerous easy baskets as Mountain View (10-3) scored 20 points.
“We came out pressing and got a lot of steals and open looks,” Mountain View head coach Jackie Lindquist said. “We also talked about that if we were going to win, we would have to do two things. Those were to box out and rebound and to get back and play defense. We took care of those two things tonight.”
Rebounds were huge for the Bears as Mountain View held a decided advantage with 37 caroms to 23 for Central.
“We’ve just got to get better on defense,” Central head coach Jason Adams said. “It’s said that it takes defense to win championships and, until we get better at that as a team, we’re going to struggle in big games like this against good teams. It’s something that we’re going to have to go back and work on.”
Central (9-4) scored the first points of the game on its opening possession with a basket by Briana McGee, but the Bear press helped to an early 11-0 run that quickly put the Bears in control.
By the end of the first, Mountain View led 20-6.
The Central offense would stir to life in the the second half, outscoring the Bears 34-30 in the final two frames. However, the closest the Black Knights could get was 10 at 48-38 early in the fourth.
Mountain View made sure that was as close as Central would get as the Bears put together a 7-0 run to keep the game under control.
Jordan Stallworth finished with 16 points (12 in the second half) and 10 rebounds to lead Mountain View, while tournament MVP Kelsey Hutchins followed with 15 points. D’Andra Pringle also chipped in with 11 points and six boards.
Bria Virgil also had a huge night on the boards, grabbing 14 rebounds (10 offensive) to go along with seven points. Of the 37 rebounds Mountain View had, 21 were on the offensive glass.
Central was led by 15 points from Alex Frazier, while Jackie Finnegan scored 11. Carol Reynolds added eight points and eight rebounds, while Lexus Travis had seven boards.