Staff Photo: John Bohn Archer's Bryan Hamlet (12) defends Dacula's Brandon Goodson (11) during the first period of a boys Region 8-AAAAAA Basketball tournament game played Friday at South Gwinnett High School.
SNELLVILLE -- Archer head coach Tim Watkins knew his team's 21-8 first-quarter lead meant nothing.
Having already played Dacula twice this season, Watkins was prepared for the Falcons to make a run, which they did.
Ultimately, the Tigers (21-6) were too much for the Falcons as they held on for a 69-63 win in Friday's Region 8-AAAAAA semifinals at South Gwinnett.
"You have to give Dacula credit," Watkins said. "They responded and made a game of it. It wasn't an easy win for us."
One of the runs Watkins was referring to was in the second quarter in which the Falcons outscored the Tigers 15-7 to go into halftime down 28-23.
After the break, Archer was able to stretch its lead back out to 10 points, using a 10-5 run to begin the quarter.
Throughout the quarter, as Dacula hit a shot, Archer was able to respond in kind to keep the Falcons at a distance.
However, the Falcons weren't detered, closing the score to 47-41 before an Archer 3-pointer by Randall Smith put the Tigers up by nine (50-41) heading into the final quarter.
Dacula (19-8) closed the score to 55-50 on a three-point play by Jaylen Williams with 5:33 to go in the game. Minutes later, the Falcons were within three points.
Archer again answered and stretched its lead back to nine points as Smith put on a dribbling display, not getting in a rush to score.
"We expect our backcourt to take care of the ball," Watkins said. "We were able to take some time off the clock there and that shortened the game."
The Falcons got two 3-pointers from Williams with under a minute to go, the last bringing the score to 66-63.
But it was too little, too late as Archer got a layup and a steal on the defensive end to put the game away.
"A lot of credit goes to our post players Aubrey Overby and Kelvin Nwanze," Watkins said. "They struggled in our last game and they came out ready to play (tonight)."
Williams finished with a game-high 31 points, including 16 in the fourth quarter, while Kevon Tucker had 10 for the Falcons.
Archer was led by Bryan Hamlet with 19 points, including eight in the first quarter, while Smith had 17.