GHS pulls away from The Rock

Gainesville Jayden Terry shoots for two of her game-high 22 points in a win at The Rock on Tuesday.
Gainesville Jayden Terry shoots for two of her game-high 22 points in a win at The Rock on Tuesday. (Photo by C.J. Gish)

Gainesville High guard Jayden Terry had a little extra motivation on Tuesday night.

The sophomore, who transferred from The Rock, scored a game-high 22 points against her former team as GHS defeated The Rock, 57-43, on the road.

“She had a little bit more of a pep in her step,” said first-year GHS coach Jazlynd Rollins. “She came out, showed up, and showed out. I believe she just wanted to show her old school what she could still do.”

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Terry scored 11 points in the opening quarter but the Hurricanes (5-3) played from behind.

Gainesville's Leyah Houston battles The Rock's Reeyona Johnson for a loose ball on Tuesday.
Photo by C.J. Gish Gainesville’s Leyah Houston battles The Rock’s Reeyona Johnson for a loose ball on Tuesday.

That’s because The Rock’s Stella Chigha showed out early, scoring all nine of her points in the opening quarter, including a 3-pointer at the buzzer as the Lions (4-5) took a 17-13 lead after the first quarter.

However, the 5’11 junior got in early foul trouble, picking up her third foul with 4:41 to play in the first half.

“They’ve got some big bodies down low so we had a hard time,” said The Rock’s first-year coach John Roberts. “Chigha is our best low post defender so her getting in foul trouble was an issue.”

Despite the loss of Chigha — who would eventually pick up her fourth foul with 4:29 to play in the third quarter –The Rock was able to keep it close in the first half.

Junior Brianna Garcia hit a 3-pointer and converted a free throw for a 4-point play with 2:03 to play in the second quarter to tie the game at 23-23.

But GHS went on a 9-0 run to close the half as senior Ta’Niya Walker (11 points) banked in a shot with 10 seconds left for a 32-23 lead at intermission.

The ‘Canes extended it to double-digits on a free throw by senior Leyah Houston and back-to-back buckets by Terry for a 37-23 advantage to start the third quarter.

The Lions didn’t score for half of the third quarter but the drought finally ended on a basket by freshman Reeyona Johnson with 4:01 to play in the third to close the gap to 12 points at 37-25.

Gainesville's Ta'Niyah Walker with rebound against The Rock on Tuesday.
Photo by C.J. Gish Gainesville’s Ta’Niyah Walker with rebound against The Rock on Tuesday.

Baskets by senior Roksana Sajdak (team-high 13 points) and freshman Briana Coleman got the Lions within eight at 37-29.

But that’s as close as The Rock would get the rest of the night.

Houston scored seven of her 13 points in the third quarter as GHS pulled away and led 45-33 at the end of the third quarter.

One minute into the final quarter, Terry drained a 3-pointer for a 48-33 lead and Houston added her final two of the game for a 50-33 advantage to help put the game away.

The Rock will host Buchholz on Thursday at 7:30 p.m., while GHS will host Class 1A No. 5 Wildwood on Friday at 7:30 p.m.

“Hopefully we can just keep growing,” Rollins said. “We work hard in practice so it shows in the game. If we can stay consistent in practice, we’ll have a great season.”

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