P.K. Yonge started hot and led through three-plus quarters, but Gainesville went ahead in the final two minutes to pull out a 48-45 win on Wednesday night.
With 2:06 remaining, GHS scored a basket for a 42-41 edge and held off the visiting Blue Wave behind 6-for-8 shooting from the free throw line at the Purple Palace.
Theo Stephens scored eight of his game-high 19 points and R.J. Hines added seven of his 15 points in the final quarter for the Hurricanes, who have now won six of their last seven games and improved to 12-7.
“P.K. was getting in us the whole night and, towards the end, I just kept telling our guys, ‘hey, keep attacking the basket’,” Gainesville coach Mike Barnes said. “And it helped us toward the end and we got rolling a little bit on the free throw line.”
Gainesville went 18-for-24 from the free throw line compared to P.K. Yonge’s 1-for-5.
“We knew coming in we had to keep them off the offensive glass and we did a better job of that and were finally able to get some stops there in the third and fourth quarter,” Barnes said.
P.K. Yonge stormed out to an 11-4 lead in the first quarter and went ahead 28-15 at the half behind 10 points from Patton Pinkins.
“They’re a very physical team and we were calling every play that we got and they were bumping us off our cuts and we weren’t responding to that very well,” Barnes said of the first half. “So there in the second half we just said we’re going to go to pass and move and try to get to the bucket and it ended up working out for us.”
In the first meeting of the season on Dec. 7, P.K. Yonge was the team trailing entering the fourth quarter before eking out a 44-40 win over the visiting Hurricanes.
“We had some turnovers and missed some shots, some things we don’t normally do,” P.K. Yonge coach Broederick Johnson said. “But like I say, I’ll take it on the chin and say hey, it’s one of those humbling losses that’s going to be better for us in the long run. Of course the kids take it hard, they’re competitors, but other than that I look at the big picture and I think we’re going to be in pretty good shape.”
Barnes pointed to a change in intensity between the first and second halves that spurred Gainesville to its comeback.
“I just told them we’re getting pushed around and they’re playing harder than us,” he said. “We talk all the time about adversity and trying to push through it. I didn’t do much talking (at halftime), it was a lot of them that were doing the talking. They’ve been coached up and know what to do.”
S.J. Westbrook added 11 points for the Hurricanes, including five in the fourth quarter, and Hines had two 3-pointers in the second half.
Pinkins led the Blue Wave with 17 points, Jordan Richardson scored 10 and Isaiah Cooper added six.
The loss snapped P.K. Yonge’s seven-game win streak as the Blue Wave dropped to 11-7. The Blue Wave travel to Hawthorne for a 7:30 p.m. contest on Thursday.
Gainesville will host West Port (Ocala) at 7:30 p.m. on Friday.