Vanguard rallies past Gainesville

Gainesville coach Kelly Beckham
Gainesville coach Kelly Beckham

On Saturday night at the Purple Palace, the Gainesville boys’ basketball team lost its fourth straight game with a 65-60 loss to visiting Vanguard (Ocala).

It was also the second straight win in the series for Vanguard after GHS had won the previous six.

The Hurricanes (7-9) built a 29-23 lead at the half, but the Knights (5-6) outscored the ‘Canes 22-11 in the third quarter to take a 5-point lead into the fourth quarter.

“I thought we came out and played a solid half of basketball,” said Gainesville coach Kelly Beckham, who is five wins shy of 800 career wins. “They made a run at us right before the half and carried that over into the third quarter and we didn’t react very well to it.”

Junior Demetrius Watts and senior Josiah Kiner combined for 18 of their 22 points in the quarter as Vanguard led 45-40 at the end of third quarter.

Vanguard outscored Gainesville 42-31 in the second half.

“We took some bad shots and it led to some easy baskets for them,” Beckham said. “We go from being 10 up to 10 down.”

Freshman Kameron Wright led Gainesville in scoring with 22 points. He hit five 3-pointers in the game.

“It’s taken him a little while to get to this point, obviously because he is a freshman,” Beckham said. “He’s starting to figure it out. I’m real proud of the way he is playing.”

Aaron James, Jr. led Vanguard with 23 points, followed by Watts (15) and Kiner (14).

GHS will travel to Bradford (Starke) on Monday and Newberry on Wednesday.

The ‘Canes will close out the regular season on Friday, Feb. 5, against city rival Eastside. The game will be broadcast on 106.9 FM “I am Country.”

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