GJHS teams are Summit Conference Champions
Gainesville’s dual wins over Hartville Tuesday, Oct. 17, earned Summit Conference championship titles for the both the boys and the girls junior high basketball teams.
The Gainesville boys avenged their only loss of the year prior to the tournament when they defeated Hartville 55-41 in the championship game of the Summit Conference tournament hosted by Gainesville. “The boys played very well Tuesday,” said GJHS coach Matt Powell. “They’ve competed hard all year, and that game was extremely important to us.”
Bryce Hambleton led the scoring with 15 points, followed by Jake Leeker with 14, Dymon Van Eperen with 12, Landry Jenkins with 8 and Mason Jennings with 6.
Jake made shots from the outside early, nailing three 3’s in the first half, and Landry also hit a 3-point shot, which opened it up for Bryce inside, coach Powell said. “Mason and Dymon made good decisions with the ball all night. Dymon had some key baskets down the stretch, scoring 8 points in the fourth quarter,” he said.
The Bulldogs went on to compete in the Dora Domino’s Classic junior high tournament and brought home second place, falling to first-seed Richards in the championship game. Landry Jenkins and Bryce Hambelton were named to the all-tournament team. Jake Leeker finished second in the three-point contest. The Gainesville boys team finished their season with a 14-2 record. The boys B team finished the season undefeated with a 9-0 record.
After a 44-5 victory over Fordland, led by Hannah Evans with 25 points, the Gainesville girls took on Marion County-Early in the second round. Thanks to a strong defense, the Lady Bulldogs won 29-21. “We started off strong, outscoring MCE 12-5 in the first quarter,” said GJHS coach Lance West. “MCE’s players are very athletic and quick. They did a great job making adjustments defensively, causing us to play faster than we wanted. That led to us taking a lot of quick shots in the second half. Our half-court defense is a big part in why we won this game. Even though we struggled at times offensively, our defense never let up, and we were fortunate to get enough stops to win the game.”
Halle Donley led the scoring with 14, followed by Hannah Evans with 7, Gwendolyn Broderick with 4 and Debra Winrod and Victoria St. Pierre with 2 each.
The Gainesville girls, seeded number one in the tournament, played number two seed Hartville in the championship game and won a nail-biter in overtime, 31-29.
“This game was back and forth the whole time,” said West. “The biggest lead any team had at one time was 5. Both teams played hard, and the game could have gone either way. Hartville did a great job defensively, holding us to only 6 points inside the paint.”
The Lady Bulldogs stayed in the game with eight 3-point shots. At the end of the first quarter, Hartville was up 10-9, but the Lady Bulldogs outscored the Eagles in the second quarter by 1, tying the game at 16-16 at halftime.
“The third quarter was no different – both teams going back and forth, and again the game was tied at 23-23,” West said.
The intense fourth quarter kept fans on their feet, and at the buzzer, the game was tied 28-28. In overtime the Gainesville girls were down 28-30. With under 15 seconds left on the clock, Gainesville’s Hannah Evans hit a 3-pointer from the corner to put the Lady Bulldogs up 31-30. Hartville had to go from one end of the floor to the other to score with less than 10 seconds left and missed a 5-footer to end the game.
The Lady Bulldogs went on to compete in the Dora Domino’s Classic junior high tournament later that week and brought home second place, falling 32-27 to the Alton Lady Comets in the championship contest. The Gainesville girls finished their season with a 14-2 record. Hannah Evans and Hallee Donley made the all-tournament team. Halle Donley won the tournament 3-point shooting contest.