Central Gwinnett vs Archer Recap

Central Gwinnett 59, Archer 57

LAWRENCEVILLE — Bernard Kasanda of Central Gwinnett scored in the final minute to put the Black Knights up 58-57 and Derrick Lawrence tacked on a free throw to lift Central to a 59-57 win at Archer on Tuesday night.

Kasanda finished with 10 points while Jalen Hillery led Central (11-9) with 20 points.

Morgan, Hillery shine as Central Gwinnett tops Dutchdown for showcase win

SNELLVILLE — Like most high-schoolers, Jalen Morgan would have liked a lazy Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Instead, Morgan and his Central Gwinnett teammates had a Monday morning basketball game in the On the Radar Hoops MLK Showcase. At a time when he normally is in advisement class the senior sparked the Black Knights in a dominating, 80-59 win over Dutchtown.

Morgan had eight of his 19 points in the first quarter — the last two on a dunk that gave Central a 20-5 lead — and provided a nice offensive option alongside teammate Jalen Hillery, one of the county’s most prolific scorers. Hillery had his usual big day, too, with a game-high 21 points.

 

“We’ve started off with high energy the last few games,” Morgan said. “Coach (Branden Mayweather) has been saying our energy has been down. We had to come out today and give it all we’ve got. … (The morning start’s) just bad because nobody wants to wake up in the morning on a day like this with no school, so we had to find some way to get it going.”

That wasn’t an issue for the surging Black Knights (9-9), who looked impressive in a game that wasn’t even as close as the 21-point margin indicated. Central’s starters played just 3 1/2 quarters and built a 36-point lead before a late 15-0 run by Dutchdown (11-6), which had won seven of its last eight games under head coach Jamal Basit. Basit spent the previous four seasons as South Gwinnett’s head coach.

The Black Knights led by 13 after a quarter, by 23 at halftime and by 30 after three quarters.

“We had a great talk last week mid-week and I felt since then I’ve had a different team I’ve been coaching,” Mayweather said. “Guys are pulling for each other. We’re starting to gain some momentum so things are really moving in the right direction. … Any time there are not a lot of people in the gym and you’re playing a team you don’t play in the region it’s tough to get kids going. But they kind of shot right through that wall and gave us what we needed from the start.”

Ten Central players scored, backing up the big games by Morgan and Hillery.

Central Gwinnett vs Mill Creek Recap

Hillery’s big night helps Central boys hold off Mill Creek 69-61

 

LAWRENCEVILLE — Mill Creek’s boys spent much of their Gwinnett Daily Post Challenge game against Central Gwinnett trying to pull themselves out of a first-half hole, and nearly did so.

But Jalen Hillery and the host Black Knights simply would not let the Hawks climb all the way out, with the 6-foot-5, 195-pound senior posting a double-double with 40 points and 10 rebounds to blunt any comeback attempt in Central’s 69-61 victory Saturday night.

“I’ve been telling anyone who will listen that Jalen Hillery is a heck of a player” Central coach Branden Mayweather said. “He has been the whole time he’s been here. Having his senior leadership late in games is crucial.

 

“It feels like every game has been a one-point game or triple-overtime game. But they’re learning. We’ve got a bunch of young guys who are starting to learn that you have to play for a full 32 minutes to win a ball game.”

The Black Knights (5-7) played well enough for most of the first half, especially a 14-1 run over a 4:04 span of the second quarter that ballooned their advantage to 31-14 before taking a 35-20 lead into intermission.

But Mill Creek (5-6) slowly began to chip away in the second half, with the Hawks twice pulling as close as five points in the third quarter, that last time at 43-38 following a steal and lay in by Kendall Latney with 1:12 left in the period.

“I thought we found some guys who wanted to compete there in the third quarter, and we kind of rode them,” Mill Creek coach David Allen said. “That’s what I’m looking for, guys who are going to compete.”

But after a Tre Rice jumper pulled Mill Creek to within 48-42 with 5:41 remaining, Hillery provided Central with an answer with a layup off a feed from Jalen Morgan, pull-up jumper and two long 3-pointers in transition in a 1:49 span, part of a 12-2 run that pushed the Black Knights’ lead back to double digits at 60-44 with 2:31 left.

“Every time I get hot, my teammates look for me, and I get fired up,” Hillery said. “I just put it in my head that … my teammates need me, and I just get kick-started.”

And Hillery had help down the stretch when Mill Creek made one last run to bring the lead down in double digits, with the senior combining with Skyler Adams, Bernard Kasanda and Julian Grajales to go 9 of 13 at the foul line over the final 2:17 to ice the victory.

Adams finished with eight points for Central, while Grajales contributed six rebounds, Derrick Lawrence chipped in five assists and Kasanda dished out four assists.

Rice, Matthew McDowell and Christian Mancillas each had 13 points to lead Mill Creek, with McDowell also pulling down a game-high 12 rebounds and Mancillas adding six boards and three assists.

The Hawks also got 10 points from Noah Kenney.