Gatewood and John Milledge are located roughly 15 minutes apart, and the rivalry from that proximity spilled over onto the court Saturday at Hawkins Arena with the Gators holding on to win the GISA Class AAA boys basketball championship 72-66 in a long-distance shooting slugfest.
The two teams combined to make 15 shots from behind the 3-point arc, with the Trojans draining 10. But in the end, Gatewood's Marcus Ford and his 42 points proved too much for John Milledge to overcome. The Trojans (20-6) were led by Andrew Prestwood's 33 points.
The victory gave Gatewood (25-6), which entered the tournament as its region's fourth seed, a sweep of both the boys and girls titles.
THREE WHO MATTERED
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Ford: He set a strong early tone, making his first five 3-pointers to score 17 first-quarter points. His bigger shots, however, came from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter, going 4-of-4 in the final 1:34 to help prevent a John Milledge comeback.
Prestwood: He was John Milledge's answer to Ford, pouring in 33 points, 21 of which were 3-pointers.
Tonquavious Horton, Gatewood: His presence inside not only helped the Gators win in the paint, but a 12-point effort also forced John Milledge have to focus its defensive efforts close to the basket, as well.
John Milledge overcame a four-minute scoring drought in the fourth quarter, down 58-46, to draw as close as five points, but the Gators were clutch when it came to free throws, making 16-of-21 in the fourth quarter.
Gatewood's Brenlyn Morris put an end to the back-and-forth nature of the girls Class AAA final, scoring five of her 15 points in the game's final minute and 10 seconds in a 44-36 victory over Westwood.
Morris converted an inside shot with just more than a minute to play broke a tie at 36, and her layup and free throw with 51 seconds to go ballooned the Gators lead to 41-36 with 51 seconds to play. She also came up with a steal on Westwood's next offensive trip down the floor to put the game away.
Crisp Academy fell in the girls Class AA final to Monsignor Donovan, 45-34, and was led by the 14 points of Parker Krause and the 13 points of Claire McCarr.