The Banks County High School boys basketball team fell to Elbert County, 79-73, and finished as Region Runners Up this past Thursday night at the Leopard gym.
The Banks County boys were favored all season to finish as the region champions and even went into the tournament ranked as #1. However, that dream came to an end when a rocky first half halted the Leopards, and Elbert County was able to sweep the region tournament with both boys and girls teams placing first.
Elbert County quickly set the fast-paced tone for the Leopards. It would seem that everything Elbert shot up landed as a bucket, as the Leopards struggled to get shots to fall. Going to the locker room, the Leopards were losing 26-37.
The second half began, and the Leopards were still struggling to get things going. At the end of the third, Elbert led by twenty points with a score of 57-37.
The Leopards finally gained momentum during the fourth, with a scoring surge led by Clay Gosnell. The team started to show what earned them the #1 seed, and the loaded senior team rallied with points from several players such as Gosnell, Garrett Presley, Pierce Martin and Dakota Orr.
With 2:17 left in the fourth quarter, the Leopards were finally within eight points, and the score was 67-59. Elbert County was not going to give in to the Leopards and returned the scoring effort, but with 1:24 on the clock, the Leopards were not giving up either. The Leopards get within seven points, but with a technical from a Banks player, Elbert scored with a foul shot and gained possession. Martin put up a three-pointer, and for the first time, the Leopards were trailing by only five, but it wasn't enough, and the Leopards fell 79-73.
The game's top scorers included Martin with 27 points, Gosnell with 18 points, Presley with 11 points, Orr with 9 points and Bradley Lewis also finished with 9 points.
Head Coach Ryan Griffin said of the game, "We turned the ball over way too much and didn't get things going until the fourth. But the guys showed character and were able to fight back. We had to score 36 points in the fourth; we couldn't do that. But I am proud of the fight from them."
Pierce Martin was selected as 8AA Region Player of the Year, Clay Gosnell, Garrett Presley and Dakota Orr were chosen on the 8AA All-Region team.
The team will face Temple at home on Tuesday, Feb 23.