The Gordon Central High School basketball teams began the New Year portion of their 2021-22 basketball schedule Tuesday with both the boys and girls teams falling to Pepperell in Region 7-2A action in Lindale.
On the girls side, the Dragons kept their recent surge going with a gritty victory over the Warriors thanks to balanced offensive contributions and a tough defensive effort. Meanwhile, for the Gordon Central girls, the 46-37 setback was their first loss in league play.
For the boys, the Warriors were playing their first game since before the Christmas break and they were in the game all the way, but couldn’t quite do enough to get their first win in Region play.
Pepperell (3-8, 1-2 in 7-AA), who has now won three straight games after dropping their first eight of the season, built a 27-22 halftime lead and did enough over the final two quarters to keep the visiting Warriors from rallying back with crucial buckets at different points of the second half.
The home team also limited Gordon Central to just eight points in the fourth quarter.
Leading the scoring for the Dragons in a 52-43 win over Gordon Central was Gage Owens with 15 points, including seven in the fourth quarter. Kalvarri Smith added 14 points, including a pair of 3-pointers, and DJ Rogers scored nine.
The Warriors played in Fannin County Friday night (Details of that game were not available at press time) and return home Tuesday night to face Dade County at 7:30 p.m. in another Region 7-AA clash.
Pepperell did not have a region game Friday night and is back on the court Saturday when they travel to Unity Christian for a non-region test at 3 p.m.
Pepperell girls 46, Gordon Central 37
For the Gordon Central girls, they suffered their first loss of the year in Region play, dropping a tough defensive struggle to the Lady Dragons in an early battle for first place in Region 7-AA.
The game was tied at the half, but the Lady Dragons played strong defense over the final two quarters and made enough buckets on the offensive end to pull away for the crucial victory on their home court.
The win also that saw them improve to 2-1 in league play and grab a share of first place along with Gordon Central, which has the same Region record.
After jumping out to a 17-9 lead after one quarter, Pepperell saw Gordon Central rally to tie things at 24 as the teams went to the locker room at the half.
The Lady Dragons held Gordon Central to just three points in the third quarter, however, as they pushed their lead to 32-27 at the end of the period, and then finished things off with some solid offensive play and free-throw shooting to outscore the Lady Warriors 14-10 in the fourth.
Leading the way for Pepperell was Aysia Day with 13 points and 10 rebounds for a double-double, and she also was stellar on the defensive end with five blocks. Morgan Willingham also had a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Gabi Smith added eight points, and Ellie Cox scored seven.
After playing at Fannin County Friday night (details were not available at press time), the Lady Warriors, who are now 8-5 overall, are back in Calhoun Tuesday night for a 6 p.m. home game against Dade County.
The Pepperell Lady Dragons were, like the boys team, also off Friday night and they will step out of the league for a road test Saturday afternoon when they visit Unity Christian for a non-region contest at 1:30 p.m.