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Basketball: Broncos hold off Vikings
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East Forsyth's Cannon Hunter goes up for a shot against East Hall during a Region 8-4A matchup Friday at home. (Photo by Jay Rooney Photography)

East Forsyth powered past East Hall to sweep the Region 8-4A season series with a 68-59 win Friday at home.

The Vikings struck first with Chasen Jones putting his head down and attacking the basket. On East Forsyth’s first possession, Bryce Bracco turned the ball over but tracked it back down by getting the possession back, then Matthew Rouse finished the play off with a contact layup.

"I challenged them on the defensive end," Broncos head coach Scott Bracco said of the win. "I felt like our guys came out with great energy and passing. We did a good job keeping them big boys off the boards in the second half."

Both teams were in sync early on and couldn’t draw separation, with Davey Hyams drilling two 3-pointers and East Hall forcing their way into the paint.

The Viking had the last shot of the first quarter after Rouse missed on his layup, giving 19 seconds to spare for East Hall to draw up a good play.

Jamarcus Harrison used plenty of dribble moves to get into the paint, and that’s where he met a pack of Broncos but was still able to get the layup to go down for a 17-13 lead.

Harrison resumed attacking the paint on the Vikings' first chance with the ball in the second quarter. This time, he got fouled but still got the ball to go in for an and-1.

Cannon Hunter passed to Rouse — who cut down the middle of the paint, where he encountered a Viking. After a pump fake, he laid the ball in to cut the deficit to 27-25. 

East Hall put the ball in the hands of their playmaker Harrison again for the last-second shot, and he didn’t fail by hitting a mid-range shot to end the first half.

The Broncos went into the locker room trailing 30-27.

Bryce Bracco was leading his team offensively and defensively in the third quarter — whether he was dishing out assists or putting pressure on ball handlers.

Bracco and Rouse both traded 3-pointers, but the play that amped the Broncos up was when Bracco hit Hunter on a fast break for the lead.

"Matthew and Bryce both did a heck of a job today," coach Bracco said on the backcourt chemistry. "They work well together. Offensively, we were clicking tonight, moving the ball and making great reads."

In the fourth quarter, Bracco showed no signs of slowing down his excellent play by hitting a 3-pointer at the corner thanks to Hyams’ assist for a 56-53 lead with 4:40 left.

From there, the Broncos controlled the pace with their backcourt duo. With Bracco knocking down three 3s, and then Rouse’s late free throws put the nail in the coffin.

The Broncos outscored the Vikings 21-10 in the fourth quarter.

Bracco finished with 23 points, four assists and three steals. Rouse compiled 19 points to go with five each of rebounds and assists. Hyams totaled 15 points.

Next up, East Forsyth (9-11, 5-5) will host Chestatee Jan. 24. The last time those two teams met, Chestatee won 61-60.