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Basketball: No. 1 North Gwinnett girls crush Lambert in state opener
Jackson leads Lady Horns with 15 points
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Lambert forward Peyton Card, right, guards against North Gwinnetts Peyton Whitted in the opening round of the Class 6A state playoffs on Tuesday in Suwanee. - photo by Autumn Vetter

SUWANEE — Lambert’s girls got an up close and personal look at the team that’s favored to win the state title, and it wasn’t a pretty sight.

The Lady Longhorns fell behind No. 1-ranked North Gwinnett by 18 points by the end of the first quarter before eventually falling 67-30 in the first round of the Class 6A state playoffs on Tuesday at the Bulldogs’ gymnasium.

The 37-point loss was the program’s worst since 2010.

"If I had to describe this [game in one word], I’d say humbling," Lambert head coach Seth Thompson said. "That’d be the word I’d use because that team is incredibly good.

"... They’re so athletic, so long and have a lot of experience. They’re very, very strong and you could definitely tell strength-wise they’re a notch above what we are."

Lexie Brown finished the game with 15 points and became the all-time leading scorer at North after a steal and layup a little over one minute into the fourth quarter. Teammates Joshlyn Belcher (17), Peyton Whitted (14) and Baylee Rexing (10) all finished in double figures.

Morgan Jackson led the Lady Longhorns (10-19) with 15 points.

North led 12-0 before Ellie Hammer scored Lambert’s first points on a deep 2-pointer midway through the first quarter. Belcher connected on three 3s and the Lady Bulldogs shot 71 percent from the field (10-of-14) to lead 23-5.

The Lady Bulldogs (26-1) continued to show their dominance and took any shot they wanted to go into halftime ahead 40-13. From then on, it was a just a matter of how many points North wanted to score.

Lambert turned the ball over 13 times in the first half, many of which led to layups.

North eased off the gas in the third quarter, but still claimed a 49-20 lead before eventually winning.

"I’d like to have kept it a little bit closer than what we did, but they shot 51 percent ... that’s just tough to beat on any night," Thompson said. "… It was a great experience for us. I was excited about playing them. We want to be one of the premier teams in metro Atlanta, and playing teams like that is what it’s going to take."