After nearly dropping its quarterfinal matchup with a West Forsyth team it blew out by over 30 twice in the regular season, Lambert hoped to come back loose Friday night in its semifinal matchup against No. 3 seed Alpharetta.
They did that, and then some.
Connor Mannion scored 24 points on a nearly perfect shooting night, while grabbing ten rebounds, and Ross Morkem added 17 points and nine boards as the Longhorns cruised past the Raiders into the Region 6-AAAAAA tournament final, set to be played at 8:30 Saturday against No. 2 seed Johns Creek.
Mannion knocked down two big 3-pointers early as the Longhorns took an 11-0 lead, then Andrew Melms began to dish assists—he finished with seven on the night—and Matt Ganote became a rebounding machine just a night after he appeared to be a takeaway specialist.
The Longhorns jumped to a 22-6 first quarter lead, then led 40-18 at halftime. Alpharetta’s starters combined for just 9 total points on the night. Lambert went deep into its bench. After leading 53-25 at the end of the third quarter, the Longhorns backups filled out the final eight minutes.
“I’m very proud of the way the guys responded after last night’s game,” Lambert head coach Scott Bracco said. “We executed on both ends of the floor, dominated boards and hopefully we will come back tomorrow and play a similar game.”
Lambert will play in the region title game for the third straight year after splitting games with Alpharetta the last two years. A win, and they’ll become a No. 1 seed in the state tournament for the second year in a row. Lambert has not lost a region game all season, owning a perfect 20-0 record to this point.
Still, Bracco’s keeping the emotions out of the picture. His guys are still just taking care of business.
“Our goal this season was to win a region championship game and make a state run,” Bracco said.
Lambert most recently defeated Johns Creek 70-62 on the road on Feb. 5, while also earning a 64-53 win at home one month earlier. Johns Creek, which entered the tournament 16-2 in region—its only losses to the Longhorns—defeated South Forsyth, 51-39, Friday to advance to the title matchup.