Chattahoochee fell asleep defensively for one short stretch in the first half, and that was all the leeway the Lambert boys needed to pull away.
Tanner Hall scored nine of his game-high 24 for Lambert during a 13-0 second quarter run as the Horns flipped a four-point deficit to a nine-point lead. It would get no closer than eight the rest of the way in Lambert’s 69-51 win over Chattahoochee.
“We played great defense in that second quarter and did a great job from that in transition, “ Lambert coach Scott Bracco said. “That was the biggest reason we were able to build a lead.”
Evidence of Lambert’s effectiveness on the break: the Longhorns (17-3 overall, 12-1 Region 6-AAAAAA) attempted just one three pointer in that second quarter, which Tanner Hall made; otherwise, it was all layups, including Hall’s up-and-under just before the halftime buzzer.
Ross Morkem turned in a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds, and Connor Mannion added 9. Andrew Melms and Patrick Noble finished with six points apiece, again, mostly on transition buckets.
Stanford signee Marcus Sheffield had 15 for Chattahoochee (11-8, 5-7), and Taffy Tela scored 11. Sheffield was guarded closely by a rotating cast of Longhorns — Jake Morris, Noble among them — and was swarmed with extra defenders when he touched the ball.
Sheffield didn’t get much help from his perimeter shooters. Chattahoochee made five of 15 attempts.
“They can be a tough team to defend because they have shooters around one of the best players in the state,” Bracco said. “But, extremely proud of the way our guys guarded tonight. You can double, deny, faceguard Sheffield, it still doesn’t really work. He still is going to get his touches and shots.”
Chattahooche would draw within eight near the end of the third quarter, but an 8-0 Lambert run in the span of 90 seconds put the Cougars away.
Next up for Bracco’s boys: a Friday trip to Alpharetta. The Raiders handed Lambert its only region loss this season on Dec. 12, and Alpharetta is the only remaining undefeated team in Region 6-AAAAAA.
Lambert boys 69, Chattahoochee 51
Chattahoochee 14 5 18 14_51
Lambert 13 17 20 19_69
Chattahoochee: Sheffield 15, Tela 11, Douglas 8, Miles 6, Kladis 5, Hansen 4, Troman 2.
Lambert: Hall 24, Morkem 14, Mannion 9, Melms 6, Noble 6, Lancaster 4, Morris 4, McSwain 2.