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North Gwinnett eliminates Lambert boys in Class AAAAAA second round
Longhorns fall 74-48
L CoachBracco web
Lambert boys basketball coach Scott Bracco looks up at the scoreboard in disappointment late in the Longhorns' loss at North Gwinnett in the Class AAAAAA tournament. - photo by Brian Paglia

SUWANEE – The best season Lambert’s boys’ basketball program has ever enjoyed came to a painful close on Tuesday, as the Longhorns fell to North Gwinnett, 74-48, in the second round of the Class AAAAAA tournament.

North Gwinnett’s speed, size and athleticism proved too much for Lambert to handle, allowing the Bulldogs to control the pace of the game from start to finish. Lambert (23-7) had some good looks early on—especially behind the arc—but was unable to convert on several key possessions.

North, meanwhile, was sharp in the early going and ended the first with an 18-9 lead, and the score only tilted further in the Bulldogs’ favor as the night progressed. The writing was on the wall after the third period came to the close, when Lambert found itself down 61-29.

North Gwinnett forward Malik Carter dominated all night long, racking up 20 points and 13 rebounds—both game-highs. Owen Wilson added 16 points and six boards for the Bulldogs, while Kamaran Calhoun and Ahmad Caver chipped in eight points apiece.

Trevor Shipes led Lambert with 12 points and six rebounds, but the rest of his team struggled considerably to generate offense. Logan Bush and Joe Bates, who have each been vital in Lambert’s success this year, combined for just nine points.

It was far from an ideal ending to the Longhorns’ 2013-14 campaign, but they undoubtedly have a lot of positives to look back on despite the loss.

“I’m extremely proud of these guys,” said Lambert head coach Scott Bracco. “We accomplished most of our goals. We had such great senior leadership this season, and that’s why we were so successful.”

This defeat brought an end to the high school careers for Lambert’s five seniors, several of whom have been with the team since its inception in 2009. While they will no longer be part of the program, their contributions to Lambert basketball will be felt for years to come.

“After the game, I told our seniors how proud I was of them, and how much of a privilege it was for me to coach them,” Bracco said. “This has been one of the most exciting seasons of my coaching career, and these seniors have laid the foundation of Lambert basketball.”

Even though Lambert will lose a lot of talent to graduation, the future of Longhorn basketball remains bright. Their junior varsity team went undefeated this season and won the county championship, and underclassmen such as Jake Morris and Hall will now have the opportunity to step up and become leaders.

“This is definitely a building block of a season,” Bracco said. “We’re going to improve each season with our success.”