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Hull Middle claims boys county title

Staff Photo: John Bohn Moore Middle School's Nic Partlow (15) shoots over Hull Middle School's Mark Lancaster (23) during the Gwinnett County Middle School Championship boys basketball game played at Grayson High School on Thursday.

Staff Photo: John Bohn Moore Middle School's Nic Partlow (15) shoots over Hull Middle School's Mark Lancaster (23) during the Gwinnett County Middle School Championship boys basketball game played at Grayson High School on Thursday.

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Staff Photo: John Bohn Moore Middle School's Abijah Walker comes down with a rebound while guarded by Hull Middle School's Jay Estime (12) during the Gwinnett County Middle School Championship boys basketball game played at Grayson High School on Thursday.

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Staff Photo: John Bohn Moore Middle School's Nic Partlow (15) drives the ball while closely guarded by Hull Middle School's Jay Estime (12) during the Gwinnett County Middle School Championship boys basketball game played at Grayson High School on Thursday.

LOGANVILLE -- As if to punctuate a dominant second quarter and issue the end to the game, Jay Estime nailed a 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded to give Hull Middle School a 27-12 halftime lead.

"It was good to get it at the end of the half," Estime said of one of his two 3s in the game.

The 3-pointer capped a quarter where the Lions outscored Moore 17-6, putting together a 12-1 run at one point, as Hull cruised to a 66-38 win in the boys county middle school championship. It was the second straight title for Hull, which hasn't lost in two seasons, going 32-0 and winning a pair of middle school titles with completely different rosters.

And in this one, the entire roster mattered.

All 10 players on the Hull roster scored, finished off by a 3-pointer by Tamir Harrison-Chester in the fourth quarter.

"This was our ultimate goal," said Lions head coach Frankie Shelnutt. "All the other stuff was good, they weren't satisfied until the team got here.

"This group likes playing with each other."

It showed Thursday at Grayson, not just with the swath of players scoring, but the way the Lions overcame early foul trouble. Donald Pritchard came off the bench to score six of his eight points in the second quarter and Estime carried the Lions on offense in a first half that started slowly.

Hull led 10-6 after the first quarter and only because of Estime crashing the glass and creating second-chance points. He scored six of his 16 in the first quarter and 11 points in the first half.

"We've leaned on him a lot and he plays with a lot of composure," Shelnutt said of Estime, who grabbed eight rebounds in the win.

"(My points) came mostly off of missed shots," he said. "It came pretty easy to me."

He turned the offense over to Kristian Collins in the second half and the lead just grew.

Collins scored all 16 of his points in the final two quarters, exploding for 14 points in the third quarter.

Abijah led Moore with 11 points, but was saddled with early foul trouble and spent long stretches on the bench.

"Once we settled down and played our style of basketball, that was the big difference," Shelnutt said.

And that style let every player score and returned the trophy to Hull.

"It's great," Estime said. "I feel like when I'm old, I'll look back on this and treasure it."