SUWANEE — From the outset, Jones Middle knew it was going to press early and often to frustrate Twins River Middle in the Gwinnett County Western Division middle school basketball championship Thursday at North Gwinnett.
And that's exactly what it did as the Hawks ran past the Bears 64-35 to advance to play Eastern Division champion, Shiloh Middle, which beat Snellville Middle on Wednesday.
"We played with a lot of intensity right from the beginning," said Hawks head coach Todd Posey. "We love pressing and we wanted to come out aggressive, and that's what our guys did."
The Hawks outscored the Bears in the first two quarters, 16-6 and 17-7, to take a 33-13 lead into halftime.
From there, the intensity continued as Twin Rivers was never able to figure out the press defense.
Adding to the excitement for the Hawks was Emareon Walker, who scored two layups in the fourth quarter, sending the players and the fans into a frenzy each time the ball went through the hoop.
"He's the one that really brought this team together," Posey said of Walker. "It was a special moment for everyone."
The Hawks were led by Trajen Greco with 17 points and five rebounds, while John McIntyre had 13 points and six rebounds.
The Bears were led by Cooper Johnson with nine points, while King Joseph Edwards had and Takota Murphy had seven points apiece.