The Tift County Blue Devils are good. They are real good.
The Blue Devils, who improved to 8-1 in Region 1-AAAAAA, flexed their muscle Friday night, routing the Lowndes High Vikings 80-51 at the Charles Cooper Memorial Gymnasium in Valdosta.
"They're a team and they play as a team," Lowndes boys' head coach Kingston Clark said, of Tift County. "They just came out with a vengeance. We didn't have an answer. We couldn't put any points onto the board. We'd get one shot, they would come down and get a layup."
The Blue Devils' rout of the Vikings followed up the Tift County girls' 50-43 win over the Lowndes Vikettes earlier in the night.
Tift County will host Valdosta tonight in Tifton.
Leading by nine points early in the third quarter, Tift County used a commanding 18-0 run to pull away and never look back. The Blue Devils' run was led by Kansas signee Brannan Greene, a tall 6-foot-7 senior transfer, who scored nine of the 18 points during the run.
"They never looked back after that (run)," Clark said. "We just couldn't get it together tonight."
Greene finished with a team-high 19 points, despite sitting the closing minutes of the third quarter and the majority of the fourth quarter. Junior Tadric Jackson also finished with 19 points for the Blue Devils.
Jackson started the run for Tift County by converting a free throw. He followed it up with a slam dunk before Greene scored seven straight points to push the score to 45-26. After another Tift County basket, Jackson added a layup, which was followed by another Greene basket.
Jackson then finished with seven points in the fourth quarter.
After starting the run up nine, 35-26, the Blue Devils found themselves in front 53-26 coming off the run, which ended when Lowndes' Justin Williams jumper with 1:47 remaining in the third.
Tift County's lead got to as many as 27 at the end of the third quarter and 30 points in the fourth quarter, coming when Jackson drained a 3-pointer over Williams with 6:01 remaining.
At the start, Lowndes looked like it was ready to go toe-to-toe with the mighty Blue Devils. After nearly every Tift County field goal to start the game, the Vikings responded with their own and managed to keep the score tied at 8-8 midway through the opening quarter.
From there, Tift County used an 10-3 run to close out the first quarter, using baskets from four different players on the floor, including Greene and Jackson.
In the second quarter, Tift County was held scoreless for over three minutes, allowing Lowndes to close within three, 18-15. But, the Blue Devils eventually found their stroke from the floor, and the free throw line.
After Lowndes closed within three, Tift County outscored Lowndes 14-6 to close out the quarter, securing a 32-21 lead at the half.
Alan Urritia finished with a team-high 14 points for Lowndes, while Eric Henderson contributed with 13.
Tift Co. girls 50, Lowndes 43
The Tift County Lady Devils will enter today’s Region 1-6A showdown with Valdosta unscathed in region play, following Friday night’s 50-43 win over the Lowndes Vikettes.
Tift County never trailed and built a lead as large as 13 points over the Vikettes to improve to 9-0 in region play.
Despite 20 points, 17 rebounds and five rebounds from junior Tashia Brown, the Vikettes were limited by the suffocating Tift County press and struggled to connect from the floor.
Lowndes’ struggles were magnified in the first quarter when Tift County raced out to a 12-0 lead. The Vikettes’ first field goal of the night didn’t come until the 1:50 mark of the first quarter, when Brown connected on a jumper and followed it up with a free throw on the following possession.
Trailing 16-3 at the end of the first quarter, the Vikettes cut into Tift County’s lead and closed within nine, 22-13, at the half.
In the third quarter, Lowndes and Tift County swapped more than field goals. The two schools also swapped fouls. By the end of the quarter, Lowndes managed to cut into the deficit and close within eight.
The Lady Devils began the fourth quarter with a 6-0 run, extending their lead to 14 (40-26), before Brown took over for the Vikettes.
Brown scored nine straight points and brought the Vikettes back within five, 40-35, the smallest margin since the first quarter.
Tift responded like the region's top team as the Lady Devils responded and outscored Lowndes 10-8 across the final 4 1/2 minutes to secure the win.
Dee Dee Deshazer finished with 15 points for Tift County, while Alexis Johnson and Dorian Jordan each finished with 12.
The Tift County Blue Devils are good. They are real good.
- Local Sports
Devils to dine on Coffee and Crisp
Big games and a big trip. Life takes an exciting turn over the next few days for the Diamond Devils of Tift County High. They start with a doubleheader this afternoon at 4:30 with the Coffee Trojans. Two days later, they will sliding into bases at Turner Field.
Lady Panthers gouge GCS, 7-1
The Tiftarea Academy soccer teams had a windy Tuesday night for Senior Night but they didn’t let the chill in the air stop them from keeping the scoreboard heated up. Seniors Neeli Fortson, Lauren Goforth, Ali Rippy, Britton Robitzsch and Austin Tenneson were recognized after the Lady Panthers sealed a 7-1 victory against the Georgia Christian Lady Generals. The Panthers had to settle for a 1-1 tie.
Nashville hosts 5th annual Tyler Carter Memorial Duathlon
The 5th annual Tyler Carter Memorial Duathlon will be held on Saturday, May 3 at the Berrien County Parks and Recreation Department. The Duathlon Race course will consist of a 2.3-mile run into an 18.5-mile bike ride and end with a 2.3-mile run.
McMinn, Beier shut down Glenwood
The Tiftarea Academy Panthers mustered only five hits Monday night, but that would be enough for them. Behind the arm of Noah McMinn, clutch hitting from Zach Beier and a big trick play, they bested the Glenwood (Ala.) Gators by a 2-1 score.
Panthers ready for region track championships
Through early Tuesday, the track team at Tiftarea Academy knew they would be participating at a region track meet today. They just were not sure where.
Coach Ryan Branch said Monday that the meet was scheduled for Hugh Mills Stadium in Albany, but if the event it was hosting was rained out Tuesday, TIftarea would be the hosts. The rains came, but it was not enough to change plans. Branch confirmed Tuesday afternoon that they would be on the road.
- Tift wins Lady Trojan tourney
- Jackson named to MaxPreps squad
Blue Devils to host region track meet
Tift County High will be abuzz Thursday. There will be the normal ringing of school bells and student vehicles in and out. Over at the track, there will be a flurry of colors and several extra buses. The Region 1-AAAAAA track meet is happening and the Blue Devils are the host.
Winners of Team Fitness & Wellness Challenge announced
Rehabilitation Services of Tifton and Tifton Fitness & Wellness Center recently put on the 1st annual Team Fitness & Wellness Challenge. The team weight loss competition was held to benefit the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life of Tift County, raising $2,025.
- ABAC tennis wins region title
- More Local Sports Headlines
- Devils to dine on Coffee and Crisp