Tifton Gazette

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January 9, 2013

Blue Devils lash Lowndes

TIFTON —  It was a battle all night for the Tift County Blue Devils and Lady Devils Tuesday night, but they topped the Lowndes Vikings in a pair of games played in Tifton. The wins kept them undefeated for 2013 and in the region.

The game was extremely tight in the first half. Baskets were few as both teams employed tight defenses, Lowndes running a halfcourt trap to try to slow down a Lady Devils team unbeaten in their last seven games. Tift would have the lead most of the quarter, but the Vikettes grabbed it with less than a minute left and held the 10-9 advantage after the first.

Alexis Johnson snatched the lead right back with a three-pointer to start the second quarter and then pushed it to four when she scored a layup following a steal. It would take less than a two minutes for Lowndes to be back on top, and the teams would trade leads for the remainder of the half.  It looked like the Vikettes would be ahead at the half, but Dee Dee DeShazer’s late free throws tied it again at 23, which would be the score at the break.

The third quarter started as the same cat-and-mouse game between the two schools, but with the score 27-26 in favor of Tift, they began their surge.

DeShazer nailed three-pointers on consecutive possessions. Johnson was fouled on a made basket and made the bonus shot for their third consecutive three-point play. Far from finished, DeShazer hit another from behind the arc.

 Tift would be denied on their next trip down the floor, but on the return trip DeShazer scored her fourth three of the quarter. The Vikettes only mustered two baskets in the meantime and the Lady Devils had a 12-point lead at 2:13 and were up 10 going into the final frame.

Lowndes would be far from finished. Early indications looked like Tift would put it away early, but the Vikettes’ offense sprang to life. Tashia Brown’s steal with four minutes left cut it to four.

The Lady Devils would not panic. A Johnson bucket made the lead 50-44 and when Staceyanna Murrell’s inbounds pass in Lowndes territory looked to go long, Sky Moore kept it in play. The defense would buckle down to keep Lowndes out of the net and they would hold for a 55-49 win.

DeShazer, who had 12 points in the third quarter, finished with 21. Johnson added 16. Brown and Asha Jordan-Hayes each had 11 to lead Lowndes. Tift is now 11-3 on the season and winners of eight straight contests.

Brannen Greene had a season low in points, but the Tift County Blue Devils are now 11-2 in 2012-13 and 3-0 in the region after defeating the Vikings, 59-46.

Greene led Tift with 14. Donell Tuff had 13 and Tadric Jackson, 10.

In the latest polls released by Score Atlanta, MaxPreps and The Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Tift County boys are ranked as the No. 1 team in the state in Class AAAAAA.

The Blue Devils now boast a five-game win streak and will meet the Coffee Trojans Friday night at 7 p.m. in another Region 1-AAAAAA game. Coffee is 9-3 and winners of their last seven. They defeated Camden County Tuesday, 80-32. The Lady Trojans are 9-2 this year.

In other region games played Tuesday night, the Valdosta Wildcats swept the Colquitt County Packers. The Lady Cats won, 52-43 while the Wildcats won, 73-51. Valdosta will be the last region opponent Tift meets, their initial game not being until Feb. 1.

 

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