TIFTON — The Tift County Lady Devils had one goal in mind Friday night: stop Makeba Ponder.
Ponder had been a one-person wrecking crew for the Colquitt County Lady Packers. She came to Tifton averaging 26.7 points per game, with a season low of 17.
Following the night of hoops, the latter stat was chaged as a fine defensive effort held her to 13 points and clutch shooting gave the home team a 44-42 comeback victory.
The Devils had a much easier time with their opponents, skinning the Packers 66-20.
Several different Lady Devils were given the task of defending Ponder. Tatianya Smith and Audrey McElhaney both did strong work in holding her points total down, but the one assigned to her in the critical 4th quarter was Sky Moore.
Ponder had four points in the final period, with just a pair of free throws after Moore reentered the game. So flustered was Ponder that when she had an opportunity for a wide open layup with a minute to go, she missed.
"She was great, wasn't she?" said head coach Julie Conner after the game.
Solving Ponder was only part of the answer for Tift.
The two teams played a tight game throughout, but after Ponder's charity shots at 2:50, Colquitt was up 41-37.
Alexis Johnson hit a runner and 20 seconds later a Brecklyn Greene field goal tied it. Ponder then missed her layup, but the ball went back to the Lady Pack when traveling was called during the mad scramble for possession.
Dexshalyn Polite was fouled at 32 seconds and she made the second of two free shots to return the lead to the visitors, but Johnson drove for another basket to make it 43-42 with 20 seconds remaining.
Polite fired up a 3-pointer that went wide of the target. McElhaney grabbed the rebound and was fouled. She made the first of two free throws. Colquitt rebounded the miss but with only two seconds left, could only fire up a prayer.