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January 26, 2014

Tift, Brunswick girls combine for 100 free throws

Boys sail past Brunswick, 76-69

TIFTON — If ever asked if they ever saw a record broken, a gym full of fans Saturday could say they were there. The girls game between the Tift County Lady Devils and Brunswick Lady Pirates featured 100 combined free throws. According to the National Federation of State High School Associations, that is good for a tie for third all-time.

The NFHS website said the national record for combined free throws is 114, between two Texas schools. Second is 102, between two Illinois teams.  Two more Illinois schools and another pair from Minnesota combined for 100 as well. While not a national record, it is likely a Georgia state record.

The Lady Devils were participants in the record, but came up just short against one of the region's top squads, falling 79-67. The boys never trailed in their 76-69 victory.

The 100th shot came with 14.7 seconds left when Brea Thomas made the second of two free throws.

Tift, which fell behind by 14 points in the first three minutes, pulled even at 59 with 5:50 in the 4th on a Brecklyn Greene basket. Brunswick, though, would take the lead on two free throws by Destiny Alston 30 seconds later and had built their lead back up to 8 before the Lady Devils responded. Greene and Alexis Johnson would do their best to cut it closer, but momentum was not on their side.

Nearly everyone was in foul trouble in the 2nd half. Both teams had numerous players with four in the 3rd quarter and Tift was forced to share point guard duties when both Audrey McElheney and Tatianya Smith went to the bench with four.

Despite the loss of two of their floor leaders, that is when the work began. Down 43-29 at halftime, Johnson began the 3rd with a 3-pointer. She would be the entire offense for the first half of the quarter, with a pair of baskets and five charity shots.

After a few single free shots, it was Johnson again. Two points came when she slipped into the lane after a missed free throw by Staceyanna Murrell. There was a later basket on a steal and when she scored with 30 seconds left to make it 57-55, it was the end of an unbelievable 21-point quarter for her.

Sky Moore had a big first half, with 6 points in the 2nd quarter. She kept the team in the game after the Lady Bucs used a suffocating full-court press to go up 16-2. Up 24-13 after the 1st, they would boost that to 19 points early in the 2nd.

Johnson led Tift County with 28 points. Greene had 10, Moore 9 and Murrell 8. Alston had 33 for Brunswick, who got 15 from Kilah Nixon and 14 from Brianna Gipson.

The Pirates may have nightmares about Tadric Jackson. Only trailing by four — 52-48 — going into the final stanza and Jackson had been reasonably quiet all night. He was pulling down every rebound in sight, but had only scored 9 points.

Jackson had a basket and bonus shot a minute in that turned it into a 9-point lead. After that, there was little Brunswick could do.

The first successful dunk came shortly thereafter. Then the second and the third. The Bucs put up some scoring offense, but Jackson had a streak where he scored 14 of 16 Devil points. When he was not torturing the opposition, it was Preston Horne, who had 6 in the period. They were up by 9, but Skylar Baggs scored with five seconds left to make it a 76-69 finish.

The squads were tied, 7-7 five minutes into the game, but four straight points by Jackson gave Tift a cushion. Though the Pirates chopped into it occasionally, Tift would always rally for another basket or two to get out of danger. They led 37-30 at halftime.

Jackson's 24 was tops for Tift. Horne had 14, Ladarius Stewart 13 and D.J. Bryant 10.

The Lady Devils pulled out a big win against Camden County Friday, 53-41. Johnson had 21 and Greene scored 16.

Dr. Eric Holland described the Camden boys as being a "sleeper team" last week. His team was nearly the one surprised.

The Devils had a 31-27 halftime advantage, but it was cut to 48-46 going into the 4th. Free throws would pull them through, as they hit 5 of 6 in the 4th to win 65-59.

Horne scored 19 to lead the team, with Jackson adding 17 and Stewart 10.

Sam Daniel had 40 for Camden.

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20140801 Tift volleyball.JPG

The 2014 Tift County Lady Devils volleyball team. Summer Bennett, Chat Butts, Carolina Carter, Kaleigh Hobby, Molly Jones, Savannah Kendrick, Mariena McCullough, Dail Adaway, Vanity Golson, Alex Miller, Taylor Nimmo, Amanda Riddle, Logan Seeman, Taylor Cross, Karina Delgado, Audrey McElhaney, Madison Spivey, Julianna Cross and Olivia Thomas Assistants are Dana Fletcher and Chance Benson. Head coach is Courtney Mitchell.

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