TIFTON — Tift County fans in Brunswick Friday may feel a bit restless. Their basketball teams bookend the region final games being played. The boys will be playing in the 1-AAAAAA championship after a 73-40 win over the Coffee Trojans while the girls will be playing in the opener against Colquitt County.
The boys' opponent will be Brunswick, who defeated Valdosta Thursday by 20 points. The Blue Devils won both regular season games against the Pirates.
After beating the Trojans at home by three points in overtime and by 10 on the road, Thursday's result had feel a bit surprising. Tift leapt out to a 10-0 lead and Coffee never got closer than seven points. When Preston Horne scored to start the 2nd quarter, the Devils were up 11 points. It would stay double digits the rest of the way.
D.J. Bryant kicked off the game in fine fashion with a 3-pointer and had six of their first 10. They led 18-9 at the end of the period and while Coffee prevented them from going any other big runs, the lead steadily grew. If not for a Tyree Paulk three late in the 2nd, they would have been doubled up at halftime. Coffee, who never scored more than 11 in a quarter, was down 52-29 going into the 4th.
Dr. Eric Holland played all of his roster in the final period and team remained red hot. Stefon Mills had a pair of baskets from behind the line, including one as time expired.
Twelve Blue Devils scored, Bryant having the most with 15. Preston Horne contributed 13, Tadric Jackson, 10 and Ladarius Stewart 9.
The win assures the Devils of a home game for the first round of the state tournament.