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February 14, 2014

Blue Devils are region champs again

TIFTON —

The Tift County Blue Devils discovered Friday night that twice is nice when they survived a comeback by the host Brunswick Pirates and won their second consecutive region championship, 66-59.
 
In the first game of the afternoon, the Lady Devils fell to Colquitt County, 45-43. They will be the No. 4 team out of the region.
 
Neither team will know who they face for several days in the first round of the state tournament. Region 1-AAAAAA was the only tournament in its classification not affected by the ice, which pushed back the start of state to next Friday, with the boys likely playing Saturday. Region 3, of whose teams they will see, has yet to even determine tourney semifinalists.
 
With less than a minute left a 3-pointer by Roger Davis cut what had been a 12-point lead at the start of the 4th quarter down to two, 61-59. But that was as close as they could come as Ladarius Stewart hit a pair of free shots, then Tadric Jackson put the exclamation point on the win with a slam dunk.
 
Free throw proficiency played a big part in their survival. The champs were 11-15 in the final quarter and 19-25 overall. Stewart was 6-6 from the line and Tadric Jackson was 10-13.
 
Tift broke out of a tie 27-27 tie two seconds before the half when Stewart was fouled by Mike Davis and made both free throws. They would start the 3rd on a 7-1 run before the Pirates worked their way back to a point. Then the Devils responded with another big run, this one 14-3 to end the period, capped by Jalen Lewis's 3-point buzzer beater off a pass from Tyrie Jackson.
 
For the second night in a row, the Devils started with a big lead. After beginning with a 10-0 advantage on Coffee, they zoomed out 8-0 on Brunswick, Preston Horne scoring four of those points.
 
The game featured plenty of long distance firepower from both sides. Brunswick made 10 from behind the arc and the Blue Devils made seven.
 
Tadric Jackson's 26 paced both sides. Horne scored 14, Stewart 11 and D.J. Bryant had 10. Roger Davis led the Pirates with 17. Zach Moore added 14, Jabril Heck 13 and Mike Davis had 12.

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