Tifton Gazette

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February 20, 2013

Devils scalp McEachern Indians, 70-48

TIFTON — Those who held their breath during the first four minutes of the game between the Tift County Blue Devils and McEachern Indians should be resting easier now. After falling behind 10-2, the Devils were able to not just steady the ship but ultimately sail to a 70-48 win in the first round of state and raise their record to 24-4.

Wins by both Tift County teams enable them to host the second round of state in a doubleheader Saturday night. After defeating Campbell Tuesday night, 65-55, Lady Devils get the Newton Lady Rams. Newton slipped by Westlake, 53-51 Tuesday. The Devils will next play the Westlake Lions at 7:30 p.m. They topped Rockdale County Wednesday, 81-76.

McEachern’s early run had actually started on a bit of bad luck. On their opening possession, they missed a slam dunk, but quickly recovered to build the 10-2 lead on the back of a pair of three-pointers by Freddy Brown. Coach Eric Holland called timeout to settle his players down. Back on the floor again, Tadric Jackson nailed a trey and the tide turned. Two minutes later, Brannen Greene made a free throw and it was 13-12, Devils. McEachern scored to get the lead back, but after a Greene block and Jackson score to close out the first, it was 17-14 Tift and they never looked back.

The Blue Devils started the second quarter on a 9-0 run and the show belonged to Greene. He first dazzled with his shooting, scoring 14 in the first half, then he dazzled with his passing, setting up multiple baskets under the basket for his teammates.  The margin crept up to 10 during the period, but McEachern five of the last seven in the second to keep it 35-25 at halftime.

Neither squad was able to singularly grab momentum in the third. The Indians kept Tift out of the paint with multiple blocks but were unable to make much progress at their own offensive end. Greene scored eight more and Donell Tuff had three, including a sweeping reverse lay-up. With the score 48-36, the Devils headed into the final frame and it would be there where they caught fire again.

While Greene remained the scoring sensation, he received plenty of able assistance from Jackson, Tuff and Ali Vaughn who all had multiple baskets in the final eight minutes. McEachern was unable to keep up with the barrage as the Devils’ firepower  and quick hands keep the ball on the hosts’ end and eliminated any chance at a comeback by the Indians. It would be Vaughn that put them up by 20 with two minutes to play and when Jackson became the final man off the floor after a pair of free throws, they were up 22. That would prove to be the final margin as the Blue Devils’ subs closed out the 70-48 victory.

The Devils’ defense allowed only one Indian to reach double figures. Deonte Patterson barely made it with 11 points. Tift County was led by a trio of scorers. Greene finished with 30 points, Jackson added 17 and Tuff had 15.

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