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February 28, 2014

Calm Devils ready for Norcross

TIFTON —  For a team who has played three state tournament games in a week and just punched their ticket to the state basketball final four, the Tift County Blue Devils are quiet.

"Everyone is pretty calm," said Dr. Eric Holland, whose team increased its record to 27-3. He said that comes because they have not achieved their target yet. "Our goal is to win it."

He believes this is the team to do it.

"We believe this is our year," he said.

There are two obstacles remaining. The first is Norcross, who will be their opponent Saturday at 4:45 p.m. at Georgia Tech's McCamish Pavilion in Atlanta.

Norcross, also known as the Blue Devils, has a record of 25-6 and is a veteran of many, many deep playoffs teams. "They're one of the best programs in the state," he said.

Jesse McMillan's team won the AAAAAA championship last year, their second in three years.

If they make it past Norcross, the next obstacle will be one of two Cobb County schools, Pebblebrook or Wheeler. That game would be at the Macon Centreplex on March 8.

Holland's team went to the semifinals in 2011, having marched through Windsor Forest, Westlake and Savannah before meeting up with Milton at Gwinnett Arena. The encounter did not end favorably and Milton would ultimately finish runner-up to Norcross.

Just one local Blue Devil made it on the floor in 2011, Tadric Jackson, but Holland said several had been on the bus with that team. Those include Ladarius Stewart and Quay Fergerson.

The return trip to the semis has included a blowout win over Tri-Cities, a 60-57 victory over Lovejoy and Thursday's 56-47 win against Hillgrove.

Jackson scored all 23 of his points in the final three quarters. D.J. Bryant had 17 points and Stewart scored 12. Only one more player for the Devils had points, Preston Horne, who had four.

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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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