Tifton Gazette

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January 31, 2013

Hard weekend ahead for Tift basketball

TIFTON — The Tift County Blue Devils and Lady Devils basketball teams are in the midst of amazing seasons for both squads.

Coach Eric Holland’s Blue Devils are ranked No. 1 in the state Class AAAAAA polls. They are also 14-4 on the year with only one loss having come in the state of Georgia.

Coach Julie Conner’s Lady Devils are ranked No. 8 in the Score Atlanta Class AAAAAA poll. They are 17-3 on the year, and have won 14 straight games.

While both teams are doing well, both could also come crashing down to Earth after this weekend as two old rivals await them this weekend.

Today the Tift County teams travel to Lowndes High to take on the Vikings and Vikettes.

Earlier this season the Vikings fell 59-46 to Tift in Tifton. Since then, Coach Kingston Clark’s Lowndes squad had gone 4-3.

However, one of those wins was a 64-60 victory over the Valdosta Wildcats Jan. 26. That avenged a 85-44 loss to Valdosta Jan. 5.

The Vikings have always played Tift tough at home, so Holland and the Devils will be wary tonight.

In the girls game, the Vikettes have lost four of their last five games and have a 3-4 record since the Lady Devils defeated Lowndes, 55-49, Jan. 8.

But, even with all of that, the Vikettes and the Lady Devils have always had a fierce rivalry with a number of games that have decided region championships being played between the two teams.

The Vikettes will come into tonight’s game with a 14-8 record.

The varsity games between Lowndes and Tift are set to begin at 6 p.m. today.

On Saturday, the Tift County High squads will face off at home against the Lady Cats and Wildcats of Valdosta High. Those games are set to begin at 7 p.m. and a standing room only crowd is expected.

Going into the weekend, the Tift Lady Devils and the Valdosta Lady Cats both boast 17-4 records. But, while the Lady Devils have won their last 14 games in a row, the Lady Cats came into the weekend losers of three of their last five games.

The game that probably got the most notice was a 74-50 loss to Camden County Jan. 19. That is after Valdosta defeated Camden, 58-39, Jan. 11.

Even with the recent struggles though, the Lady Cats have only three league losses in Region 1-AAAAAA. A win over Tift would get Valdosta back in contention for the regular season region championship.

That will be followed by a game that could go a long way to determine the Region 1-AAAAAA boys title.

Tift will come into the game with one loss in region play, while Valdosta will be coming in with two losses. Going into the weekend, Coffee also has two league losses.

Valdosta will also be hoping to rebound as the Wildcats’ two league losses have come in their last two games, 64-60 to Lowndes, and 55-47 to Coffee.

This weekend’s games will be broadcast on WKZZ (92.5 FM), as well as WTIF (107.5 FM).


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20140726 John Gamble.JPG

John Gamble (right) is joined by John Reid at the Tiftarea YMCA Saturday.

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