TIFTON -- He's listed at 5-9. Then he stands next to somebody who's really 5-9 and it becomes clear that there is an error beside Chris Powell's name in the Tift County High School basketball program.

Despite his height, however, Powell has become a formidable presence on the Blue Devil team. The senior point guard has become the team's go-to guy in the clutch.

"Chris has probably sealed a half-dozen victories for us," said Blue Devil head coach Tommy Blackshear.

Powell's most recent heroics came in Tift's 62-56 win over Ware County to capture the region tournament as he was six for six from the free throw line in the last minutes of the game.

Against the Packers of Colquitt County in the region tournament semi-finals Powell was four of four from the stripe in the game's waning minutes.

According to Blackshear, Powell is shooting nearly 80 percent from the free throw line. But in the last two minutes he is averaging nearly 90 percent.

"And that's when we need him to make it," said Blackshear.

In addition to his proficiency from the line, Powell has also shown a fearlessness when it comes to winning games from the field. On several occasions Powell has buried a timely three-pointer to either swing the momentum or win the game.

Against the Coffee Trojans on February 1, the Blue Devils trailed nearly the entire contest until Powell sunk a three to give Tift the lead with just seven seconds remaining in regulation. Tift went on to win the game in overtime and maintain its position at the top of the region standings.

"I was always taught not be scared and not worry, to just play," said Powell,

"Chris just does it over and over again," Blackshear said. "He has proven that he is the man for the job."

Playing a mostly backup role last season, Powell took over the leadership position at point at the beginning of this season.

"Chris is an awesome point guard," Blackshear said. "With his strength it is hard for somebody to take the ball away from him."

The coach added, "in fact it upsets us when somebody does take the ball away from him."

The point guard position is one which Powell relishes.

"Since I'm short, this is where they've always played me," Powell said, adding that he is not intimidated by taller, heavier players.

Not surprising, since he is able to bench press 305 pounds.

"Chris Powell fits into the category of the finest point guards that have come through this program," said Blackshear.

When the Tift County Blue Devils take on Jonesboro in the first round of the AAAAA state playoffs Friday night at the TCHS arena, Powell will be ready if the game comes down to the wire.

Asked if he wanted to take the last shot, Powell's response was simple.

"Every time."

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