TIFTON — The basketball season will continue for the Tiftarea Academy Lady Panthers.

Tiftarea won its play-in game Tuesday night, defeating Valwood on the road 69-32.

Tiftarea will play Deerfield-Windsor Thursday in the region tournament semifinals at Americus. Regardless of result, they will also play Friday, either against Brookwood or Southland Academy and in either the finals or the consolation. No matter how the Lady Panthers do at region, they will play in the state tournament next week.

“I feel like [Tuesday] we played the best we’ve played,” said head coach Amy Strenth. Tiftarea swept Valwood for the season, but had not played as well in the second victory. Strenth said Tuesday’s game was a total team effort.

“Ally Pate played a great game,” she said. Pate scored a season high 19. She was on the floor the entire first half and then had to play more than expected when Elli Bryan ran into foul trouble. “She stepped up,” said Strenth of Pate. “Did a dang good job.”

Ali Strenth added 10 points

Strenth said that both passing and defense were solid in pushing Tiftarea to victory, specifically pointing out the efforts of Bailey Jones.

Tiftarea went 2-6 in regular season region competition, both victories at the expense of Valwood. They have at least one close game against everyone else in the conference.

“We haven’t peaked all year,” said Coach Strenth.

While the Lady Panthers have punched their ticket to state, the Panthers saw their season end Tuesday with a 72-46 loss to Valwood.

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