Lady Devils surge in 4th, defeat Marietta

Daejah Bailey caps Tift County's victory with a final basket in the fourth quarter.

TIFTON - State basketball tournament law is to survive and advance.

Tift County had seemingly every first half shot clank off the iron in the first half. Tift County watched a six-point lead disappear in the third quarter. Tift County was down by four points with 6:18 remaining.

But while the local Lady Devils were down, they were never out. They promptly responded with 16-0 run over the next six minutes and felled Marietta, 40-30.

The Lady Devils will next tackle Brookwood, a 75-60 winner over South Forsyth. Athletic director Rusty Smith said a date and time have not been set yet, but the game will be in Tifton.

Meanwhile at North Cobb Friday, the Warriors ended Tift County's boys season by a 55-30 score.

Tift led by four points, 24-20, with 36 seconds to go in the third quarter. Then it fell apart.

Aija Smith hit a jumper with 27 seconds left. The Lady Devils tried to score a final bucket, but Marietta got the rebound and had enough time to tie on Smith's layup with seven seconds.

As the fourth opened, momentum left them completely. Lauren Walker made two straight baskets, leaving Tift down 28-24. Considering their game-long shooting woes, the four points felt like 400.

Instead, they found a new gear.

Cali Conner was fouled attempting an offensive rebound. She made both free throws at 5:59. Marietta missed as their end. Nicky Jones got the ball and spotted a wide open Shakiria Chaney on the other end at 5:28 to knot it at 28-all.

Chaney took another pass from Jones to score 40 seconds later and when Conner made a three-pointer that swished around every inch of the net at 3:46, their strength was only building.

Conner grabbed a defensive rebound and threw an outlet pass to Chaney. Jamia Level made a pair of free throws and at 1:05, it was a 38-28 game.

A final long pass from Chaney to Daejah Bailey bumped it to 40-28. Smith stopped the streak with a bucket, but with 15 seconds remaining, the game had already long been decided.

Walker started Friday with a pair of jumpers, but for the next quarter everyone else was stone cold. Marietta was up 7-4 at the quarter and only when Jones scored with 5:30 in the second did either team reach 10 points.

Chaney put Tift up 14-10, but Smith scored a quick five. The visitors took a 16-14 lead into halftime.

The Lady Devils made the first eight points of the third, Bailey giving them their biggest lead at 22-16, before Marietta got back in front.

Chaney netted 14 points. Jones scored eight and Conner added seven.

Smith and Walker each scored 11 for Marietta. Walker came in averaging 14. After the opening two jumpers, Coach Julie Conner changed defenders and moved over Cali Conner. Young Conner held Walker to seven the rest of the night.

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