The Valdosta Daily Times
Both Lowndes girls and boys basketball teams opened the first round of the Jones County Christmas Tournament with wins on Friday afternoon.
Both Lowndes programs have gotten off to hot starts in out-of-region games early in the season and both programs found a way to keep the momentum rolling in the first day of the three-day tournament.
Games were played Friday and today and then teams will travel back to Ashburn on Monday to play the final round.
The Vikettes entered Friday's opening game against Warner Robins looking to move past a two-point loss to Effingham County a week ago, and did they ever put the game behind them quickly.
Tashia Brown had a game high 17 points as the Vikettes ran out to a big lead and coasted to an easy win over the Demons, 56-28.
Taffany Smith and Di'era DeLoatch added nine points apiece and Lowndes' defense made life rough on Warner Robins on the offensive end.
"My girls are finally buying into playing hard consistently, and that's been the motto over the season, learning to play hard on every possession," said Vikettes coach Brittany Ferguson. "In regards to tomorrow, we're going to have the same game plan. Go out there, try to defend, rebound, and communicate with each other and those things should lead us to another win."
Lowndes girls will face Stewart County today.
While Lowndes girls won comfortably, the boys had a much tougher task Friday when they played the Stewart County boys team.
Lowndes entered Friday's opening round coming off of two close losses to East Laurens, 64-62, and Spalding, 53-50, in the Turner County Tournament before salvaging a win against First Presbyterian Day, 57-47, on the final day of the tournament.
The Knights, coming off a six-game winning streak, played the Vikings tightly throughout the entire game. Lowndes led Stewart County 16-14 after the first quarter and the teams were knotted at 25 going into halftime.
The story remained the same in the second half; both teams traded baskets and good defensive plays, but thanks to 15 points from Allen Urrutia, and 14 from Coyshon Roberts, the Vikings were able to gut out the tough victory, 47-44.
With the win, Lowndes boys move to 8-3 on the season.
"We got to continue to play team ball, and continue to play aggressive defense," said John Arnold, Lowndes basketball's boys coach. "It's going to be a challenge tomorrow with whoever we play; both teams are good. It's just going to have to continue to be a team effort, and on the defensive side, we'll just need to continue to work."
The Vikings will face the winner of Turner County and Thomas County Central's opening round meeting.