The Valdosta Daily Times
Valdosta’s boys basketball team won a tough battle with Brunswick on Friday night, defeating the Pirates 75-70 at the VHS gymnasium.
The win improved the Wildcats’ record to 6-0 in Region 1-6A, and 13-4 overall.
“It was another region win. We came out and did what we had to do and got the win,” Valdosta head coach Antonio Haynes said. “We were able to get through (some of our) mistakes and make some big plays down the stretch to win a basketball game.”
Rashad Lewis and Clarence Smith carried a large portion of the offensive load for the Wildcats. Lewis scored a game-high 30 points, while Smith had 24. A bunch of those points were scored in the final minutes of the game.
Valdosta trailed for most of the first half and the first four minutes of the second half.
But halfway through the third period, the Wildcats went on a 10-1 run, and turned a 44-39 deficit into a 49-45 lead. Anthony Smith made a free throw, then after a turnover, Clarence Smith made a layup. Then Lewis got the ball behind the arc and drained a three-pointer. Brunswick’s Mike Davis made a free throw, but then a basket by Anthony Smith and two free throws by Lewis extended the Wildcats’ lead to 49-45.
Valdosta led 52-49 heading into the final quarter.
Early in the fourth quarter, Brunswick went on a 9-0 run and regained the lead, 60-56. But Lewis halted the run with a three-pointer, then on the Wildcats’ next possession, Anthony Smith grabbed an offensive rebound and scored, putting Valdosta back on top, 61-60. A basket by Lewis and two free throws by Brunswick’s Ty Jackson made it 63-62 with 2:28 left in the game.
Then Valdosta started hitting from behind the three-point line. Lewis buried a three-pointer. After a Brunswick basket, an open Clarence Smith got the ball in the corner and drained a three-pointer. The Pirates got another basket, but then they let Smith get open again in the corner, and once again, the senior guard buried a three-pointer. That extended the Wildcats’ lead to six, 72-66, with 1:08 left in the game.
Then Valdosta made three of four free throws in the final minute to put the game away.
The game was tied 10-10 at the end of one quarter, and Brunswick held a 29-27 lead at halftime. But the Wildcats outscored the Pirates 36-26 in the final 12 minutes of the game, and rallied for the win.
Valdosta made 12 three-pointers in the win. Lewis had six and Clarence Smith had four. Smith scored 18 of his 24 points in the second half.
Jackson led Brunswick with 27 points.
Brunswick girls 58, Valdosta 51
Brunswick’s girls dominated the first quarter, and built a lead that Valdosta was unable to overcome.
It was only the second loss of the season for the Lady Wildcats (15-2).
Early on, everything the Lady Pirates did seemed to work. Their full court press gave Valdosta trouble, creating several turnovers, and they handled Valdosta’s press well.
Ninety seconds into the game, Valdosta held a 3-2 lead. But then Brunswick caught fire. Brea Thomas made a free throw.
Then Kilah Nixon took over the game. She made a free throw and a layup on consecutive possessions. A little over a minute later, Briana Gipson stole the ball and passed it to Nixon for a layup. Then Nixon stole the ball and dribbled in for a basket. A Lady Pirates player grabbed a rebound off a missed VHS shot and passed to a teammate, who threw a long pass to Nixon for another basket. Destiny Alston’s putback completed a 12-0 run, and gave Brunswick a 14-3 lead.
The Lady Pirates added to their lead with an 8-2 run at the end of the first period. Alston scored six of those eight points, and her off-balance layup at the buzzer gave Brunswick a 25-10 lead at the end of one quarter.
The Lady Pirates held a 41-25 lead at halftime and a 46-29 lead with 6:30 left in the third quarter.
But the Lady Wildcats weren’t ready to give up. Shaneika Smith made two free throws. Destiny Covert got the ball under the basket and scored, and Terri Oglesby scored on a putback. Stormm Phillips got the ball in the paint and scored. Smith converted a three-point play, then drove for a layup the next time she touched the ball. That 13-0 run turned a 17-point Brunswick lead into a four-point lead, 46-42, heading into the final period.
Tiaera Phillips’ basket at the start of the fourth quarter pulled the Lady Wildcats within two points, 46-44.
But Brunswick slowed the pace of the game in the fourth period, and that helped stop Valdosta’s momentum. The Lady ‘Cats only managed two field goals in the final 5:45, and couldn’t get any closer than two points.
Brunswick beat Valdosta’s press twice in the final minute, and both times, Nixon got layups, which put the game away.
Alston led the Lady Pirates with 22 points. Nixon scored 16 points and Gipson added 10.
Tiaera Phillips scored 13 points for Valdosta, while Smith added 12.
Valdosta will travel to Camden County today. The girls’ game begins at 6 p.m.