Valdosta Daily Times

Local Sports

February 14, 2014

Vikettes edge Packers in thriller to reach region championship

Brunswick routs Valdosta boys in region semifinal

VALDOSTA — The Lowndes girls basketball team edged Colquitt County 54-52 at the buzzer Thursday in the Region 1-AAAAAA tournament at Brunswick to advance to the championship game.

Tied with two seconds left in the region semifinal, the Vikettes had a chance at the free throw line to win the thriller. However, Lowndes missed the front end of the 1-and-1, but the Packers couldn’t corral the rebound. Instead the loose ball found Zakiya Hunter, who promptly hit the game-winner.

“I don’t know how to explain the feeling really,” Lowndes coach Brittany Ferguson said. “My girls picked on me after the game because they didn’t know if I wanted to cry or be happy because of the win.

“It’s a wonderful feeling though, especially getting here with this particular group of girls. I couldn’t ask for anything better.”

Led by Tashia Brown’s 19 points, the Vikettes will need to get other players involved to win the title game, having only one player reach the double digits in scoring against Colquitt.

“We have a philosophy of we’re going to focus on defense and rebounding,” Ferguson said. “Those are the two things that got us to this point. Those things take heart and effort, and if you do those two things, you usually end up on the side of victory.”

The 17-8 Vikettes, who already clinched a home game in the first round of the state tournament, will face the host and top-seeded Pirates at 7 p.m. today for the region championship.

Brunswick, which is 24-2 after beating Tift County in the other semifinal Thursday, swept Lowndes in the regular season with a 74-56 home win Jan. 11 and a 58-48 victory on the road a week later.

Brunswick    75

Valdosta boys    55

The Wildcats’ hopes of reaching the region championship ended Thursday against the host Pirates in a semifinal.

Valdosta, which earned its trip to the state tournament Tuesday by beating Camden County 55-43, will now play either Coffee or top-seeded Tift County at 5:30 p.m. today in the third-place game.

The Wildcats (17-9) upset the Blue Devils, ranked second in the state, 65-51 on Saturday to close the regular season. Tift won 77-63 at home Feb. 1. Valdosta, the third seed in the tournament, and Coffee also split two regular-season meetings with the Wildcats winning 63-45 at home Feb. 6 and falling 60-46 in Douglas on Jan. 14.

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