James Washington / Special to The Times
The Valdosta Daily Times
Both the Valwood girls and boys basketball teams pulled out crucial wins Thursday against the visiting Brookwood Warriors.
In the girls game, the Valiants defeated the Warriors 43-32.
Leading the way for Valwood was freshman guard Ashley Manwell, who finished with a team-high 13 points. Freshman forward Evelyn Howell added 10 points, while junior guard Ginnie Bree Hunter contributed with eight.
It was a much-needed win for the Valiants, who never trailed throughout the game. The win ended a 12-game losing streak for Valwood’s girls, who improved to 2-15.
“(Manwell) has been tremendous for us all year,” Valwood coach Carlos Jones said. “Howell was excellent tonight as well. The best thing about them is that they’re both freshman…they’ll be here for a while.”
Valwood boys 26
In the boys’ contest, the home team pulled out a hard-fought win, with the outcome falling solely in the hands of the Valiant post players. After giving up a 6-0 run to Brookwood to open the game, Valwood took control, led by senior forward De’Andre Lambert.
Coming off the bench, he scored eight of the Valiants’ 16 first-half points. He finished with 10 points (shooting 5-8 from the field) and eight rebounds on the night (both team-highs) and also recorded one steal.
“De’Andre really stepped up tonight,” Jones said. “He’s come off the bench the last few games and he’s really accepted the role. He’s preforming exceptionally well.”
While the Valiants rarely trailed in the game, the visiting Warriors used a late fourth-quarter run to trim their deficit to only two points. Once again, Valwood’s big men stepped up defensively, this time to the tune of two key blocks from junior forward Anthony Folkerts.
The frontcourt of Lambert, Folkerts, and senior center Carter Elliott combined for 19 of the team’s 26 points.
“Our post players are very talented,” Jones said. “We’re so fortunate to have two sets of big bodies that can plug the lane.”
Thursday’s win improves the Valiants to 6-10.
Valwood hosts Westwood today in the final game of the regular season. The Valwood boys could secure third place in GISA Region 3-AA with a win. The girls game starts at 6:30 p.m. with the boys to follow at 8 p.m.