Valdosta Daily Times

Local Sports

February 23, 2014

Blazer basketball grab wins in final home game

VALDOSTA — It certainly wasn’t an offensive masterpiece, but the Valdosta State women’s basketball team isn’t complaining.

The Blazers shot just 33.3 percent from the floor, but rode the hot hand of April Thomas late to edge Shorter 46-41 at The Complex on Saturday.

“We struggled scoring at times,” VSU coach Kiley Hill said as his Blazers snapped a five-game losing streak in the home finale, improving to 11-13 overall and 6-12 in the Gulf South Conference. Shorter, which shot 36.8 percent, fell to 6-18 and 4-14. “We had some kids that struggled shooting the ball. We couldn’t throw it in the ocean for awhile. Both teams probably set offensive basketball back at least 20 years.”

“It feels good to finally put ourselves in position to have success. We’ve tried to do, but we’ve been a team of almost. Tonight, we were a team of doing just enough.”

After Shorter took a 32-30 lead with 10:59 remaining, Thomas quickly answered with two straight buckets to put VSU — which now hits the road to Delta State on Thursday and Christian Brothers next Saturday prior to the GSC tournament — back on top and she made sure it remained there. The Blazers’ leading scorer at 14.7 points per game, Thomas was limited to just two at halftime. But she heated up midway through the second half.

“Thomas hit some big shots, but I think some other kids stepped up and did some things other than shooting the ball,” Hill said. “Those last two 3-pointers were huge.”

Having scored eight of VSU’s last 10 points, Thomas drained a 3-pointer with 1:50 left to stake the Blazers to a 43-36 lead. But Shorter wasn’t done. Following a Karisma Boykin basket, Ieshia Alexander hit a 3-pointer and the Hawks were back within two with 40 seconds left. Boykin and Lynette Harris, who scored Shorter’s first eight points, led the Hawks with 12 points each.

Then Jordan Waugh missed a jumper in the lane in transition, but the junior guard chased down her miss — one of seven rebounds from Waugh — and found Thomas, who finished with a game-high 16, alone in the corner and she drilled her second 3 to make it 46-41 with 21 seconds left as VSU outscored Shorter 12-2 on second-chance points. Courtney Sprague added a pair of free throws to help seal it.

“Jordan Waugh did so many little things that are instrumental to success,” Hill said.

With the offense struggling throughout, especially in a first half that ended with a 24-all tie, the Blazers got a lift from seldom-used senior forward Jocelyn Danley. Danley, who has battled injuries, got the start on senior night and made the most of the opportunity. Limited to just five games and six points coming in, she scored the Blazers’ first bucket and had five points in the first 11 minutes, 19 seconds of the game, putting VSU up 12-11 when she hit a free throw at that point.

“Jocelyn is playing without an ACL and she’s fought her way back to be able to play,” Hill added. “When Jocelyn was fully healthy, she was a warrior not just physically but also mentally.

“We needed that. She was a spark.”

Text Only
Local Sports
  • 0728-Lowndes practice4.jpg Vikings working out with padded practice, scrimmage on the horizon

    The look was familiar Monday at Martin Stadium.
    The Lowndes High football team’s conditioning practice was essentially a duplicate of the workouts the Vikings have completed throughout the summer.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Thomasville_Ryals.jpg South Georgia special for high school coaches

    Phillip Johnson remembers when he had a “Wizard of Oz” moment.
    The North Carolina native moved to Georgia when he was 26 and Johnson, now Lanier County’s second-year head coach, recalls a 7-on-7 tournament leading to the realization that he wasn’t in Kansas — or in his case, North Carolina — anymore.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Nolin settling in as new VSU soccer coach

    Meet Rebecca Nolin, VSU's new soccer coach.

    July 28, 2014

  • Induction Crowd: Honorees were genuine, down to earth

    More than 48,000 people gathered under the scorching sun at The Clark Sports Center for the 75th National Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Sunday, including one woman who carpooled to the event with more than 40 other people.

    July 28, 2014

  • Braves trio all business at inductions

    The Braves seemed almost businesslike in their approach -- something you might expect from a trio that won so consistently.
    Managers Joe Torre and Tony La Russa also remained calm and collected throughout their addresses.
    Frank Thomas took care of the emotional side, his voice breaking and his eyes moist during a heartfelt speech Sunday at the Clark Sports Center.

    July 28, 2014

  • Cooperstown Merchants: Weekend was a success

    Cooperstown merchants are elated about the exceptionally prosperous Hall of Fame Induction Weekend, several storekeepers said Sunday.

    During an afternoon lull in business, when the National Baseball Hall of Fame's induction ceremony was taking place, area shop and restaurant owners took a quick breath, reflected and expressed satisfaction with their sales for the weekend.

    July 28, 2014

  • Hall of Famers thank fathers for stepping up to the plate

    Great ballplayers thanking their dads at a Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony is about as original as oil and vinegar are to an Italian restaurant.

    July 28, 2014

  • Hall_Maddux.jpg Hall of Braves

    The weird part was that Jeff Idelson didn't take a lot of time to answer.
    "Is there any word or description that unifies this class?" was the query posed to the National Baseball Hall of Fame's president.
    "The common thread among the six is profound humility," Idelson said of former managers Joe Torre, Bobby Cox and Tony La Russa, and former players Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, all of whom will be inducted into the Hall today. "I don't think I realized that fully until I spent time with them in December. It was uncanny to me, for the cumulative star power in that group, the humility among them. I think that's felt really strongly with baseball fans."

    July 27, 2014 2 Photos 1 Story

  • Hall_Cox.jpg Cox’s willingness to defend players stands out to local coaches

    Bobby Cox will be able to add Hall of Famer to his resume when he is inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame today in Cooperstown, N.Y.
    But the former Atlanta Braves manager’s legacy will remain the same to area baseball coaches: his willingness to defend his players.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

  • Valwood_Henderson.jpg Area teams hoping to get over the hump

    Past successes lead to present and future expectations.
    That’s the task faced by pretty much all 12 area high school football coaches present Saturday at In The Game Magazine’s South Georgia Football media day at the Holiday Inn conference center.
    It’s a task that also has the elite group searching for answers as to how to get past the state championship road block in recent years, aside from Valwood’s GISA Class AA crown in 2012.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

Blazers Blog