Valdosta Daily Times

February 15, 2013

Lady Wildcats advance to region championship game

Christian Malone
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — The Valdosta Lady Wildcats dominated the final 10 minutes of the game, and advanced to the Region 1-6A girls basketball championship game with a 73-49 victory over Colquitt County in the semifinals on Thursday night.

The Lady Wildcats (21-4) will face Tift County (20-6) in the championship game today at 7 p.m. at the VHS gym. Colquitt will play Coffee at 4 p.m. in the consolation game.

“I applaud (my players) for the victory tonight,” Valdosta head coach E.A. Wilcox said. “They worked really hard.”

The Lady Packers hung close for a while on Thursday. But then Valdosta outscored Colquitt 33-12 in the final 10 minutes of the game, and pulled away for a 24-point win.

With just over two minutes left in the third quarter, a layup and a three-pointer by Colquitt’s Makeba Ponder on back-to-back possessions cut Valdosta’s lead down to three points, 40-37.

At that point, Wilcox called a time out, and changed his defense and his personnel. The changes worked for the Lady Wildcats.

After the timeout, Valdosta brought the ball down the court and Stormm Phillips drove for a layup. Then she stole the ball and dribbled in for another layup. The next time Valdosta got the ball, Phillips was fouled and made one of two free throws, giving the Lady Wildcats an eight-point lead, 45-37, heading into the final quarter.

Then Valdosta went on a big run at the start of the fourth quarter, and all but put the game away.

With her team leading 47-41 early in the fourth quarter, Valdosta’s Terri Oglesby got the ball in the paint and scored. Tiaera Phillips made a layup, Smith converted two free throws, then Valdosta’s Destiny Covert and Kaneshia Kimbrough scored on back-to-back possessions. Tiaera Phillips’ layup with 4:44 left finished off Valdosta’s 12-0 run, and increased the Lady Wildcats’ lead to 59-41.

“I think that run we went on wore them down,” Wilcox said.

Colquitt scored eight of the next 12 points, making the score 63-49 with 2:15 left. But then Valdosta got hot again, and scored the final 10 points of the game. Tiaera Phillips had a layup and a three-point play on back-to-back possessions, and Covert had a three-point play and a jumper in the final 24.3 seconds to increase Valdosta’s final margin of victory to 24 points, 73-49.

At the start of the game, Valdosta jumped out to early leads of 5-2 and 12-8. But both times, Ponder answered with a pair of shots to put her team in front. Ponder’s three-pointer and jumper were the last five points of the first quarter, and they gave the Lady Packers a 13-12 lead after eight minutes.

Valdosta regained the lead early in the second quarter. Kimbrough’s three-pointer tied the score at 15-15. After a Colquitt free throw, Valdosta went on a 10-0 run, getting a basket from Oglesby, three-pointers from Kimbrough and LaQuesha Newkirk and a basket by Stormm Phillips. That run put the Lady Wildcats in front, 25-16.

Valdosta led 29-22 at halftime.

Colquitt battled back in the third quarter. Ponder made a basket and two three-pointers in the first 2:13 of the period, which helped the Lady Packers tie the score at 32-32.

Valdosta answered with an 8-0 run, with Covert scoring twice and Kimbrough and Stormm Phillips also getting baskets. Ponder responded with five straight points, cutting the Wildcats’ lead to 40-37. But then the Lady Wildcats took control of the game, and pulled away for the victory.

Covert led Valdosta with 19 points. Stormm Phillips scored 16 points, Kimbrough had 10 and Smith and Tiaera Phillips added nine points apiece.

Ponder kept the Lady Packers in the game for the first three quarters. She had 17 of Colquitt’s 22 points in the first half, including 11 of her team’s 13 points in the first quarter. She finished with 34 points.

Brunswick boys 48, Valdosta 44

Brunswick’s boys outscored Valdosta 23-11 in the final 10 minutes, and rallied to defeat the Wildcats 48-44 in the semifinals of the Region 1 boys tournament.

Brunswick will face Tift County in the region championship game today at 8:30 p.m. at the VHS gym. Tift defeated Coffee 79-50 in Thursday’s other semifinal. Valdosta will play Coffee in the consolation game at 5:30 p.m.

With two minutes left in the third quarter, Valdosta held an eight-point lead, 33-25. But then the tide turned in Brunswick’s


Brunswick’s Marquice Jones made a layup, then Tracey Walker blocked a shot at the other end of the floor. Ty Jackson’s three-point play cut Valdosta’s lead to 33-30 heading into the fourth quarter.

In the first minute of the final period, Brunswick’s Rodriguez Hamilton tipped in a missed shot, then after a steal, Jackson’s layup gave the Pirates a 34-33 lead. Clarence Smith gave Valdosta the lead back with a jumper. Jones tied the score with a free throw, then Smith put the Wildcats ahead again (38-35) with three free throws.

The teams went back and forth for the next 90 seconds. Smith’s three-pointer with 3:03 left to play gave Valdosta a 43-39 lead.

Unfortunately for the Wildcats, they would only score one more point after that.

A three-point play by Brunswick’s Rogers Davis cut Valdosta’s lead to one, 43-42. Then after two missed free throws by Valdosta’s Kevin Ferrell and an offensive foul call on Colin Kirkpatrick that drew boos from the home crowd, Jackson put Brunswick back on top with two free throws, making it 44-43. Kirkpatrick missed a three-pointer and Smith had a 10-foot jumper rim out.

Brunswick’s Jaamond Kelly and Valdosta’s Rashad Lewis traded free throws, then a foul shot by Davis gave the Pirates a 46-44 lead with 36.9 seconds left on the clock. Valdosta got the ball back, but Lewis was called for traveling. The Wildcats fouled Jackson, who put the game away with two free throws with 19.4 seconds remaining.

Jackson led the Pirates with 16 points. Jones added 10.

Brunswick led 10-8 after the first quarter, but Valdosta dominated the second quarter, outscoring the Pirates 16-7.

The Wildcats took the lead with an 8-0 run early in the second quarter. Kirkpatrick and Tobias Graham both made three-pointers and Lewis had a layup. Valdosta had another 8-0 run later in the period — thanks to three-pointers by Smith and Kirkpatrick and two Jerahn Thomas free throws — and headed to the locker room with a 24-15 halftime lead.

The Wildcats led by as many as 11 points in the third quarter, and were ahead by eight when the Pirates started their rally.

Smith was the only Wildcat in double figures, scoring 16 points.