Valdosta Daily Times

Local Sports

February 5, 2014

Lowndes, Coffee split region basketball games

(Continued)

VALDOSTA — Coffee boys    77

Lowndes    71


Lowndes' girls were able to re-write ending of their last encounter with Coffee, and for a moment, it looked like the boys would able to do the same.

The Vikings have struggled recently after getting out to an 8-5 record to open the season. Lowndes is 1-11 in its last 12 games with the lone win coming in a game against Camden County on Jan. 17, but just a week later the Vikings were crushed by the Trojans 81-58 behind Brandon Roe's 21 points, 10 rebounds, and six assists.

Coffee raced out to another a quick double-digit lead on Tuesday by getting to the rim early and often.

The Vikings' defense struggled to get back in transition, leaving lanes open for the Trojans to get into the paint. Lowndes turnovers led to Coffee fastbreaks and a 21-9 lead after the first quarter.

Lowndes looked to have settled down early in the second quarter as a couple Eric Henderson jumpers fell to trim the lead to single digits, but Coffee continued to grind to push the lead once again.

A dent was finally made in the Trojans’ lead in the final minute of the half as the Vikings went off on a 7-0 run to close the second quarter, trailing 37-30.

Even though Lowndes went into the locker rooms down at the half, Vikings coach John Arnold was happy with the difference between Tuesday's game and the last game against Coffee where Lowndes trailed by 18 at halftime.

"Our intensity was so much better this time around," said Arnold. "I'm proud of the guys and how hard they played. The defensive intensity, and even the intensity overall including the offensive end was just a lot better tonight."

Both teams traded blows throughout the third quarter with Henderson providing Lowndes' offense by knocking down jumpshots all over the court, but the Vikings could not stop the Trojans from outscoring them by three to take a 10 point lead into the final quarter.

Facing a double-digit deficit with eight minutes to play Lowndes could have thrown in the towel, but the Vikings would not go away.

Aggressive defense and a full-court press began to effect Coffee down the stretch as Lowndes inched back into the game little by little.

With Henderson shooting lights out from the floor, the Trojans began to expend extra effort to prevent Henderson from beating them which opened up room for Lowndes' other players.

Henderson found Alan Urrutia for a big 3-pointer from the wing to close the score within four with three minutes to go.

On the following possession Rodrick Manning jumped a pass for an easy layup in transition to cut the score to 64-62.

After a three-point play by Coffee, Manning stole another errant pass, leading to a three-on-one fastbreak and an easy Henderson layup to tie the game at 69 with less than a minute and a half to play.

But Lowndes just couldn't complete the comeback as Coffee's Jay Lott knocked down two free throws with 33 seconds left. With one more chance to tie, Urrutia missed a contested layup on a one-on-one fastbreak to seal the Vikings defeat.

Lowndes outscored Coffee 62-56 in the final three quarters, but it was not enough to overcome a 12-point first quarter deficit.

"I just think we settled down and started playing the way we know we can play,” Arnold said. “We picked up the intensity on the defensive end and some shots started falling on the offensive end and we got a little momentum and got a little confidence in ourselves. I think we still have a long way to go, but the kids battled back and played real hard tonight."

The Vikings were able to limit Roe to just 11 points and Henderson's hot shooting was good for 30 in the loss.

"Eric's done a great job all season," said Arnold. "He shoots the ball extremely well he did a good job tonight of making things happen and I'm proud of him."

The Vikings host Colquitt County tonight in a make-up of Jan. 28’s cancellation.

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