Valdosta Daily Times

Local Sports

February 20, 2013

Lady Wildcats move on

VALDOSTA — Valdosta’s girls basketball team began the state playoffs with a 58-51 win over Hillgrove on Tuesday evening at the VHS gym.

The Lady Wildcats built an 18-point lead in the third quarter, then held off a late rally by the Lady Hawks to advance to the second round.

The Lady Wildcats improved to 22-5 with the win. They will face either Alcovy or East Coweta in the second round of the Class 6A playoffs on Friday.

“It feels good to get back to the Sweet 16,” Valdosta head coach E.A. Wilcox said. “I’m proud of my girls for their effort today.”

With 1:26 left in the first half, Valdosta trailed 22-21 after a three-pointer by Hillgrove’s Tene Thompson. But that would be the Lady Hawks’ last lead of the night.

After Stormm Phillips’ jumper gave Valdosta the lead again, Wilcox changed defenses, going to a full court press, and in a span of 14 seconds, Shaneika Smith and Tiaera Phillips both stole the ball in Hillgrove’s end of the court and scored. Stormm Phillips’ free throw with 1.9 seconds left in the half was Valdosta’s seventh straight point, and it gave the Lady Wildcats a 28-22 halftime lead.

Valdosta’s run continued in the second half. Destiny Covert scored twice in the first 1:01 of the third quarter. Then Stormm Phillips drove to the basket for a layup. Thompson hit a jumper for Hillgrove, but at the other end of the court, Valdosta got the ball inside to Covert for a basket. Covert made a jumper, then Tiaera Phillips made two layups in a span of 18 seconds, increasing Valdosta’s lead to 42-24.

In a span of 5:27, the Lady Wildcats had gone on a 21-2 run, and they had turned a one-point deficit into an 18-point lead.

But the Lady Hawks weren’t ready to throw in the towel. Hillgrove star Mackenzie Engram scored six points in the final 3:22 of the third quarter and Zarriah Pierce drained a three-pointer. Those points helped the Lady Hawks cut Valdosta’s lead down to nine, 44-35, at the end of three periods.

Hillgrove continued to trim its deficit in the fourth quarter. A 9-2 run brought the Lady Hawks within three points, 51-48, with 1:55 left in the game. Then Covert missed an open layup, Hillgrove got the rebound and Engram scored to make it a one-point game, 51-50, with 1:28 left on the clock.

But that was as close as they would get. Hillgrove pressed, but Valdosta beat the press and fired a long pass down the court to Covert. This time, she made the layup, giving Valdosta another three-point lead, 53-50. Engram made one of two free throws, but Kaneshia Kimbrough answered with two free throws for Valdosta. A Hillgrove three-point attempt was too long and went out of bounds, then Smith’s free throw gave the Lady Wildcats a 56-51 lead.

A few seconds later, Stormm Phillips was fouled and missed both of her free throws, but then she stole the ball back, got fouled again and made one of two shots with 16.4 seconds left. Then Covert grabbed a defensive rebound with 4.6 seconds left and sealed the victory with a free throw, making the Lady ’Cats final margin of victory seven points, 58-51.

The teams’ free throw shooting kept the game close. Hillgrove was 11 of 13 from the free throw line, while Valdosta struggled from the line for the second game in a row, making just 8 of 25 shots.

Covert was Valdosta’s leading scorer, with 17 points. Tiaera Phillips scored 13 points and Stormm Phillips added 12 points.

Engram, one of the state’s top junior forwards, scored 24 points for Hillgrove on Tuesday. Thompson added 12 points.

Valdosta’s boys team will play its first round game today at 4 p.m. at Hillgrove, which is located in Powder Springs, a city in northwest metro Atlanta.

1
Text Only
Local Sports
  • Grable signs with Tampa Bay

    Another former Valdosta State football player joined the ranks of the National Football League when linebacker Jeremy Grable signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Wednesday morning.

    July 23, 2014

  • MaryAlice.jpg Just Keep Running

    Forrest Gump once said, "I used to run to get to where I was going, but I never thought it would take me anywhere." In the case of 18 year-old Mary Alice Smoot, anywhere is Tampa, Fla.
    After four years of unparalleled success running cross-country at Valwood, Smoot will continue running competitively next season at the University of Tampa.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • 10U ELITE World Series Champs.jpg DKSA Elite win USSSA Global World Series

    DKSA ELITE just continues to win, the 10U team’s latest victory came in the USSSA Global World Series held in Destin, Fla. July 8-12.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lowndes_McPherson.jpg Milestones on tap for upcoming season

    Some milestones are destined to occur, like when Georgia Christian hosts David Emanuel on Aug. 22 in the Generals’ first varsity football game since the late 1960s.
    Others will have to wait and see what continues to take shape come Friday when teams can begin fall practice, and especially Aug. 1 when teams can suit up in pads for the first time, such as can Valdosta win its record 24th state title, or can Lowndes capture its fourth state championship under Randy McPherson, or can Valwood and coach Ashley Henderson play in its third straight GISA state championship game?
    As we start to find out the answers to those questions in just a few short weeks — the regular season is just 31 days away — there should be a few more milestones for area coaches to mark 2014 right along with the Generals getting back on the gridiron.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • ACC_Jimbo.jpg Back on top

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • ACC_Petrino.jpg Petrino returns to Louisville for first ACC season

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Braves_Marlins JUpton.jpg Jones lifts Marlins past Braves in 10

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ant Smith.JPG Anthony Smith ready for new test in college

    Smith was a three-year starter as a Wildcat and quickly worked his way up as a leader on both the defense and the team as a whole.

    July 21, 2014 3 Photos

  • Wildcats participate in national 7-on-7 tournament

    The Valdosta High Wildcats have been working extremely hard this summer to prepare for the football season. Summer workouts and a plethora of 7-on-7 tournaments and competitions have kept the Wildcats busy.

    July 20, 2014

  • Valwood.jpg A Different Look

    With football summer workouts in full swing, occasionally the intensity and competitive drive can wane going against teammates. But on Friday, Valwood, Brookwood, Lanier County and Tiftarea Academy broke up the monotony by meeting at Goddard Field for a four-team, 7-on-7 passing league.

    July 19, 2014 2 Photos

Blazers Blog
More