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January 23, 2013

’Cats pound Colquitt

Lewis scored 37 points, Smith 20 in Valdosta’s 83-46 victory Tuesday

VALDOSTA — Rashad Lewis and the Valdosta Wildcats had a big night on Tuesday.

Lewis scored 37 points and led the Valdosta boys basketball team to an 83-46 victory over Colquitt County on Tuesday at the VHS gym.

The junior point guard made six field goals, five three-pointers and 10 free throws in the win. He scored 30 points in the first half, the last three of which came on a halfcourt shot as time expired in the second quarter. And he didn’t even play in the fourth quarter.

“I thought the team was pretty good. I thought they played well as a team. And (Rashad) did a good job,” Valdosta head coach Antonio Haynes said. “As a family, they did good. Other guys allowed (Rashad) to open up and get some shots.”

Lewis wasn’t the only player who played well on Tuesday. Clarence Smith scored 20 points for Valdosta, and three other players scored at least seven points.

Valdosta improved to 15-4 and 8-0 in Region 1-6A.

“We got a 37-point win. That was a big win for us,” Haynes said. “We applied a lot of pressure, got stops, played pretty good defense in the first half. (We) came out in the third quarter and kind of separated ourselves. We played some pretty good defense. And we knocked down some shots.

“It was a pretty good night.”

The rout — and Lewis’ big night — started almost immediately. Less than a minute into the game, after Colquitt had gotten a free throw for the first point, Lewis got the ball behind the arc and drained a three-pointer. The next time down the floor, Smith made a three-pointer. Just over a minute later, Smith scored inside on back-to-back possessions. Then Lewis drove to the basket, scored, got fouled and made his free throw to complete a three-point play. That gave the Wildcats a 13-1 lead.

Later in the period, Lewis made three free throws and a jumper, and Smith made a basket. Colquitt didn’t get its first field goal until 23 seconds remained in the first quarter. At the end of one period, Valdosta held a 20-7 lead.

Lewis (who had 11 points) and Smith (who had nine) scored all of the Wildcats’ points in the first quarter.

The Wildcats would continue to build on that lead in the next two quarters.

Valdosta went on another run early in the second quarter, with Lewis and Smith scoring most of the points, and extended its lead to more than 20 points.

In the final seconds of the first half, Lewis stole the ball near midcourt. Realizing that the clock was about to expire, he threw up a shot from about 45 feet away. The shot couldn’t have been more perfect. As the buzzer was sounding, it went right through the basket, touching no rim, and it gave the Wildcats a 26-point halftime lead, 48-22.

The buzzer-beating halfcourt shot was a fine way to end a great half of basketball for Lewis. In 16 minutes of play, Lewis scored 30 points. That included four three-pointers. He scored eight points more than the entire Colquitt team. He and Smith combined for 44 of Valdosta’s 48 points.

Valdosta further extended its lead in the third quarter, outscoring the Packers 24-10. Lewis scored seven points in the period, and Smith had six, including two points on an uncontested dunk. At the end of the third quarter, the Wildcats held a 40-point lead, 72-32.

The fourth quarter was shortened to six minutes, due to the mercy rule. With a commanding lead, Haynes sat his starters (including Lewis and Smith) in the fourth quarter and let his reserves play.

In addition to the big nights by Lewis and Smith, Anthony Smith scored eight points and Colin Kirkpatrick and Coy Roberts added seven.

Kamoris Woods scored 17 points for Colquitt, and Xavier Terry added 16.

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