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.
Valdosta girls 44, Colquitt County 41
Shaneika Smith’s three free throws with 0.8 seconds left gave Valdosta’s girls a 44-41 win over Colquitt.
The win improved the Lady Wildcats’ record to 16-3 overall and 6-2 in Region 1. VHS ended a two-game losing streak.
With 45 seconds left in the game and the score tied 41-41, Valdosta’s Destiny Covert grabbed a rebound off of a Colquitt miss. Valdosta head coach E.A. Wilcox called a timeout, and set up Valdosta’s final shot. The Lady Wildcats passed the ball around the perimeter, looking for a good shot. Colquitt’s defense was tight, and VHS couldn’t find an opening as the seconds ticked off the clock.
Finally, with three seconds left, Smith had no choice; she had to shoot. So she released a shot from several feet behind the three-point line. The shot was off the mark.
But then an official’s whistle blew. Colquitt’s Dexshalyn Polite, who was guarding Smith, was called for a foul. That meant that Smith would go to the free throw line for three shots with 0.8 seconds left to play.
Colquitt head coach Rondesha Williams was furious, and charged to center court to argue the foul call. But the call stood, and Smith stepped to the line.
Smith only needed to make one of her three free throws to win the game. But she made all three, giving her team a three-point lead.
Colquitt inbounded the ball, but a desperation shot was well short of the basket and came after the buzzer.
It was Valdosta’s only lead of the game. The Lady Wildcats led Tuesday’s game for less than one second. But it was the most important 0.8 seconds of the game.
Colquitt started the game with an 11-4 run, and took a lead it would hold until the end of the game. Shakhila Harry scored six points on the run and Makeba Ponder had four. After one quarter, the Packers led 11-8.
Ponder and Harry scored the first two baskets of the second quarter, which started an 11-3 run for the Lady Packers. Harry also converted a three-point play during the run, and JaNaia Sailor had two baskets. That gave Colquitt a 22-11 lead. The Lady Packers extended their lead to as many as 13 points, 26-13, before Valdosta scored four points in the final seven seconds of the first half, making the score 26-17 at halftime.
Early in the third quarter, Valdosta went on a 7-0 run, and cut its deficit down to four, 28-24. The Lady Packers answered with a 6-0 run three minutes later, building their lead back to 10 points, but a jumper by Tiaera Phillips and a layup by Kaneshia Kimbrough cut Colquitt’s lead to six, 36-30, heading into the final period.
Colquitt still led by six with around five minutes left to play. But Smith cut that lead in half with a three-pointer. Then with 3:29 left to play, Taylor Hauser buried a three-pointer, and tied the score, 39-39.
Two minutes later, Polite and Phillips traded baskets, making it 41-41 with 1:09 left. Then Covert rebounded a missed shot, giving the Lady Wildcats the ball back and setting the stage for Smith’s heroics.
Smith led Valdosta with 13 points. Phillips added 10 points. Harry led Colquitt with 13 points.
Valdosta will travel across town to face Lowndes on Saturday. The girls’ game begins at 6 p.m.
Lewis scored 37 points, Smith 20 in Valdosta’s 83-46 victory Tuesday
Rashad Lewis and the Valdosta Wildcats had a big night on Tuesday.
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