Lowndes girls 52, Valdosta 50
Lowndes’ girls also appeared to be the underdog on Saturday, facing an experienced Valdosta squad that had beaten them by seven points earlier this month.
But the Vikettes have been tough to beat at home this year, and on Saturday, they won a down-to-the-wire basketball game, 52-50.
“I’m very proud, super proud,” Lowndes head coach Shan Garner said. “This is a war (when Lowndes and Valdosta play).”
With 1:02 left in the game, Valdosta’s Stormm Phillips made a layup to give the Lady Wildcats a 50-49 lead. Then Lowndes got the ball, and Delaney Edwards was fouled. Edwards, a freshman, stepped to the free throw line and made one of her two free throws to tie the score.
With less than 40 seconds remaining in the game, Lowndes got the ball back with the score still tied. As Lexus Miller dribbled the ball across the halfcourt line, a Valdosta player reached in and fouled her. Miller stepped to the line and made both free throws, putting her team ahead, 52-50.
Valdosta brought the ball up the court, and passed the ball around, looking for a good shot. VHS tried to pass the ball inside to Phillips, but she lost the ball out of bounds with 18.2 seconds left. The Lady Wildcats fouled Lowndes’ Asha Jordan-Hayes, but she missed both free throws, and Valdosta got the rebound. After a timeout, Lowndes’ Tashia Brown knocked a pass out of bounds with 5.7 seconds left.
Valdosta inbounded the ball again, and it wound up in the hands of LeQuisha Newkirk. Jordan-Hayes and TeTe Wilson surrounded Newkirk, and got their hands on the ball when she tried to shoot. The ball rolled away, and the buzzer sounded before either team could get to it.
It was a big victory for the Vikettes, who were only 2-5 in region play coming into the game.
Early on, it was all Lowndes. The Vikettes scored 19 of the game’s first 23 points, and built a 15-point lead early in the second quarter.
Lowndes led 26-15 at halftime and 36-26 after three quarters.
But Garner knew Valdosta would probably make a run in the fourth quarter. And he was right.
With 6:02 left in the game, Phillips was fouled and made both free throws. Those shots started a 12-2 run.
With 4:50 left, Newkirk’s three-point play cut Lowndes’ lead to 40-38. Then the Lady Wildcats got the ball back after the Vikettes couldn’t inbound the ball in five seconds. Tiaera Phillips was fouled, and made both shots to tie the score at 40-40 with 4:40 left on the clock.
After that, the teams went back and forth for the next four minutes. But in the final minute, the Vikettes scored the last three points, and won the game.
Brown and Wilson scored 12 points apiece for Lowndes.
Stormm Phillips led all scorers with 13 points, despite being held without a field goal until the fourth quarter. Shaneika Smith added 10 points for VHS (16-4), which has lost three of its last four games after starting the season 15-1. The Lady Wildcats hurt themselves on Saturday by making only 22 of their 39 free throw attempts.