Valdosta Daily Times

Top Sports News

January 4, 2014

Blazers open 2014 against Tigers

VALDOSTA — The Valdosta State Blazers (7-1) will take the floor for their first game of 2014 tonight when they host West Alabama (5-4).

VSU last played December 19, losing 72-59 to Lee University for its first loss of the season. The Blazers struggled from the field and were outhustled on the glass. VSU shot a season-worst 31.3 percent from the field, made just 5-of-26 from three-point range and were outrebounded 49-33.

Following Thursday’s practice, Blazers head coach Mike Helfer expressed optimism that his team will be fresh and ready to go on Saturday.

“The break was good from a mental standpoint,” Helfer said. “We have a long way to go physically to get back to that level of conditioning we were at before we left. The good thing is that all of Division II is under the same rule so everybody has the same amount of time off to prepare for these games.”

The Tigers are 5-4 this season, but have blowout victories against the likes of Delta State and defending GSC champion Christian Brothers.

“I think they’re very good,” Helfer said. “They have a win over a Division I program (The Citadel) this year. They’re very well-coached. Their kids play very hard—they don’t make a lot of mistakes. It’s going to be a very good basketball game and both teams, I hope, will play at a high level coming off the seven or eight day break.”

The Tigers present an interesting challenge with their size and athleticism throughout their lineup, led by Preseason All-Gulf South Conference swingman Sandy Underwood. Underwood leads the Tigers in scoring at 18.4 points per game.

The 6’5” senior has scored 20+ points in five of the Tigers’ nine games this season and will be the focal point of the Blazers’ defensive game plan.

“You just try to make him work for his points,” Helfer said. “Great scorers, great players—they just find ways to get it done. You want to find ways to make it hard on him and not give him any easy stuff.”

The Blazers have won four of the last five meetings with the Tigers including both games last season, which were decided by four points combined. Despite his team’s recent success, Helfer downplays the notion it will help on Saturday.

“I think we can throw all of those previous games out the window,” Helfer said. “Mark Downey is a very good coach who knows what it takes to win in this league. I would expect that they would come in here with a lot of confidence and ready to go. I don’t ever want to look back—I just want to look at the game Saturday and see what happens.”

Though the Blazers will be playing in front of a mostly bare student section due to the holiday break, Helfer is glad to be playing at home but understands nothing is guaranteed.

“We miss our students,” Helfer said. “For fans to come out, you have to put a good product on the floor, where the kids play hard. We’re happy to be at home but I don’t think it gets us anything on the scoreboard—it’s still 0-0 when you start.”

The Blazers will look to improve to 8-1 when they host the West Alabama Tigers on tonight. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m. at the VSU P.E. Complex.

Text Only
Top Sports News
  • 150723-Lowndes_Brooks5.jpg Winding Down

    In its final 7-on-7 test of the summer, Randy McPherson was pleased with how the Lowndes football team looked Wednesday morning.
    Brooks County coach Maurice Freeman, on the other hand, was worried about the kind of hole the Trojans would have dug for themselves at Martin Stadium against the Vikings and Lafayette (Fla.) had it been a real game.

    July 24, 2014 3 Photos

  • 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

  • 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

  • pilcher.jpg Berrien competes in 6-team passing camp

    If Ed Pilcher had his way, Berrien High would never throw the football.
    But that doesn't mean the veteran coach doesn't enjoy the opportunity that a passing league, or the six-team passing camp at Cairo on Thursday morning, can provide his Rebels.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bubba Walker promoted to defensive coordinator

    Valdosta State Linebacker Coach Bubba Walker has been promoted to fill the open posiiton of defensive coordinator for the Blazer football team according to an announcement made by VSU Head Coach David Dean Thursday.

    July 18, 2014

  • Albritton wins NCAA Elite 89

    Courtney Albritton's tremendous 2013-2014 season earned her one more award Thursday night when the Valdosta State softball star won the NCAA's Favorite Elite 89 Winner contest by securing the more votes than any other student-athlete.

    July 17, 2014

  • Justin Roper named Valdosta State quarterbacks coach

    Valdosta State’s hirin of Justin Roper as quarterbacks coach, previously reported by The Times, was officially announced by the school and Blazer head football coach David Dean on Wednesday.

    July 17, 2014

  • Lowndes_Tville 2.jpg Sneak Preview

    Fall practice doesn’t start for another eight days.
    Still, Lowndes High and Thomasville High got a sneak preview of what Friday nights will look like Wednesday morning at Martin Stadium.

    July 17, 2014 2 Photos

Top News

Do you agree with the millage rate increases?

Yes. We need to maintain services
No. Services should have been cut.
     View Results