Samuel D. Logan
The Valdosta Daily Times
The annual Charles Cooper Thanksgiving basketball tournament at Lowndes High School kicked off on Monday, featuring local schools from around South Georgia. Among the teams participating are the Valdosta High Wildcats boys and girls team, the Lowndes Vikings boys and girls team, Griffin Bears boys and girls team, the Cook Hornets boys team, the Lanier Bulldogs boys team and the Clinch Panthers girls team.
The first game at 4 p.m. began with the Valdosta High girls team taking on the Clinch Panthers girls team. Led by Laquesha Newkirk and her 19 points, the Wildcat girl won by a landslide, defeating Clinch 71-46. Carolina Alexander was second on the team with 11 points and added to the ‘Cats large margin of victory.
“We have to get better on defense,” said Wildcat Head Coach Edward Wilcox. “We also have to work on scoring the easy buckets. Overall, I am happy with my girls getting out there and getting their first win.”
Next up was the Valdosta boys team, who took the court at 5:30 p.m. going against the Lanier Bulldogs.
With a final score of 77-54, the Wildcats won the matchup. Rashad Lewis scored 16 points for the ‘Cats, while Elliot Ingram 13 points, 12 of them coming from 3-pointers.
“He’s (Lewis) playing good,” said Wildcat boys Head Coach Antonio Haynes. “He’s been with the team the longest and he’s certainly one of the leaders of the team. He works very hard and is always in the gym working out.”
Joshua Norwood put up 11 points off the bench, along with Jamari Clarkston, who put up 8 points for the ‘Cats.
“We have a long way to go, however I’m happy the team is playing hard,” said Haynes.
The Wildcats played very physical and seemed to have control of the floor the whole game.
“It was good to see them playing physical and tough,” said Haynes.
The Bulldogs led early in the game, taking a 4-3 lead on the power of two layups by Cillo Brockington. The ‘Cats then proceeded to go on a 6-0 run, with Lewis adding a 3-pointer in the span.
With the ‘Cats holding a lead of 12-10, they went on a 9-0 run, to push their lead to 21-10. On the run, senior Anthony Smith of the ‘Cats scored 3 points and added two rebounds to his stats.
At the beginning of the 2nd quarter, Christian scored 2-points and got a little extra help on a free throw, to make the ‘Cats lead 26-11.
With a 3-pointer to close the half, Norwood guided the ‘Cats into the locker room with a 45-28 lead over the Bulldogs.
The 3rd quarter saw the Bulldogs tighten the gap, led by No. 31 L. Camon with 10 points. Andrew Patton for the Bulldogs added 6 points to make the score VHS 59, LHS 44 at the beginning of the 4th.
After a scoreless 1:12 on the clock, Avery Brockington scored on a layup for the Bulldogs, making the score 59-46.
The Wildcats outscored the Bulldogs 18-12 in the final quarter to seal their victory. The ‘Cats move to (1-0) on the season, while the Bulldogs fall to (1-1).
While some players have just re-joined the team after the conclusion of the football season, Coach Haynes is glad to have the players back.
“Some of them are pretty rusty, but we will work to knock off the rust over the next few games. I have only had Tre Barrett, Anthony Smith and Josh Norwood back for about a week now, but (Barrett) looks to be getting back into form, along with (Smith). (Norwood) looked pretty good out there tonight,” said Haynes.
The next game was the Lowndes Vikings girls team taking on the Griffin Bears team. The Vikings won with a 71-62 victory, led by Tasia Brown with 27 points. Taffany Brown added 21 points as the Vikings moved to 1-0 on the young season.