VALDOSTA -- Last rest stop until March.
Lowndes High has a rugged road ahead in boys' basketball, beginning next Friday. But on Saturday night, the Vikings (16-4, 5-1) were able to tinker with their lineup and strategy against Region 1-AAAAA cellar-dweller Lee County and still come away with an 81-36 blowout victory at Charles Cooper Gymnasium.
Earlier, the Lowndes Vikettes bounced back from Tuesday's upset loss at Colquitt County to hammer Lee County 86-22.
For the Lowndes boys' there was little euphoria over beating the hapless Trojans (3-11, 0-6). Head coach Cliff Ranew's thought immediately turned to the final four games of the regular season, including a three-game road swing that starts Friday at Coffee.
"Starting Monday, we've got a big week ahead of us," said Ranew. "Coffee's going to be hard to handle. We've got a lot to do offensively and defensively.
"We've only got one game this week, but that final week (with three games in five days) is going to be brutal."
Lowndes juggled its starting lineup to give seniors Calvin Rodgers and Zach Parker some time with the first five, and also tried using forward Will Thompson in a perimeter role. The latter scheme didn't pay big dividends, but spreading the wealth did. All 10 players that took the floor for the Vikings scored, including seven in the first quarter.
The Vikings never trailed, scoring the first eight points of the contest. Lee County trailed 33-20 with 2:01 left in the first half when Michael Vinson was fouled while nailing a mid-range jumper. He missed his foul shot, but Shahee Thomas got the rebound and an easy basket to stretch the lead to 17 points. A Trojan turnover led to a quick 3-pointer by Rodgers and the rout was on.
Jarvis Broughton led all scorers with 12 points for Lowndes. Ahmad Farley added 11 points, while Parker and Jeremy Pittman finished with 10 apiece.
Lavalle Parker scored nine points for Lee County, which travels to Colquitt County next Friday.
Lowndes girls 86, Lee Co. 22
Lee County's fate was sealed five days earlier, when the Vikettes were knocked out of first place by Colquitt County.
"When we come back off of a loss, we're ready to play," said head coach Laine Craven. "I told them this was a good game to practice getting back into running the press and preparing for what we have coming."
Indeed. Lowndes led 23-5 after one quarter and held the Lady Trojans (3-14, 0-6) to nine field goals, including just two in the second half. The press led to several easy baskets for Lowndes and especially Miaie Williams, who scored 16 of her 21 points in the third quarter.
Currie Powers finished with 13 points for the Vikettes (17-4, 5-1), while Monique Ellis added 12 and Candice Close scored 10 points.
Lawanda Harris had seven points for Lee County.