VALDOSTA –– Tift County girls basketball sits alone atop the region standings after a 24-point victory against Lowndes, 64-40.
Lowndes opened the game flat and couldn’t find a rhythm while Tift took advantage of the Vikettes early struggles.
The Blue Devils moved the ball well, which created open shots for players and confused Lowndes players.
On several occasions, players were heard discussing who was supposed to pick up the extra player as a Tift player was shooting an uncontested shot.
The Vikettes never got settled in the opening quarter and couldn’t prevent the Blue Devils from taking a 19-5 lead into the second quarter. From there the Blue Devils never looked back.
“I have no excuses—you’ve got to be ready to play,” said head coach Antonia Tookes about Monday’s home loss.
The Vikettes tried mounting a comeback but Tift’s size gave players fits when trying to drive to the basket or find open teammates in the paint.
The result was several turnovers that led to transition baskets for the Blue Devils.
The trend continued throughout the contest and eventually Lowndes settled for off balance layups and deep three pointers to salvage the game.
Defensively, the Vikettes began to commit fouls that resulted in trips to the free throw line for extra points. Some fouls were warranted to attempt to alter a shot, others committed out of frustration or exhaustion.
Tift had a 46-28 advantage going into the final period and didn’t show signs of letting up.
Through three quarters, Tift’s 46 points were six more points than Lowndes would score by game's end.
“We’ve got to go back to the drawing board,” Tookes said about the plan moving forward. “First of all work on our defense. Our defense was not there tonight. For rebounds or anything. We really wasn’t focused tonight for what was at stake. First place was up for grabs tonight for the region and we did not play up to our standards.”
The Vikettes will play Colquitt twice to close out the region schedule.