Lowndes High guard Taccara Bivins, center, signs her letter of intent, as her mother, Deborah Williams, left, and best friend Samara Bunion watch, with Lowndes High Principal Wes Taylor, athletic director Randy McPherson, and basketall coach Shan Garner watching from behind.

VALDOSTA — Any time the Lowndes girls basketball team needed a spark, its best player would be there to ignite it.

Taccara Bivins provided the Vikettes what they needed, coming up with a big basket, shutting down the opposition’s best player or grabbing a crucial rebound.

The guard/forward will be looking to do the same as she suits up for Albany State her freshman season.

She will be joined in Albany by teammate Stephanie Sermons, who also received a full scholarship to play for the Golden Rams next year. The fact that Sermons had also agreed to play in Albany made it easier for Bivins to travel Northwest.

“It will be fun to have her around,” Bivins said. “We’ve been playing together ever since we were in sixth grade.

“It will be fun.”

Bivins also chose Albany over the 15 other schools requesting her basketball services because of the demographics of the student population.

“It was a four-year university and a historically-black university,” Bivins said. “When I went there, it felt like home.”

While Bivins had reasons to go to Albany State, the Golden Rams had a bit more incentive to bring in the All-State player.

In her senior season with the Vikettes, Bivins earned first-team All-State honors, All-Region, MVP at the Thomasville Hoopfest and team MVP.

“Taccara’s one of the best athletes, female or male, I’ve ever coached or been around,” Lowndes head coach Shan Garner said. “There’s nothing really in the game of basketball she can’t do.”

The Vikettes went 24-5 in the 2006-07 season, won the Region 1-AAAAA regular season and tournament championship, and made it to the second round of the state playoffs, thanks in large part to their leader.

Bivins led the team in every statistical category except for rebounding, where the guard finished third. She averaged 14 points per game, four assists per game, four steals a game and had 27 blocks on the season.

Those statistics come while being on a team that emphasizes defense and doesn’t rely on any one go-to scorer. The one thing Bivins is most set on doing at Albany State is defend.

At Lowndes, she would guard the opposing team’s best player, whether it was a guard or a forward.

She was personally responsible for several of the Vikettes’ 24 wins, including victories against Valdosta and Warner Robins.

When Warner Robins visited Lowndes High, Bivins drew contact and hit two free throws in the final seconds to send the game into overtime. Once in the extra period, Bivins provided senior leadership and scored six of Lowndes’ 10 points in a 68-64 win.

“I was happy to have her on my team,” Garner said. “Because I didn’t know how to guard her.”

Bivins is also a quick force on offense, using the tremendous athleticism that has led her to be a region and state force in the 100-yard dash, the high jump and on the 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams.

“She’s just too fast,” Garner said. “About the only way you can defend her is to play zone and keep her in front of you.”

Bivins became one of the state’s best players her senior year, after suffering an injury her sophomore season. Garner feels the early injury caused her to slide into the hands of Albany State and head coach Robert Skinner.

Slide or no slide, Bivins is going to be able to contribute to an SIAC team that went 17-13 overall and 12-8 in conference play last season.

“She’s a steal in my opinion at the D-II level,” Garner said.

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