VALDOSTA — The Lowndes Vikings let one slip away Friday night, losing to the Warner Robins Demons 71-69 in a crucial region game.

After trailing by 16 points in the second quarter, the Vikings fought back to take a seven point lead early in the fourth quarter. However, the Demons rallied by making 10 straight free throws to take a 69-68 lead with just under a minute remaining.

Aaron Winston hit 1 of 2 free throws for the Vikings to tie the game with 39.7 seconds remaining, but Jalen Rountree made the play of the night, cutting to the basket untouched for the go-ahead layup with 3.7 seconds left to put the Demons up 71-69. Brian Wright had a great look from beyond the arc at the buzzer, but it clanked off the front left of the rim and the Vikings dropped their second straight region game.

The Vikings fell to 11-6 overall and 4-3 in Region 1-AAAAA. The Demons improved to 4-5 in the region and inched closer to the Vikings for fourth place in the region. Teams finishing fourth place or better in the region don’t have to play in the region tournament’s play-in game.

Justin Mayfield and Wright led the Vikings with 14 points apiece. Robert Powell added 13 points.

Warner Robins’ T.S. Whitmore led all scorers with 22 points.

The Vikings and Demons split their season series. The Vikings won a thriller in overtime in Warner Robins, 97-88, on Dec. 29.

Like the two teams’ first game, Friday’s game was a battle throughout. Lowndes started sluggish, as the Demons raced out to a 26-10 lead by outworking the Vikings on the defensive end. Whitmore scored 10 points for the Demons in the first two minutes of the game.

The Vikings got back into the game with a big third quarter. They went on a 10-2 run behind six points from Robert Powell and outscored the Demons 17-6 in the quarter. LaVonta Jones tied the game for the first time at 47-47 with 1:27 left in the third.

Wright hit a 3-pointer early in the fourth to give the Vikings their first lead, 50-47. The Vikings went on a 7-0 run midway through the fourth to take a 57-50 lead. That’s when the Demons went to work from the free throw line. Down the stretch they hit 15 consecutive free throws. The two teams traded the lead nine times.

After Winston made his free throw to tie the game 69-69, Mayfield tipped the Demons’ inbounds pass and Jones came up with the loose ball. He drove into the lane and put up a shot, but instead of a Demons’ foul, Jones was called for a charge which set up Rountree’s game-winning layup.

The Vikings don’t have much time to dwell on the loss. They host the Tift County Blue Devils at 7:30 p.m. tonight. The Blue Devils are 15-2 overall and 6-1 in the region. They beat Lowndes by 10 earlier this season.

Vikettes 53, Warner Robins Lady Demons 33

The Vikettes needed overtime to beat the Warner Robins Lady Demons on Dec. 29. On Friday they enjoyed an easier victory.

The Vikettes held the Lady Demons to just 11 combined points in the second and third quarters on their way to a 53-33 win.

Three Vikettes scored in double figures. Danyelle Jones scored 15 points and Keira Peak and Jasmine Copeland scored 11 points. Amanda Harper chipped in with nine points.

The Vikettes are now 14-3 overall and 6-1 in the region. However, with Northside’s win at Valdosta, they remain in second place in Region 1-AAAAA.

Early in Friday’s game it looked like the Vikettes and Lady Demons were headed for another classic finish. The two teams went back and forth and were knotted at 16-16 in the second quarter.

Then the Vikettes took over. They went on a 15-2 run over the last part of the first half and into the second half. It was Copeland who did the most damage. She made back-to-back layups to give the Vikettes a 22-16 lead and made a jumper in the third quarter to give the Vikettes their first double digit lead, 29-18. Later in the third she drilled another jumper from the free throw line.

The fourth quarter belonged to Jones. She started the last frame by draining a 3 to put the Vikettes up by 17. She knocked down another jumper and made three free throws to finish the quarter with eight points.

The Vikettes host the Tift County Lady Blue Devils (9-8, 2-5) at 6 p.m. tonight.

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