Southland teams split v. Tiftarea at home
By MICHAEL MURRAY
AMERICUS – The Southland Academy Raiders and Lady Raiders took to the basketball court on Jan. 8 for the teams’ second GISA region 3-IAAA match-ups of the season against Tiftarea.
The Lady Raiders kicked off the action, taking on the Lady Panthers on their home court. After a hard-fought battle that saw the Lady Raiders stage a late comeback effort, Southland’s girls took a 32-26 loss in the contest.
When the Raiders hit the court for the evening’s nightcap, Southland’s boys avenged the previous loss with a 56-32 victory over their Tiftarea opponents.
The win leaves Southland’s boys undefeated in region competition after two games. The Raiders have an 8-2 overall record.
The Lady Raiders got the jump on the visiting Lady Panthers early in the evening’s opener, with freshman, Macy Williams, draining the game’s first basket from the charity stripe one minute into the action. The Lady Panthers then took off on a 6-0 run that was eventually silenced at the 1:15 mark when Southland sophomore, Kendall Kirkland, managed an expert steal and assisted senior, Chris Shattles in a lay-up. The Lady Panthers quickly responded with a pair of three-pointers to take a 12-3 lead into the second period.
Southland’s girls added eight points to their total in the second frame, as they tightened up their defense to hold Tiftarea to only seven.
After returning from the half-time break, the Lady Raiders began to gain momentum, sparked by a pair of early lay-ups from Williams. After a free throw from Shattles and a lane shot from Kirkland, the Lady Raiders reduced the gap to only three-points with 3:25 remaining in the third frame.
The celebration would not last long, however, as Tiftarea immediately responded with a long three-pointer and a pair from the charity stripe to expand their advantage to 26-18. In the final seconds of the quarter, Southland sophomore, Savanna Banks, tossed in a pair of free throws to narrow the margin to 26-20 going into the final period.
The teams went point-for-point over the final eight minutes and, at the buzzer, the Lady Panthers had earned the road victory.
Shattles paced the Lady Raiders in the contest, contributing nine points for the Southland cause. Williams added another five points, followed closely by Kathleen Kinslow, who contributed four points and two assists.
Following the tough loss, Southland’s boys took the court to battle the Panthers and turn the tide of the night’s competitions..
The Raiders came out fighting in the region test, eager to keep their 3-IAAA record unspoiled.
Sophomore, Jamaal Rice, wasted no tie opening the scoring with a lay-up ten seconds after the tip-off. Senior, Landon Henson, followed with a fast-break lay-up that put the Raiders ahead 4-1 early in the match.
By the two-minute mark, the Panthers had clawed their way back to a 4-4 tie, but their comeback would prove to be short-lived. Before the end of the frame, Rice would lay up two more shots to put the Raiders ahead 8-5.
Harrison Bell opened the second stanza with an Alex Roach-assisted lay-up which sparked a 10-0 run for the Raiders. Ridge Roland, Roach, and Rice each contributed points to the run before a Tiftarea shooter finally broke the team’s silence with a three-pointer at the 2:30 mark. The Raiders weren’t finished, however, and proceeded to add another nine points to their total on their way to a 27-8 lead at the half. The end of the second stanza was highlighted by a trio of breakaway lay-ups by Rice.
The raiders continued to pad their lead over the next 16 minutes of play after returning from the break, leading by as many as 21 points in the third period. An expert block by Roland helped to slow Tiftarea in the third frame, which was capped off by a buzzer-beating three-pointer by freshman, Chandler Studdard.
The Raiders continued to pull ahead in the final quarter, taking their largest lead of the game, 54-29 following a Rice-assisted lay-up by Josh McKie and a fast break by Roland.
Freshman, Gabe Roland, tossed in the Raiders’ final two points, assisted by Jantz Womack with one minute left to play.
Rice paced the Raiders’ offense in the contest, leading the team to victory with 25 points and four steals. Rice and McKie, together, controlled the glass for the Raiders with eight rebounds apiece.
Roland contributed eight points to the win, while Roach followed closely with six.
The Raiders and Lady Raiders continued region 3-IAAA competition on Jan. 12, hosting the Terrell Academy Eagles. The results of these contests were not available at press time.
Southland hosts Glenwood on Jan. 15 before hitting the road for Albany to take on Deerfield-Windsor on Jan. 19.