Americus Times-Recorder, Americus, Georgia

Local Sports

December 30, 2012

Short-handed Raiders drop two in Crisp Academy Christmas Tournament

CORDELE — The winter is not kind to many high school athletes, and that has certainly been the case for the Southland Academy Raiders basketball team this season. Not only have the Raiders been battling illness, they have also had several injuries to key players that have been devastating to the team’s depth in their recent games. As Southland traveled to Cordele to participate in the Crisp Academy Christmas Tournament, their lack of depth caught up with them as they dropped each of their two games to finish 0-2.

Southland opened the tournament against the home-standing Crisp Academy Wildcats and the Raiders started the game very hot. Southland outscored the Wildcats of Crisp Academy 15-5 in the first period and traded baskets in the second period to claim a 10 point, 26-16 lead as the two teams entered the halftime break. Unfortunately for the Raiders, this is where their lack of depth began to catch up with them as they were only able to score 10 points in the third and fourth periods combined. Crisp would take advantage of the lack of depth by scoring 15 points in the third period and 16 points in the final period to storm back and claim a big 52-36 win in the tournament opener.

Jon Adkins led the Raiders in scoring by netting 16 of the Raiders 36 points in the loss, followed by Dustin Shattles with nine points. Shattles, the Raiders starting guard, sustained an apparent ankle injury in the contest, dwindling down Southland’s depth even more.

“We just did not play very well. We were battling injuries and sickness and that forced us to play people out of position, but we just didn’t play very good,” said Raider head coach Rundy Foster.

In the second game, the Raiders would take on Westwood without William Oster, Ford Roach, and Shattles who each missed the entire game. Despite starting slow in the contest, the Raiders began to find their stride late in the game before coming up on the short end of the stick in the 52-43 loss.

The first period was the difference in the game for Westwood as they came out on fire to take a 19-7 lead into the second period. After each team put eight points on the board in the second period, Westwood would enter the halftime break with a 27-15 lead.

In the second half, the Raiders played much better as the players began to adapt to their unusual roles. After tying Westwood with 12 points in the third period, the Raiders outscored the Wildcats 16-13 in the final period to narrow the Wildcats margin of victory to only nine points.

“We played a lot harder in the second game. I think part of it was that we knew going in that our backs were against the wall, but we played much better,” said Foster.

Senior center Colby Webb had a tremendous game in the loss, scoring over half of the Raiders points with 27. Webb also pulled down 11 rebounds to give him yet another double-double on the young season.

The Raiders will now turn their attention from the tournament to big back-to-back Friday night games coming up on the schedule. On Friday night, Southland will travel to Sherwood Academy to take on the Eagles in a non-region contest. One week later, the powerful Deerfield-Windsor Knights will come to town for a Region 1-AAA battle that is sure to have plenty of fireworks and intensity. Each of the Raiders next two games will begin at 8 p.m., or following the conclusion of the girls’ game.

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