Americus Times-Recorder, Americus, Georgia

Local Sports

January 9, 2013

Lady Raiders take down Sherwood, injury-plagued Raiders fall short

ALBANY — On Friday night the Lady Raiders made a statement by traveling to Albany to take on a much improved Sherwood Academy Lady Eagle team. After exiting each of the first two periods with a tie score, the Lady Raiders battled throughout the second half as they claimed a big win over the non-region opponent. Unfortunately for Southland the boy’s team did not fair as well as their female counterparts, and at the end of the night the Raiders and Lady Raiders split the double header match-up.

After a tremendous first period of action the Lady Raiders and Lady Eagles of Sherwood each had their eyes on the win after each team scored 13 points. Despite only managing one field goal in the second quarter, the Lady Raiders battled on defense to hold the Lady Eagles to seven points, making the halftime score 20-20 in anybody’s game.

The second half would be just as exciting as the first half as Southland outscored Sherwood to claim a 27-25 lead going into the final period of play. The Lady Raiders got into foul trouble in the fourth period, with star guard Ella Hawkins eventually collecting five fouls and fouling out of the game. Despite the foul problems that Southland faced, the Lady Raiders defense held the Lady Eagles to only three fourth period points while scoring five of their own to hang on and claim the 32-28 victory in Albany. Dallas NeSmith was the top scorer of the night for the Lady Raiders, putting up 10 points to help her team claim the hard-nosed victory.

The boy’s game would not go as smoothly for the Raiders, who are still battling a variety of injuries to some of their top players. The Raiders, playing without top guard Dustin Shattles and imposing post player Ford Roach, fell behind early in the contest and never could claw their way out of that hole in their 69-41 loss to the Eagles.

Southland fell behind 15-9 following the first period of action, and the Sherwood lead grew to 34-14 following a 19-5 second period run by the Eagles. The Raiders played much better in the second half, but were still outscored 35-27 as they attempted to pull off the hug comeback win. As the final buzzer sounded the Raiders exited the court with a 69-41 loss to fall to 2-6 overall on the season. Senior Colby Webb was the team’s leading scorer with 15 points, and his 10 rebounds gave him yet another double-double on the young season. Freshman Taylor Webb had a tremendous game stepping in for the Raiders, narrowly missing a double-double with nine points and eight rebounds.

Southland head coach Rundy Foster knows that his team is being seriously hampered by injuries, but says that is no excuse for coming up short in games. “We have had a really hard time with injuries early in the season, but that is no excuse and we have got to find a way to get it done,” he said.

The Raiders and Lady Raiders will face a very tough test on Friday night as they open the Region 1-AAA portion of their schedule against the powerful Deerfield-Windsor Knights. Deerfield has had a very strong program for several years, so the Lady Raiders and Raiders will have to bring their ‘A’ game if they hope to upset the Knights in Americus. The girl’s game will begin at 6:30, with the boy’s game following immediately after.

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