Lady Raiders proceed to region tourney

Published 2:00 pm Friday, February 20, 2015

The Southland Academy Lady Raiders have captured a third-place spot in the GISA region 3AAA tournament. By defeating the Valwood Lady Valiants 61-50 on Feb. 13 for their last game of the regular season and toppling the same opponents 51-40 on Feb. 16 in a play-in game, the Lady Raiders earned a spot in the tournament, to be held in Darton on Feb. 20. The Lady Raiders will face the region’s number one seed, Westwood Academy out of Camilla.

Coming off of a pair of tough losses to Crisp Academy (30-45) and Deerfield-Windsor (16-36), the Lady Raiders came out swinging in their last match of the regular season in Hahira. The team quickly hit several shots to get the ball rolling. The Lady Valiants’ answered with few big scores, but Southland managed to get several rebounds, steals, and transition points to take a half-time lead of 32-26.

The second half of the match was a defensive effort, with the girls scrambling to hang onto their advantage. The Lady Raiders eventually lost Rebekah Davis and Hannah McCain to fouls, but were able to overcome and punish Valwood with inside feeds to Madison McPherson. The Lady Raiders sealed the deal from the free throw line to take a 61-52 victory.

Senior Ella Hawkins had 21 points, three steals, and five assists. Madison McPherson had a Double-Double with 21 points and 18 rebounds.

Fresh off of this victory, the Lady Raiders geared up to face the Lady Valiants again on Feb. 16 at Terrell Academy.

The Lady Raiders had several shots rim out early before finding their mark and heating up to take an 11-6 lead. The Lady Valiants attempted to bridge the gap, but the Lady Raiders’ accurate, effective play earned them a 26-16 lead going into half-time.

The girls continued to build their lead in the second half and finished the game with a 51-40 victory and a third-place spot in the tournament.

Ella Hawkins had 12 points, four steals, and five assists. McCain and McPherson both had double-doubles with 13 and 12 points each as well as 11 and 14 rebounds, respectively.

McDonald stated “Our girls inside did a nice job blocking out and really getting on the boards for us. We never released control of the games and managed to take care of business again from the free throw line.”