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Raiders slide to 4-2 after going 1-1 at Valwood tourney

By MICHAEL MURRAY

HAHIRA – The Southland Academy Raiders traveled to Hahira on the weekend of Dec. 18-19 to participate in Valwood’s annual Bailey Classic tournament.
The Raiders took the court on the first afternoon of the tournament to take on Highland Christian Academy. Despite a hard fight from the Raiders, the Southland boys were bested in overtime by Highland and sentenced to a 58-53 loss.
The Raiders returned to the court the following afternoon to battle Valdosta’s Georgia Christian Generals, making up for lost ground in the contest with a 46-36 victory.
The series leaves the Raiders’ overall record at 4-2 on the 2015-16 season.
After falling behind early in the first match of the tournament, the Raiders pushed their way back into a one-point deficit in the second half. The Raiders trailed 23-22 as the teams hit the locker rooms for the half-time break.
Southland’s boys rode this momentum into the third period to outscore Highland Christian 12-10 and take the lead into the final frame. At the end of the initial four rounds, the opponents found their scores tied 46-46 and began to prepare for an overtime round.
Highland Christian didn’t pull any punches in the extra period, adding another 12 points to their total, while holding the Raiders’ shooters to only seven points to earn the 58-53 victory.
Southland’s high scorers in the first round of competition were Jamaal Rice, with 23 points, followed closely by Alex Roach with 16 and Landon Henson with 12. Bo Moore pulled down seven rebounds for the Raiders while Ridge Roland contributed six.
The following afternoon, the Raiders returned to the wood floor to take on Georgia Christian.
Southland’s boys got the jump on the Generals early, earning a 21-14 lead before the half-time break. From there, the Raiders never looked back. Southland tacked another three points onto the gap in the third frame before the Generals’ shooters began heating up in the final period. Georgia Christian added 14 points in the last frame but, unfortunately for Generals fans, the Raiders matched them point-for-point to take the 46-36 victory.
In the second round of the tournament, the Raiders were, again, paced by Rice, who earned a double double by scoring 15 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Roach joined Rice in double figures, contributing 15 points to the win.
The Raiders travel to Smiths Station, AL. on Dec. 28-29 to defend their winning record in the Border Wars Tournament. Southland will open region 3-IAAA play on Jan. 8, hosting the Tiftarea Panthers in Americus.