Lady Raiders use 10-0 fourth-quarter run to take control and defeat Tiftarea

Published 2:11 am Friday, February 8, 2019

AMERICUS – It was a low-scoring game between Southland Academy (18-4) and Tiftarea Academy in the semifinals of the GISA Region 3-AAA Tournament. This was especially the case in the first half. The game was characterized by tenacious defense and scrappy, hard-nosed play by both teams. However, the decisive moment came in the fourth quarter when the Lady Raiders went on a 10-0 run. At that point, they took control of the game on their way to a 37-26 win over the Lady Panthers.

“This time of the year, both teams know each other. We’ve played against Tiftarea already twice this year,” SA head coach Ty Kinslow said. “Playing in a big arena like this, we did not shoot the ball very good so we couldn’t get anything going. However, the one thing you can always do is play good defense. That’s what I kept telling them. Just keep playing defense. We turned up the defensive pressure a little bit more in the second half. We got some easy shots from that. It was a great job by our girls to just hang in there when nothing was going our way. It shows a lot about their character and their perseverance. Finally, we got some shots to go and our press was starting to get to them.”

Sydney Payne and Reese Roland led the Lady Raiders in scoring. Each had 12 points on the night. Macy Williams scored eight and Calyn Fort chipped in six in the winning cause.

The Lady Panthers were led in scoring by Abby Carswell with 12 points.

SA guard Maddie Crisp with the ball against the Lady Panthers. Crisp scored three points in the Lady Raiders’ win.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

It was a low-scoring first quarter with both teams tied at 8-8 at the end of the quarter. The second quarter featured even less scoring as both teams played tough defense. The Lady Raiders only got one basket in the second quarter. That basket was by Fort. The Lady Panthers outscored SA 6-2 in the second quarter to take a 14-10 halftime lead.

Both teams struggled taking care of the basketball in the early minutes of the third quarter. Both teams also struggled to score. The Lady Panthers took a 16-12 lead with 5:47 to go when Carswell hit a baseline jumper. Fort was able to get fouled on the other end for the Lady Raiders and made one of two free throws.

Southland forward Holly McCain tries to save the ball from going out of bounds. McCain scored four points in the win over TA.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

However, the Lady Raiders continued to struggle scoring, and Carswell struck again when she hit a bank shot to give the Lady Panthers an 18-13 lead with 3:45 left in the third quarter. The scoring drought prompted Kinslow to call a timeout at that point to energize his club.

However, the Lady Panthers got a steal and a fast-break basket by Ellie Bryan to give TA a 20-13 lead. The Lady Raiders did not quit though. They were able to score four unanswered points, including two free throws by Haleigh Warren.

During the third quarter, both teams had trouble scoring and taking care of the basketball. By the end of the quarter, TA led 21-17.

Maddie Crisp tries to dribble past a Tiftarea defender.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

In the fourth quarter, the Lady Raiders went on a 4-0 run to tie the game at 21-21, capped off by two free throws from Williams. With 6:00 to go, Payne drove to the basket and was fouled. Payne made the first free throw, but missed the second to give SA a 22-21 lead.

With 4:41 to go, McCain hit a short jumper. Then Maddie Crisp was able to score and get fouled. She completed the three-point play and SA had a 27-21 lead. The Lady Raiders had outscored TA 10-0 through half of the final quarter.

Both teams traded baskets on their next possessions, but Payne was able to knock down a free throw to give SA a 30-23 lead with a little over three minutes left.

Then with 2:53 to go, Carswell fouled out for TA. Payne went to the foul line and hit both free throws, giving the Lady Raiders a 32-23 lead with a little over two minutes remaining.

Bailey Jones of TA was fouled and made one of two free throws, cutting SA’s lead to 32-24. However, that would be as close as the Lady Panthers would get. The Lady Raiders went on to win 37-26 to advance to play Brookwood in the Region 3-AAA Championship Game.