Lady Raiders rout Creekside Christian in first round of state tournament

Published 2:51 pm Wednesday, February 13, 2019

AMERICUS – After winning the GISA Region 3-AAA Tournament, the Southland Academy Lady Raider basketball team had to come back down off the mountaintop and focus on Creekside Christian Academy: their opponent in the first round of the GISA AAA State Tournament. The Lady Cougars, out of McDonough, GA, came into this game as the #4 seed out of Region 1. The Lady Raiders did what they have done all season. They used their full-court defensive pressure to disrupt the CCA offense and jumped out to a 15-0 lead in the first quarter. They kept the pressure up and never looked back on their way to a 42-19 victory over the Lady Cougars on Tuesday, February 12, at Southland Academy (SA).

Southland senior point guard Sydney Payne runs the offense for the Lady Raiders.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

As a result, the Lady Raiders will face Augusta Prep, who defeated Westfield 40-30 in their first-round game. That game was played at Southland Academy before the Lady Raiders’ game.

“Sometimes, especially in the first round of state tournament game at home, there will be some jitters,” SA head coach Ty Kinslow said. “We had some shots not go down, but we kept playing hard on defense. We felt like we could out man them on the defensive side and press them. We had them out manned and that wore them down. That’s what really turned it around for us. Then we got some shots to go down. Some three-pointers fell for us. That was good. It was a good all-around game for us.”

SA guard Maddie Crisp gets a steal and pushes the ball up the court against CCA.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

Macy Williams led the Lady Raiders in scoring with 15 points and Haleigh Warren scored 10. Calyn Fort scored seven points, including two three-pointers. Holly McCain had four points. Reese Roland, Sydney Payne and Maddie Crisp each scored two points to round out the Lady Raiders’ scoring.

Paige Alderman led the Lady Cougars with six points.

Southland guard Reese Roland looking to pass. Roland scored two points in the win over the Lady Cougars.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

The Lady Raiders got off to a slow start during the first quarter. However, with a little over three minutes to go, SA used their full-court pressure to get some steals. They jumped out to a 6-0 lead, which included two-straight baskets by Warren. This prompted a timeout by CCA. However, out of the timeout, the Lady Raiders went back to work as they scored six more points to increase their lead to 12-0. Then as the horn sounded to end the first quarter, Williams nailed a three-pointer to give SA a 15-0 lead.

Southland’s Calyn Fort tries to drive past a CCA defender. Fort scored seven points in the Lady Raiders’ win.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

SA continued their onslaught in the second quarter and went into halftime with a 27-5 lead, capped off by a three-pointer by Fort.

For Kinslow, it was not a problem to keep his team focused at halftime on the task at hand, even though they had a huge lead. “We knew that we were going to quit pressing and just sit back and play solid man-to-man defense,” Kinslow said. “We felt we had them knocked out. Once we had them knocked out, we wanted to work on a few things on both the offensive and defensive ends of the court.”

Southland’s Katie Rogers advancing the ball up the court in the Lady Raiders 42-19 win over CCA.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

Warren scored eight of her game-total of 10 points to lead the Lady Raiders in the first half.

Neither team came out on fire to start the second half. However, Fort scored with a little over three minutes left in the third quarter to give SA a 31-7 lead.

SA’s Lauryn Griffin tries to drive past a CCA defender.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

Williams later scored to increase the lead to 35-11. Then with less than a minute left in the third, Williams scored on the inside and was fouled. She completed the three-point play to give the Lady Raiders a 38-11 lead. The third quarter ended with SA up 38-13. Williams scored nine of her game-high 15 points in the third quarter.

SA’s Alli Dent advances the ball up the court against CCA.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

The big lead allowed Kinslow to bring in his reserves and allow them to get some valuable playing time in a state tournament game. Alli Dent, Morgan Weaver, Katie Rogers, Lauryn and Laney Griffin and Riley Mitchell all played extremely well in securing the win for SA.

Southland Academy head coach Ty Kinslow coaching up his squad during a timeout.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

The Lady Raiders’ second-round game against Augusta Prep will be played on Friday, February 15, at Stratford Academy in Macon. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m.