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Lady Raiders defeat Westwood in Game 1 of Brookwood Holiday Shootout

THOMASVILLE, GA – The Southland Lady Raider basketball team (SA) did to Westwood (WS) what they are able to do to most teams. They used their defensive pressure to build a double-digit lead early and were able to maintain that lead on their way to a 44-31 victory over the Lady Wildcats on day one of the Brookwood Holiday Shootout on Friday, December 20, at the Brookwood School in Thomasville, GA.

With the win, the Lady Raiders improve to 6-0 on the season, while the Lady Wildcats drop to 7-2.

According to SA head coach Ty Kinslow, the Lady Raiders were able to execute their game plan against a quality team that had a lot of height on the inside. “First of all, they’re a really good team. They’ve got good guard play,” Kinslow said. “They’ve got a couple of six footers. They’re young, but they’re still six footers. The thing is we carried out our game plan early. We got the lead. They made some adjustments and we were just able to maintain the lead against a quality team.”

Southland Academy forward Holly McCain tries to go up and score against a Westwood defender. McCain led the Lady Raiders with 12 points in the win over the Lady Wildcats.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

Holly McCain led the Lady Raiders in scoring with 12 points and Haleigh Warren scored nine. Both Maddie Crisp and Riley Mitchell each scored eight points in the winning cause.

The Lady Raiders jumped out to a 6-0 lead, capped off with a three-pointer by Mitchell. SA continued to take advantage of the Lady Wildcats’ inability to score by creating turnovers and scoring baskets in transition. By the end of the first quarter, SA led 12-2.

For the first few minutes of the second quarter, both teams traded baskets and the Lady Raiders had a 22-8 lead. However, the Lady Wildcats scored six unanswered points before SA regained a 12-point lead on a basket by Crisp.

Then with 49 seconds to go before halftime, Mitchell scored on a fast-break basket and was fouled. She completed the three-point play to give SA a 29-14 lead at the half.

McCain led the Lady Raiders with seven first-half points and both Crisp and Mitchell scored six points in the first half.

Southland Academy guard Maddie Crisp drives to the basket against Westwood. Crisp scored eight points in the win over the Lady Wildcats.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

Both teams struggled to score in the early minutes of the second half, but Crisp was able to score inside to give SA a 32-15 lead with less than five minutes to go in the third quarter. The Lady Raiders went on a short scoring drought before Warren scored on the inside to give SA a 36-23 lead.

However, late in the third quarter, the Lady Wildcats implemented a full-court press and forced some turnovers. As a result, they were able to cut the Lady Raiders’ lead to 38-27 with 1:12 to go in the third.

With 40 seconds left in the quarter, McCain hit a baseline jumper to push the lead back up to 13 points at 40-27. The Lady Wildcats responded, however, as Destiny Harris hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to cut SA’s lead to 10 points.

SA had some chances to increase their lead early in the fourth quarter, but missed some easy shots on the inside. The Lady Raiders went on another scoring drought before Crisp passed the ball to Mitchell on the inside, who scored to give SA a 42-30 lead with 3:06 to go in the game.

Southland Academy guard Reese Roland (11) advances the ball up the court against Westwood. Roland scored two points in the Lady Raiders’ win.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

While he was pleased with the overall performance of his club in this game, Kinslow believes that there are some things the ladies need to improve on, such as being patient on offense. “A lot of times, we just started rushing some shots,” Kinslow said. “We’ve still got to be able to stay under control in making those shots. Another thing is when they jumped us a couple of times in the press, we were ready most of the time, but they got a couple of steals early on us until we settled down. We know it’s coming and we’ve got to be ready for it. Sometimes you have to get use to the speed of play, but we’ve got to do that without giving them a basket.”

The Lady Wildcats were not able to make a last-minute run and SA went on to win 44-31.

Kinslow was extremely pleased with how his team weathered an attempted comeback by WS. “Sometimes you get that lead and take a deep breath and they cut into it, but we were able to maintain that lead so I’m very proud of the girls,” Kinslow said.

For WS, they were led in scoring by Harris with 13 points.

The Lady Raiders will now face Terrell Academy in their second game of the Brookwood Holiday Shootout on Saturday, December 21, at noon.