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Southland Lady Raiders hold on to defeat Glenwood

AMERICUS – Having lost a tough, hard-fought contest at Westfield by the score of 44-43 in double overtime the night before, the Southland Academy Lady Raider basketball team (SA) came into Saturday’s home game against Glenwood (AL) ready to impose their will on the contest. They would be challenged due to the fact that the Lady Gators had three six footers on their squad, while SA didn’t have anybody that tall. SA was able to jump out to out to a 21-4 lead at halftime, but the Lady Gators fought back to get to within nine in the fourth quarter. In spite of that comeback, the Lady Raiders were able to maintain their poise and held on to win 37-32 on Saturday, January 4.

“After playing that double overtime game last night, I wasn’t sure how we’d come out with a young team,” SA head coach Ty Kinslow said. “We did a really good job of coming out and being focused and jumped out to a good lead. I think we knocked some shots down. That’s a really good team (Glenwood). As you can see, they’ve got three six footers. We don’t have anybody six feet. Our girls played extremely hard and extremely well against a good, well-coached team.”

Riley Mitchell led the Lady Raiders in scoring with 12 points and Maddie Crisp scored 11. Morgan Weaver scored seven points and Holly McCain chipped in four. Reese Roland scored two points and Katie Rogers made one free throw to round out the scoring for SA.

With the win, the Lady Raiders improve their overall record to 9-2 on the season, while the Lady Gators drop to 8-5.

The Lady Raiders got off to a great start as Crisp nailed a three-pointer to give SA an early 3-0 lead. That was the beginning of an 11-0 run by the Lady Raiders.

Southland Academy junior forward Holly McCain (52) scored four points in the win over the Lady Gators.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

At times, SA used full-court pressure like they normally do against their opponents, but in this game, they didn’t do that as much. They used a strong half-court defense to limit the Lady Gators’ chances to score. SA was also very patient on offense. Being that there is no shot clock in high school basketball, there were times that the Lady Raiders held the ball for more than a minute before taking a shot. That strategy also limited the Lady Gators’ chances to score.

During the closing minutes of the first half, the Lady Raiders maintained an 18-4 lead before Mitchell nailed a three-pointer to give SA a 21-4 lead at halftime.

Glenwood outscored the Lady Raiders 12-6 in the third quarter, but SA still maintained a 27-16 lead at the start of the final quarter.

The Lady Gators were able to cut their deficit to 27-18 to start the fourth quarter on a basket by Mya Brooks. However, Crisp responded with a three-pointer to put the Lady Raiders back up by 12.

Glenwood would not go away though. The Lady Gators were able to feed the ball inside to Brooks, who scored on the inside and was fouled. Brooks made the free throw, cutting SA’s lead to 32-20 before timeout was called with 5:01 to go in the contest.

Southland Academy junior forward Katie Rogers is about to shoot a free throw. Rogers made one foul shot in the win over Glenwood.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

With less than five minutes to go in the game, the Lady Raiders had the ball and held it for several seconds before Glenwood’s Payton Corbett stole the ball. The Lady Gators got another basket by Brooks to cut SA’s lead down to nine at 32-23.

With 2:41 to go, Brooks was fouled and made one of two foul shots to bring Glenwood to within eight at 32-24. She would later get fouled again and made one of two foul shots to cut the Lady Raiders’ lead to seven.

The Lady Gators went to a half-court trap to try and force a turnover, but the Lady Raiders were able to break the trap and found Morgan Weaver for a layup. Having been fouled on the play, Weaver sank the free throw to give SA a 35-25 lead with less than two minutes to go.

However, the Lady Gators made things interesting in the closing seconds. With 18.6 seconds left, Katie Suarez nailed a three-pointer to cut SA’s lead to 37-30, but it was too little, too late as the Lady Raiders held on for the 37-32 victory.

The Lady Gators (8-5) were led in scoring by Brooks with 16 points.

The Lady Raiders will now turn their attention to the beginning of GISA Region 3-AAA competition when they host Valwood (1-5) on Tuesday, January 7, at 6:15 p.m.