Lady Raiders fall at Deerfield-Windsor in regular season finale

Published 3:03 pm Wednesday, February 8, 2023

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ALBANY – The Southland Academy Lady Raiders (SAR) came into their regular season finale at Deerfield-Windsor (DWS) on Tuesday, February 7 hoping to topple the Lady Knights and earn the #1 seed in next week’s GIAA Region 3-AAA girls’ basketball tournament at the Storm Dome on the GSW campus. However, an 8-1 run by DWS late in the second half doomed the Lady Raiders’ hopes of a victory and the Lady Knights went on to defeat SAR 42-30 to clinch the regular season region title and the #1 seed in next week’s region tournament.

With the loss, the Lady Raiders finish the regular season with an overall record of 21-3 and they will finish in second place in the region standings at 8-2. DWS finishes the regular season with an overall record of 22-1 and finishes atop the region standings at 10-0. As a result, the Lady Knights will be the #1 seed in next week’s region tournament, while the Lady Raiders will be the #2 seed.

“I think we just ran out of gas at the end,” SAR Head Coach Eric Israel said. “I’m extremely proud of our girls, especially being down a starter. For girls to step up that aren’t use to having to take some roles, they took those roles and really stepped up and once again our defense kept us in the game. Hopefully, we will see Deerfield down the road,” Israel continued.

Southland Academy senior guard J.C. Bailey scored 10 points in SAR’s loss to the Lady Knights.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

Coach Israel was referring to SAR senior starting point guard Morgan Weaver, who was not able to play due to injury.

Both Riley Mitchell and J.C. Bailey led the Lady Raiders with 10 points. Mary Beth Easterlin chipped in six points and Anslee Rooks scored four in the losing cause.

After a competitive first half between both teams, the Lady Knights led 21-17.

In the third quarter, the Lady Raiders were able to keep pace and only trailed 34-29 by the end of the quarter. However, DWS got a basket from Gabrielle Harris with just under five minutes left in the fourth quarter and that sparked an 8-1 run by the Lady Knights. It was a deficit from which SAR could not come back from and the Lady Raiders went on to lose to DWS 42-30.

Southland Academy senior forward Anslee Rooks fights for the ball against a DWS player.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

Murphey Ray led the Lady Knights in scoring with 13 points and Joi Hubbard had eight for DWS in the winning cause.

The GIAA Region 3-AAA girls’ tournament will take place Wednesday through Friday, February 15-17, at the Storm Dome on the campus of Georgia Southwestern State University. Tip off times are still to be determined.