Raiders topple Deerfield-Windsor to secure regular season region title

Published 1:43 pm Wednesday, February 8, 2023

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ALBANY – The Southland Academy Raiders (SAR) went into Deerfield-Windsor (DWS) on Tuesday, February 7 and put on a three-point shooting clinic by hitting 10 three-pointers on the night. As a result, the Raiders were able to hand the Knights a 56-41 loss on their home floor in front of a loud and raucous crowd and capture the GIAA Region 3-AAA regular season championship and the #1 seed in next week’s GIAA Region 3-AAA Tournament.

With the victory, SAR finishes the regular season with an overall record of 19-4 and the Raiders are at the top of the region standings at 9-1.

“They were just all out there,” SAR Head Coach Kevin Douglas said. “We had a great practice yesterday. We had a grate practice the day prior. They were locked in. They were locked in. They were ready to go. On the bus ride over here, we were quiet and we were mentally ready to play this ball game, unlike the last one we played. We were mentally ready and we did what we had to do to get the job done,” Douglas continued.

Three Raiders scored in double figures. Cedric Smith led SAR with 19 points and knocked down three shots from beyond the arc. Luke Exley poured in 15 points and hit three three-pointers and Carlos Tyson chipped in 10 points, including two three-pointers. Banks Simmons almost made it into the double figures scoring column, as he scored eight points, including two three-pointers.

With about six minutes to go in the first quarter, the Raiders drew first blood when Tyson scored on a jumper. Over the next few minutes, both teams traded baskets until Banks Simmons gave SAR an 8-5 lead on a three-pointer. Not long thereafter, Smith gave the Raiders an 11-7 lead on a three-pointer and that would be the beginning of a 5-3 run by SAR that was culminated with a three-pointer by Smith at the buzzer to end the first quarter to give the Raiders a 16-10 lead.

However, this game was for the #1 seed in the Region 3-AAA Tournament at the Storm Dome next week and the Knights would not go quietly, especially on their home floor. They went on a 7-0 run to start the second quarter and took a 17-16 lead. Over the next minute or so, the teams traded baskets, with SAR leading 20-19, but Exley was able to extend the Raiders’ lead to 22-19 on a layup.

Over the final two minutes of the half, both teams struggled with turnovers, but Tyson was able to give SAR a 24-21 lead at the half on a layup.

Smith led the Raiders in the first half with eight of his game total of 10 points.

Early in the third quarter, the Raiders went on a 4-0 run that was capped off with a basket from Exley. Shortly thereafter, Exley struck again with a three-pointer at the 6:10 mark of the quarter, prompting DWS Head Coach Rundy Foster to call a timeout.

Southland Academy senior forward Carlos Tyson (#12) posts up against a DWS defender. Tyson scored 10 points in the Raiders’ win over the Knights.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

Out of the timeout, the Raiders continued their strong defensive effort and would later take a 36-25 lead on a three-pointer by Tyson. However, DWS scored four unanswered points and capped off the run off with a basket by Hays Revell. This prompted Douglas to call a timeout with 2:04 left in the third quarter.

Out of the timeout, the Knights used their defensive pressure to force a turnover, but the Raiders were able to get a stop and took a 39-29 lead on a three-pointer by Simmons. After three quarters of play, the Raiders were eight minutes away from winning the regular season region championship, as they led 39-29.

The Raiders went up 41-29 early in the fourth quarter on a basket from Smith, but Jackson Harris scored for DWS, was fouled and converted the three-point play at the foul line. However, SAR fought right back when Exley drilled a three-pointer, giving the Raiders a 44-32 lead.

However, this game was being played on the Knights’ home floor: a floor on which they know how to win games and many have they won in their history. DWS shooting guard Lane Sceals responded with a three-pointer of his own to cut the Raiders’ lead to 44-35 with around five minutes left to play. Shortly thereafter, Jackson Harris came up with a basket and SAR found its lead cut to 44-37 before Smith countered for the Raiders with a basket at the other end. However, the Knights responded again when Revell drained a three-pointer with 3:30 to play, forcing Douglas to call a timeout with his team up 46-40.

Out of the timeout, the Raiders had an answer when Exley drilled another three-pointer, making the score 49-40 SAR.

With two minutes to play, the Raiders had the ball and had to deal with the Knights’ half court trap, as they had to do for much of the game. However, that did not phase SAR, as Smith would nail a three-pointer and Simmons would score shortly thereafter to give the Raiders a 54-41 lead. That sequence of events would seal the SAR victory, but with 44.8 seconds to go, Perry Usher threw a long in bounds pass to a breaking Smith, who scored on a layup. This was the icing on the cake to an extremely well played game by SAR, as they would leave Albany with a 56-41 victory.

DWS falls to 14-8 overall on the season and they finish second in the region standings at 8-2. As a result, the Knights will be the #2 seed in next week’s GIAA Region 3-AAA boys’ basketball tournament to be played at GSW’s Storm Dome February 15-17. Jackson Harris led the Knights in scoring with 12 points and Hays Revell had 10 in the losing cause.