Raiders edge out SGA in hard-fought contest

Published 10:36 pm Monday, December 4, 2023

AMERICUS – It was a hard-fought contest between the Southland Academy Raiders (SAR) and the Warriors of Southwest Georgia Academy (SGA), but the Raiders were able to make the plays down the stretch and earned a 53-49 victory over the Warriors on Monday evening, December 4, at the Melvin Kinslow Gymnasium.

“It’s the second game of the season. We’re still trying to learn our identity,” SAR Head Coach Kevin Douglas said. “We’ve got two returning starters, a senior that has never played and a freshman point guard. We’re trying to jell and we’re doing fine. We haven’t had a whole lot of practices, but overall, we got the win. We fought and that’s all I ask out of the guys; just fight till the end and that’s exactly what we did.”

Perry Usher led the Raiders in scoring with 21 points, with 15 of those points coming on five three-pointers. Banks Simmons scored 18 points and JaMarcus Walker chipped in eight in the winning cause.

During the early part of the first quarter, it was a back-and-forth affair between both teams, but the Raiders were able to take a 13-9 lead with 1:50 to go in the quarter on a layup by Usher. By the end of the quarter, the Raiders had amassed a 17-10 lead, as they were able to go on a 4-1 mini run.

During the first couple of minutes of the second quarter, both teams went cold from the field, but as the quarter continued, the Raiders went on a 6-2 run to take a 23-14 lead. During this period of the game, SAR was patient on offense, as they worked for the high percentage shot.

However, the Warriors would not go away and they went on a 7-0 run of their own to close the gap to 23-21 with a little over a minute before halftime.

The Raiders had a response though and it came in the form of Usher, who knocked down a three-pointer with about 30 seconds to go in the half. By halftime, the Raiders had a 26-21 lead.

Southland Academy point guard JaMarcus Walker scored eight points in the Raiders victory over SGA.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

Over the first four minutes of the third quarter, both teams traded baskets, but with 1:58 to go in the quarter, Usher drained another three-pointer to give SAR a 37-28 lead.

However, the Warriors responded with a 4-0 run of their own, cutting the SAR lead to 37-32 until Jase Peterson drilled a three-pointer to put the Raiders back up by eight at 40-32. By the end of the third quarter, it was still a tightly contested match with SAR leading 40-34.

Over the first three minutes of the fourth quarter, both teams traded baskets, but the Raiders had a 44-37 lead. However, Matt McMichael quickly increased the SAR lead to 10 on a three-pointer.

But just as the Raiders had extended their lead to double digits, that lead quickly evaporated, as the Warriors went on a 9-0 run to cut the Raiders’ lead to 47-46, prompting Douglas to call a timeout with 2:25 left in the contest.

The Warriors were able to take a 48-47 lead when Colt Williams scored with a little over two minutes left, but Usher responded with another three-pointer to give SAR a slim 50-48 lead.

With 28.8 seconds left, the Raiders led 50-49 and had a chance to increase that lead with JaMarcus Walker at the foul line. Walker was able to make one of the two foul shots.

The Warriors had a chance to tie the game, but Banks Mathis missed a layup on the inside. Banks Simmons was able to get the rebound for the Raiders and was fouled. Simmons went to the foul line and sank both free throws and the Raiders would go on to win by the score of 53-49.

The Raiders (1-1) will travel up to Perry on Thursday, December 7, to take on the Hornets of Westfield. Tip off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.