Raiders fall to Calvary Christian in hard-fought battle

Published 3:01 pm Monday, January 22, 2024

AMERICUS – After a hard-fought 71-68 loss at Valwood on Friday, the Southland Academy Raiders (SAR) came into their home game on Saturday against Calvary Christian School (CC) hoping to earn a victory. However, a 13-4 run by the Knights late in the second quarter changed the complexion of the game. From that point onward, the Raiders fell behind and could not regain their footing and went on to lose to CC 70-61 at the Melvin Kinslow Gymnasium.

“We’re young and inexperienced,” SAR Head Coach Kevin Douglas said. “We’re lacking true leadership and that hurts a young basketball team that doesn’t have a whole lot of experience. You live to play another day. We’ve got Deerfield-Windsor on Tuesday so we will go back to the drawing board and get ready for that one.”

Three Raiders scored in double figures. Perry Usher led SAR in scoring with 26 points, Jamarcus Walker had 12 and Banks Simmons poured in 10 points in the losing cause.

Southland Academy senior forward Will Godwin goes up for an offensive rebound.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

It was a back-and-forth affair between both teams for much of the first quarter, but Banks Simmons was able to give the Raiders a 13-9 lead with two made free throws.

However, the Knights went on a 7-1 run to close out the first quarter and led 16-14 by the quarter’s end.

During the first few minutes of the second quarter, both teams continued to trade baskets, but the Raiders went up 25-21 on a three-pointer by Jamarcus Walker. Shortly thereafter, Walker hit another three-pointer to give the Raiders a 28-21 lead. However, over the remaining minutes of the first half, the Knights went on a 13-4 run and led the Raiders 34-32 at halftime.

Southland Academy freshman guard Jamarcus Walker scored 12 points in the Raiders’ loss to Calvary Christian.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

Over the first three minutes of the third quarter, the Knights went on a 7-4 run and took a 41-36 lead, but Ben Haugabook answered for the Raiders, bringing them back to within three. However, the Knights responded with a 6-1 run before Douglas called a timeout with 1:54 remaining in the third quarter.

As the seconds were winding down to end the quarter, TJ Benson drilled a three-pointer to give the Knights a 52-41 lead with one more quarter to play.

In the fourth quarter, the Raiders tried to make a run to get back in the game and got to within four at 61-57 on a basket by Perry Usher. Unfortunately, however, that would be as close as they would get, as they would go on to lose to the Knights by the score of 70-61.

TJ Benson led the Knights in scoring with 31 points and Tyler Freeman poured in 13 in the winning cause.

The loss puts the Raiders at 6-7 overall and they are 1-2 in the GIAA Region 3AAA standings. They will try to end their two-game losing streak when they head down to Albany on Tuesday to take on Deerfield-Windsor. Tip off is scheduled for 7:45 p.m.