Raiders edge out archrival Deerfield-Windsor

Published 1:56 pm Wednesday, January 24, 2024

ALBANY – The Southland Academy Raiders (SAR) went down to Albany poised and ready to knock off their archrival Deerfield-Windsor (DWS). That preparation paid off, as they were able to make the plays down the stretch and escape Albany with a 34-31 victory over the Knights.

It was a hell of a win,” SAR Head Coach Kevin Douglas said. “I’ve got to give it to them. They were locked in from tip off. They were locked in yesterday at practice. They were locked in coming down the road from Americus here to Deerfield. To God be the glory. These kids just gave it their all. I was hard on them last week because of the two game losing streak we were on, but to come down here in hostile territory, come down here against a rival and do what we did tonight, you can’t say anything other than ‘great job’.

Both Perry Usher and Jamarcus Walker each led the Raiders in scoring with 10 points. Mac McMichael had six points, Banks Simmons had five and Will Godwin scored three points to round out the Raiders’ scoring.

It was a tightly-contested, low-scoring first quarter between both teams, but the Knights had a 10-5 lead over the Raiders by the quarter’s end.

However, the Raiders quickly jumped out to an 11-10 lead on the strength of three-pointers by Walker and McMichael. Over the next few minutes, the Raiders went on a 6-2 run that was capped off with a basket by McMichael. During this portion of the game, the Raiders were patient on offense and were getting baskets off dribble penetration. By the time halftime rolled around, SAR had a 19-14 lead.

Southland Academy freshman point guard Jamarcus Walker scored 10 points in the Raiders’ win over DWS.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

Over the first few minutes of the third quarter, neither team was hot offensively, but the Raiders were able to take a 23-17 lead when Banks Simmons scored on a layup, was fouled and made the free throw. However, the Knights would not go away and they went on a 5-2 run to cut SAR’s lead to three at 25-22. Over the final minutes of the quarter, both teams traded baskets, but Perry Usher would give the Raiders a 28-24 lead on a three-pointer just before the third quarter ended.

The first few minutes of the fourth quarter saw both teams trade baskets, but the Knights came to within two at 31-29 on a three-pointer from Lane Sceals, prompting Douglas to call a timeout with 2:36 to go in the game.

A little over two minutes later, DWS got to within two again at 33-31 when Jake Hatcher got a steal and scored on a layup. The Raiders responded with McMichael getting fouled in the act of shooting with 33 seconds left. He was able to make one of the two free throws to give the Raiders a 34-31 lead. Shortly thereafter, DWS called a timeout with 29 seconds remaining. Out of the timeout, Sceals tried to tie the game with a three-pointer, but his shot was off the mark. The Raiders got the rebound and Walker was fouled with 15.7 seconds left. Walker missed both foul shots and that gave the Knights a chance to tie the game in the waning seconds. Fortunately for the Raiders, Lock Williams’ three-point attempt was off the mark and SAR escaped Albany would a 34-31 victory.

Sceals led the Knights in scoring with 12 points and Hatcher had six in the losing cause.

The Raiders are now 7-7 overall and they are 2-2 in the GIAA Region 3-AAA standings. They will try to build on their success when they host Tiftarea Academy on Friday at 7:45 p.m.