Raiders fall to Tiftarea Academy at home on Senior Night

Published 12:10 pm Monday, January 29, 2024

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AMERICUS – After their 34-31 win at Deerfield Windsor on Tuesday, the Southland Academy Raiders (SAR) came into Friday’s Senior Night game against Tiftarea Academy hoping to keep their winning ways going and to give seniors Banks Simmons, Perry Usher and Will Godwin a victorious Senior Night.

Unfortunately, however, throughout the game, the Raiders missed numerous easy shots and free throws and it would come back to haunt them, as they went on to lose to the Panthers 59-53 at the Melvin Kinslow Gymnasium.

“I honestly thought we had a good chance of winning the game,” SAR Head Coach Kevin Douglas said. “We came out and we battled. We were up by seven at halftime. When you leave 20 plus points out there off of missed layups and free throws, you can’t expect to win a ball game and that’s exactly what we did: 20 plus points off of missed layups and free throws, that was the difference in the ball game. They made their layups. We missed ours. It’s just that simple.”

Banks Simmons led the Raiders in scoring with 22 points and Perry Usher had 12. Will Godwin scored nine points and Mac McMichael chipped in seven to round out the SAR scoring.

The Raiders got off to a great start, as they jumped out to a 7-0 lead. However, the Panthers responded by going on a 7-3 run, getting to within three points at 10-7.

Over the next few minutes, both teams would trade baskets, but by the end of the first quarter, the score would be tied at 17-17.

Southland Academy sophomore guard Mac McMichael drives to the basket against Tiftarea Academy.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

Over the first three minutes of the second quarter, both teams were trading baskets, but the Panthers would take a 25-22 lead on a three-pointer by Ben Smith. This was the beginning of a 5-0 run by TA and it would prompt Douglas to call a timeout with 4:24 left before halftime and the Raiders trailing 27-22.

Out of the timeout, the Raiders would respond by going on a 7-0 run that was capped off by a basket from Banks Simmons. Shortly thereafter, the Raiders took a 32-27 lead on a layup from McMichael. The Raiders were getting the job done defensively as well, as the Panthers were going cold from the field. By halftime, the R aiders had a 34-27 lead.

The Raiders got off to a slow start early in the third quarter and the Panthers were able to take advantage by going on a 7-3 run. During this portion of the game, the Raiders were also struggling from the foul line, as they were missing some of their foul shots.

Fortunately for SAR, they were able to whether the storm and regained a 42-36 lead on a basket from Perry Usher. Over the final minute of the third quarter, both teams traded baskets, but the Raiders had a 46-43 lead.

Southland Academy senior forward Will Godwin scored nine points in the Raiders’ loss to Tiftarea Academy.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

However, the Panthers went on a 5-2 run early in the fourth quarter and it prompted Douglas to call a timeout to settle his team down.

However, the Raiders were going cold from the field and it allowed the Panthers to go on another run to take 52-50 lead. Then with 2:11 left in the game, the Panthers scored on a three-pointer to give TA a 55-50 lead.

However, the Raiders would not quit. They responded with three unanswered points to get to within two at 55-53. Unfortunately for SAR though, that would be as close as they would get, as the Panthers went on to defeat the Raiders by the score of 59-53.

The Raiders will try to rebound from this setback when they travel over to Dawson on Tuesday to take on the Terrell Academy Eagles. Tip off is scheduled for 6:15 p.m.