MOULTRIE -- Neither Keith Hall nor Joe Parker could be totally happy with their teams finishing third in the four-team CNS/Colquitt County Invitational basketball tournament held last Friday and Saturday at the Gladys Espy Gymnasium.

But both had to be pleased that their teams won their final games before embarking on the Region 1-AAAAA schedule on Friday with games at Lee County.

The Packers, 5-7, defeated a Camden County team that had lost on a free throw after the buzzer the night before to eventual tournament champion Cairo.

The Lady Packers, 7-5, avenged an early-season loss to Worth County when they dismissed the Lady Rams 60-52.

Each team could use a boost heading into what is expected to competitive region schedules.

Colquitt's boys especially needed a strong finish to pre-region part of its schedule.

The Packers played two post-Christmas tournaments and won just two of five games.

Colquitt lost to Mitchell-Baker and Bainbridge and defeated Thomas County Central in the CNS-Reebok Holiday Hoopfest in Thomasville and lost to Worth County last Friday at home before defeating Camden County 64-62.

The Packers roster was thin for both tournaments, but Hall said he hopes to have Cedric Richardson and Dantrell Hunt back in the fold for Friday's game.

And Hall should know today whether Keithus Troupe, the Packers starting point guard the last two seasons, will be academically eligible for the rest of the season.

The Colquitt County Invitational saw Packers Jeremy DeBruce get his first two starts of the season and Hall said he liked saw of the freshman guard.

John Michael Hall and Renoto Wright continued to lead the Packers offensively in last weekend's tournament.

Wright scored 35 points in the two games. Hall added 31.

The Lady Packers followed a lethargic 50-32 Friday loss to Cairo with one of their best performances of the season in the 60-52 win over Worth.

"Worth's no joke," Parker said of the Lady Rams, who are coached by former Colquitt County player and assistant coach Brelinda Copeland Sullen.

"They have beaten some good teams. But when we run the floor like that, it's a whole new ball game."

The Lady Rams had defeated the Lady Packers by 12 in Sylvester when former Colquitt countian JoKelra Copeland had 21 points.

But on Saturday, Colquitt neutralized Copeland, allowing her just 12 points, eight of which came from the free throw line.

"We trapped her," Parker said. "We said before the game that if we lost, someone other than JoKelra was going to beat us."

The Colquitt County defense was led by senior Latoya Seay, who also was the team's leading scorer with a season-high 16 points.

"Seay's tough," Parker said. "She's everywhere. She really sparked us defensively. When we see her working so hard, we all want to get into it. She's going to have to be in the first five out there."

Colquitt also got strong performances from its two freshmen, Jessica Lemus and Ashley Stafford.

Lemus had nine points and 15 rebounds and Stafford had nine points and five rebounds.

Both were on the floor in closing minutes as Colquitt held off the Lady Rams.

In fact, the two combined to score Colquitt's final seven points of the game, with Stafford scoring two baskets and Lemus hitting a free throw and a put-back with 9 seconds left.

"Stafford gave a glimpse of what she can do," Parker said.



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