MOULTRIE — Colquitt County girls basketball coach Joe Parker looked at the scorebook from Friday’s 48-45 Region 1-AAAAA victory over Houston County and noted how nice it was his team could win despite Ashley Stafford having only five points and Jessica Lemus getting just four.

The Lady Packers were able to go to 1-0 in the region because Dorothy Strong came through with a season-high 18 points and Laquita Smith chipped in seven off the bench as Colquitt’s girls avenged a loss to the Lady Bears in last year’s region tournament finals.

Houston County’s boys averted a region sweep by defeating the Packers 59-49.

Neither the Packers nor the Lady Packers will have to dwell long on Friday’s outcomes.

Valdosta will be at the Gladys Espy Gymnasium tonight for another pair of region games beginning at 7 p.m.

Both the Wildcats and Lady Cats will be looking for their first region victories of the season.

After being swept by Tift County on Friday, both of the Valdosta teams are 0-2 in the region.

Colquitt’s girls trailed by three at the half to the Lady Bears, but tied the game at 29-29 with 4:51 left in the third quarter on a 3-pointer by Smith and took the lead for good on a free throw by Stafford 71 seconds later.

Strong opened the quarter with a basket and a 3-pointer to tie the game at 26.

Colquitt stretched its lead to 10 with 2:43 left in the game, but the Lady Bears put on a run that took them to within three points with 55 seconds left.

The Lady Packers could have made it easier on themselves by hitting some free throws down the stretch.

But when Stafford grabbed a rebound after a Houston County desperation 3-point attempt at the buzzer, the Lady Packers had raised their overall record to 9-4.

Taquella Coates had nine points for the Lady Packers.

Nicole Thomas came off the bench to add a big fourth-quarter 3-pointer and Nikki Hudson added two points.

Stafford also dished out six assists and Coates and Lemus each had seven rebounds.

“Jessica played great post defense tonight,” Parker said.

And the Lady Packers, who average 23 turnovers a game, had just 16 on Friday.

But it was Strong who was the biggest factor in holding off the Lady Bears, who are now 9-5 overall and 1-1 in the region. She had three 3-pointers and was 3-for-5 from the free throw line.

“She sure kept us in the game, that’s for sure,” said Colquitt assistant coach Amy Chason.

The Lady Packers were able to win despite hitting just 7-of-21 free throws.

Colquitt County’s boys got 15 points and 21 rebounds from James Trimble, but the Packers shot just an unofficial 28 percent from the floor to drop their region opener and fall to 7-4 overall.

The Bears, who had lost their region opener to Lowndes last month, are now 9-5 overall thanks to a big night from guard Reggie Pero.

Pero led all scorers with 23 points and turned the game in a three-minute span of the third quarter.

With the Bears leading 27-26 with 5:07 left in the quarter, Pero hit a base line jumper, a pair of 3-pointers and another short jumper to send the lead to 11 with 3:17 left in the quarter.

Colquitt never seriously challenged the rest of the way. The Packers scored 11 points in each of the first three quarters and their 16 in the final eight minutes were not enough to catch the Bears.

Trimble was the only Packer in double figures. Andrew Wallace and Orion Ponder each had eight, Jeremy DeBruce added six, Ronald Wilson and Antwan Tuff each had five and Corey Goss added a basket.

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