MOULTRIE – With his team trailing 33-29 with 50 seconds left in the third quarter, Lakeem Harper scored eight of his 14 points in the final seven minutes of the game to lead the Colquitt County eighth-grade boys to a 46-39 victory over Coffee on Saturday at the Charlie A. Gray Junior High gymnasium.
The victory completed an eighth-grade sweep after the Lady Packers had won the opener, 43-13.
The Colquitt County boys trailed by one at the half primarily because of their 3-for-12 performance on the free throw line.
They were not much better in the second half, hitting just 6-of-16, but overcame that disappointing effort by getting key baskets from Harper and Ny Carr.
Carr had nine of his game-high 15 points after intermission as the Packer outscored the Trojans 27-19 in the final two quarters.
Colquitt scored the first seven points of the third quarter and led 27-23, before Coffee went on a 10-2 run.
But in the final 50 seconds of the quarter, Harper banked in a basket off the glass, Carr hit a free throw and, with nine seconds left, Harper scored again from underneath.
Harper extended the Colquitt County lead with another basket with 4:51 left in the game and put the Packers up 41-33 with his final bucket of the game.
Colquitt County coach Steven Reynolds was frustrated by poor free throw shooting and said, “We work on it and we work on it.”
He added that failure to convert on the free throw line was a key in the 4-1 Packers loss to Valdosta.
Reynolds was pleased, however, with the play of Harper, who had three points in the first quarter, but that was all he managed in the first half.
Harper added seven in the third quarter and four more in the fourth.
“Lakeem dominated like I know he is capable of,” Reynolds said.
Also for the Packers, Nick Pace scored seven points, Ty Lamar had six, K.J. Solomon had three and Caron Robinson added a free throw.
The eighth-grade Lady Packers were never threatened and led 21-0 before Coffee’s Tekala Hancock hit a pair of free throws with 2:14.
left in the first half. Seven eighth-grade girls scored in the game, including D’Zeriyah Polite, who led all scorers with 13 points.
Ameris Johnson had nine, Jamya Moore had eight, Ka’myria Williams and Ranijah Boatwright each had four, Ta’Lisa Edwards had three and Nyasia Farmer scored two points.
Eighth-grade girls coach Tiffanie Young said even though her 4-1 team only had two weeks to prepare for the season, the girls have made progress.
“They are learning the game more and more,” she said. “And they are getting better and better every day.”
Her back court has plenty of speed and uses it well both offensively and defensively, she said.
“We are working on our post play,” she said. “We want them to be more active.”
The eighth-grade teams will travel to Hahira on Monday.
The Colquitt County seventh-grade basketball teams split with Coffee in Douglas Saturday morning.
The Lady Packers used stifling half-court defense, led by NyAsia Harper and Trinity Daniels to control the game from the opening tip en route to a 34-10 victory.
The boys fell 44-28.
Points were difficult to come by early for both teams in the first game.
Caylnn Singletary scored the first four points of the game and the young Lady Packers led 6-2 at the end of the first quarter, and then took a scarce12-6 lead into halftime.
"The first half had a strange rhythm to it," coach Jon Scroggins said. "But we kept playing defense, which is what we've been working really hard on this week."
The scoring opened up after the break, as Amira Walters hit a 3-pointer and Amareyia Knighton got out in transition for easy baskets.
The Colquitt County girls outscored Coffee 22-6 down the stretch.
Knighton finished with 13 points. Singletary had six, Walters contributed five and Daniels and Harper scored four each. Rickarian Yates added a two-point basket, and Scroggins mentioned the outstanding defensive efforts of Asia Blackwell.
The boys struggled to find their rhythm throughout the game. Jakari Byrd led all scorers with 16 points. Quay Lamar and Jah'borris Fuller scored four each and Ramsey Davis and Tyler Smith each contributed two.
The seventh-grade teams will host Hahira Monday at Willie J. Williams Middle School at 4:30 pm.