VALDOSTA — Lowndes coach Donnie Holland figured the differences in the Lowndes boys basketball team’s two halves Friday night was a result of two simple things — Colquitt County started missing shots and the Vikings started making shots of their own.
Those two changes allowed Lowndes to rally from a double-digit halftime deficit for a 68-57 win that assures the Vikings of a berth in the Class AAAAAA state playoffs.
“I think two things happened,” Holland said. “I hope maybe it was our defense, but they weren’t getting as many open looks and they shot it pretty well the first half.
“Then in the third quarter, we started to hit some shots. When you start making some shots, it just makes thing a little easier for you.”
The second half didn’t start promising for the Vikings, who moved to 9-14 and 4-4 in Region 1-AAAAAA heading into next week’s region tournament in Moultrie, either as Shaheem Ponder scored on the Packers’ first possession to bump the lead to 37-23.
But from there, Lowndes went to work. Sophomore guards Christian Knight, Octavious Fudge and Tyson Harris all splashed home 3-pointers during the next four minutes with Harris’ tying the game at 41 with 3:49 left in the period. Coyshon Roberts also had a pair of old-fashioned three-point plays during that spurt.
A minute later, senior forward Jeremiah Davis hauled in a long outlet pass and laid it in to give the Vikings a 43-41 lead, which they wouldn’t relinquish. Fudge, who finished with a game-high 21, followed with his fourth and final 3-pointer, and Lowndes actually took a 48-46 lead into the fourth.
“I was real proud of that third quarter,” Holland added.
“We did a better job (rebounding) in that second half.”
The fourth belonged to the Vikings, particularly Roberts and fellow big man Brandon Benjamin. The two inside presences dominated the glass with Roberts posting a double-double off the bench with 14 points and 10 rebounds, while Benjamin hauled in 12 rebounds to go along with nine points. Lowndes also converted 10 of 14 from the foul line in the fourth to hold off the Packers, who fall to 5-17 and 1-7 in the region. Colquitt will face Valdosta in an elimination game at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the region tournament at home.
That finish was in stark contrast to the opening half where Colquitt, which didn’t score for more than three minutes, quickly made up for lost time. The Packers rallied from that early 4-0 hole to race out to a 16-5 lead after one. That lead stretched to as much as 14 at 22-8 when J.J. Peterson hit with 5:22 left in the half.
Tyrese King led Colquitt with 17, 14 coming in the first half. Cameron Singletary and Sebastian Courtney each chipped in with eight for the Packers.