MOULTRIE – There were times when Colquitt County High boys basketball coach Tremaine Facison said the Packers waited to late to turn things on during a game, like last Tuesday at Dooly County. The result was an overtime loss, the team's second such setback in as many games.
No doubt, Colquitt did not have all proverbial gears firing Friday when hosting Region 1-7A rival Lowndes High on William Bryant Court. Down by 15 at halftime, the Packers flipped the offensive switch in the third quarter then found a little defense in the fourth to ride out with a 59-50 win to even their region record at 1-1.
And, as Facison hoped would be the case, Lowndes dropped to 0-3.
Elijah Scott and Tyler Walker, both seniors, led the winning effort with 15 points each. Montavious Ponder scored 11 points to go with three assists in that second-half rally. Omarian Daniels was a major factor off Facison's bench in the second half as well.
Colquitt played without senior forward Henry Daniels, who suffered a concussion earlier in the week.
To fully appreciate how much energy the Packers displayed in the second half, consider how atrocious play was in the first with just 11 points, eight coming in the opening quarter. But even as four possessions in a row ended in turnovers and five straight overall ended without scoring, Colquitt was still able to hold a 6-5 lead. Ponder was the player of the period with four points, an assist to Dy Williams and a steal when he returned to the game from a rest with less than a minute on the clock.
Even though Scott had a 3-point try go in and out at the buzzer, the Packers were up 8-7 after eight minutes.
Viking guard Paul Montgomery gave the visitors two 3-pointers in the onset of the second quarter. The Packers missed a lay-in off a takeaway and had a driving shot at the basket swatted away. Montgomery also found himself on the free-throw line and added to the total for Lowndes, which pushed the basketball from possessions gained by the arrow and Colquitt misses.
At 1:11, 6-3, 240-pound Viking Jaylon Jones bullied his way in for 2 capping a 13-0 run. When Scott scored the only Packer field goal of the period, Jones got underneath the opposite basket and converted to start a half-ending 6-0 run. Aaron Williams, from a steal, sent the game into the break at 26-11 for Lowndes.
For the third quarter, Colquitt had the offense, but too often the Vikings had an immediate response. Lemeke Brockington went into the post and scored 2, Ponder nailed the 3-ball and Daniels hit 3 more from a steal. But as Montgomery countered with his own trey, it was still a double-digit hole for the home squad at 30-19. When Walker hit his team's third 3-pointer of the period, Lowndes found four in a row with another basket inside by Jones.
Lowndes also answered Ponder's assist to Brockington and Ponder's penetration hoop, so close to the end of the third the Vikings only lost one point from the halftime advantage. With bench contributions by KJ Spencer and his assist to Aaron Long, the Packers were down 12, 44-32, with one more quarter to play.
Twelve is the number of foul shots Colquitt made in the final period. To open the fourth, the Pack had its first significant run of the game, seven in a row, with Walker hitting the 3 and Daniels forcing a key turnover Ponder cashed in.
Montgomery, making 3 for the fourth time in the game, made for a 47-39 Viking advantage, but that was it for a long stretch as the Packers took over. That free-throw shooting was particularly important, for six such makes tied the game 47-47 at 5:21. Scott's elbow jumper flipped the lead for good.
The Packers had several fortunate bounces of the basketball to maintain possession, and Ponder threw two assists to Brockington and Williams. In all, the home team scored 18 in a row before Lowndes changed its total.
LADY PACKER ROUT
Senior Janiah Ellis was celebrated Friday as Colquitt County High's latest 1,000-point scorer in girls basketball. In the Region 1-7A game against Lowndes, fans saw somebody headed in that same direction.
Ellis had a 19-point game, and that was second to freshman Carliss Johnson and her 26. They were too much for the Lowndes Vikettes and improved the team to 2-0 in the region after a 60-30 rout.
But it was far from a two-girl show, for Ellis knew what to do to get other Lady Packers involved. Starter Audreyanna Rowland added five points and Camille Singletary six.
There wasn't great shooting from the floor in the first quarter. Johnson had eight of the 10 for the Colquitt girls with a cut down the lane assisted by Singletary. Singletary earned 2 from the steal-assist combo from Ellis.
The Lady Packers led 10-6 after one, and Ellis turned into a director on the floor. She called for a high screen by backup forward Gracie Belle Paulk and used it to get inside for 2. She then called Paulk and Rowland to the high posts, and that opened up space for Johnson to covert Ellis' feed. Finally, Ellis waved others off for a clear path, but as she dribbled into the paint she dished off to Rowland for a 3.
Ellis had five first-half assists and penetrated to get 2 from Rowland's screen up top. She even stole the ball four times, but wasn't quite on her long-range game.
The Lady Packers went from leading 22-9 to 22-13 off a turnover, but Singletary nailed 3 at 1:40. At the half the home team led 27-15.
Lowndes made it a 10-point game, 28-18, as Taje Middleton (12 points) converted a three-point play. At 5:47, Ellis found her perimeter stroke. That started a 7-2 run capped by Johnson's pick-pocket steal and score. Ellis sank two more 3s (one assist to Singletary), and the runaway was on 46-25 after three.