MOULTRIE – For one reason or another, Colquitt County High boys basketball hasn’t gone into many games – even after the end of football season – with a full compliment of Packers. It was no different for Tuesday’s non-region home meeting with Lee County on William Bryant Court.
Those who are able to suit up for first-year varsity head coach Tremaine Facison do compete to the end, but in the end the losses continue to mount. The Trojans from Leesburg, when trailing Colquitt by one in the final quarter Tuesday, scored on six straight possessions as part of a 13-4 run. Now the Packers head into the weekend’s road Region 1-7A gauntlet at 3-13 following the 72-64 setback.
Donovan Powell, who did not play in the region opening loss to Camden on Jan. 4 in Moultrie, was back in the lineup for the Lee game. He led Colquitt’s effort with 14 points. Right behind him was point guard Montavious Ponder, who came off the bench to score 13 points and dish out a handful of assists. Tyler Walker added 10 points while center Henry Daniels put in nine.
For this game, though, Facison was missing a regular starter, Elijah Scott, due to illness.
Facison went with a 2-3 zone on the Trojans for the first quarter. Lee County was getting what few early points it had on second shots. Off the visiting bench was football quarterback Kyle Toole. His first two shots right away were from 3, and both went through the net.
Colquitt stayed close with inside play from Daniels as his third rebound of the quarter was on offense and cashed in for 2. Samari Louis, playing in a reserve role, charged the rim after entering the flow and scored. K.T. Wilson also gave the Packers second–chance points. Lee County had more foul shooting opportunities, making six points at the line, to take a 16-11 lead into the second period.
As the defense switched to man, Colquitt was down by six early in the second 20-14. The Packers missed a lot of scoring chances inside despite creating one turnover for a push ahead to Walker. Louis also put back two more points, but it was Lee steadily going back to that foul line for five more points.
Ponder, late in the first half, developed some synergy with Daniels on lob passes. That resulted in five Packer points. But at 1:07, the Trojans put back 2, then Colquitt lost a chance to score when Ponder caused a five-second turnover. The basketball went back and forth with Lee getting the last possession, and though Ponder was going stride for stride the visitors connected from 3 at the buzzer for 35-27 at the half.
The deficit Colquitt faced in the second half grew as big as 11, 38-27. Daniels, after getting a steal, was called for his fourth foul at 6:09 of the third period. But it was Ponder sparking a 14-2 Packer run with nine points – six off penetration to the hole and one 3-pointer. Powell also sank in a 3 with five minutes on the clock, and Colquitt was in the lead for the first time since the opening quarter 41-40.
The lead changed hands a total of five times in the period. While some of Colquitt’s penetrations ended in turnovers, it also got lead-shifting baskets off the dribble by Walker. His second came with seven seconds to play, and the Packers took a 48-47 advantage into the fourth.
Walker’s hand stayed hot opening the last eight minutes with a 3 assisted from the lane by Zy Brockington. Lee then used a five–second takeaway to reclaim the advantage, one Colquitt snatched back at 53-52.
It was all Trojans from there as they attacked the basket three straight times to go ahead 58-54. At 3:34, it was the start of five points in a row off the fast break. Their sixth straight time touching the ball, they put back 2 on the offensive glass for 65-57. Colquitt only drew as close as five from a turnover, 69-64, with 40 seconds left.
This weekend brings a chance for the Packers to see their biggest 1-7A rivals for the first time, both on the road. They go to Lowndes Friday and Tift County Saturday.
The Colquitt County girls will take a five-game winning streak into Friday’s Region 1-7A basketball game at Lowndes after a 62-37 victory over Lee County Tuesday on William Bryant Court.
The Lady Packers will try to go to 2-0 in the region when they face the 10-7 Vikettes, who lost 61-36 at Camden County last Saturday before rebounding to beat Tift County 52-41 at home Tuesday.
Colquitt, which also will play at Tift County Saturday, opened region play with a 62-58 double-overtime win over Camden Jan. 4 at home.
The Lady Packers had little trouble with Lee County, outscoring the Lady Trojans 19-9 in the final quarter to win by 25.
The victory gave the Colquitt County girls a 12-2 record marred only by non-region losses to Valdosta by one and six points.
With three seniors and only two players who logged appreciable playing time last season, the Lady Packers are still a work in progress, coach Rondesha Williams said after Tuesday’s victory.
“We’re not always playing under control,” she said. “And we’ve got to have more discipline.
“We’re a young team. But we’ve got some new kids who can play and contribute. It’s going to come.”
One constant has been the offensive play of Janiah Ellis. She scored 27 points against Lee County, including 18 in the second quarter, to raise her average to 23.1 points a game. It was the ninth game in which she has scored 21 or more points.
And over her last five games, she has scored 34, 29, 38, 38 and 27.
With the Lady Packers leading Lee County by just two, Ellis opened the second quarter with a pair of long 3-pointers and finished it off with the final seven points of the half.
Colquitt outscored the Lady Trojans 16-4 in the quarter.
Ellis played in the considerable shadows cast last season by the now-graduated duo of Za’Nautica Downs and Diamond Hall, but she has taken on their scoring and leadership mantles. Williams acknowledges Ellis’ offensive contributions, but is expecting even more as the junior guard gains more experience and maturity.
“She needs to be more consistent,” Williams said. “She is our leader. We need her to play both ends of the court. We can’t have her out there with her hands on her hips.”
Senior Tionna Hunt also was in double-digits against Lee County, chipping in 15 points, including 11 in the second half.
Eriyona Stokes and Camille Singletary each had eight and Naia Benefield added four.
Ellis also led the Lady Packers on the boards with eight rebounds.