MOULTRIE -- Several times, as he tried to explain his team's 70-37 loss to Valdosta in the opening round of the Region 1-AAAAA basketball tournament on Thursday, Colquitt County boys coach Keith Hall said he had no explanation for the lopsided score.
The Packers, who went into the tournament on their home floor in the Gladys Espy Gymnasium having split their two games with the Wildcats during the regular season, trailed 42-6 at the half and were down 62-17 when Valdosta coach John Miller cleared his bench with 4:41 left in the game.
Colquitt's only score in the second quarter was a John Michael Hall free throw as the Packers were outscored in the period 28-1.
The Packers went more than 13 minutes between their second basket of the night -- a Hall shot from inside with 1:31 left in the first quarter -- to their third -- a lay-in off the glass by Sherrod Edwards with 4:17 left in the third quarter that pulled the Packers to within 37, at 47-10.
The lopsided victory guarantees the Wildcats a state tournament berth and sends them into the battle for the No. 3 seed against Lowndes at 8:30 tonight.
That winner will advance to meet No. 2 seeded Coffee at 8:30 p.m. Saturday to determine who will go to the state tournament as the No. 2 seed from Region 1-AAAAA.
Tift County's undefeated boys team have taken the region championship and are not participating in the tournament.
In girls action on Thursday, No. 5 Tift County upset No. 4 Valdosta 53-47, sending the Lady Devils to the state tournament.
Shelley Baxter led Tift County with 18 points. Justina Brownlee had 16, and Jessica Jenkins had 12, including 8-of-10 from the free throw line in the final 1:27.
Tift will meet top-seeded Coffee at 7 tonight.
The Lowndes girls, despite playing without All-Region candidate Miaie Williams, routed Lee County 53-29.
Williams has suffered a stress fracture and is lost for the rest of the season. She scored 25 points in the Vikettes region tournament championship game victory over Colquitt County last year.
The Lady Trojans finish their final season in Region 1-AAAAA having lost all 11 region games this season.
The Vikettes also qualify for the state tournament and will meet Colquitt County at 5:30 today in the other girls semifinal game.
The girls region championship game is scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday.
Colquitt County and Lowndes split their two regular-season meetings, with the Vikettes winning 49-47 in Valdosta and the Lady Packers taking the rematch in Moultrie 64-44.
Colquitt's boys trailed 14-5 at the end of the second quarter, but Valdosta put the game away quickly in the next eight minutes.
The Wildcats hit all 13 of their shots and outrebounded the Packers 9-0 in the second quarter.
"Things just kind of snowballed on us," Keith Hall said after the game. "We had a good week of practice.
"But scoring just six points in the first half. Just one point in the second quarter. It's a weird thing. I don't have an answer for that."
Twelve of the 13 players who got into the game for Valdosta scored, led by Chauncey Jones, who had 14. Robert Boyd added 11 and Darius King had 10.
The Wildcats had 31 baskets, including six 3-pointers.
"They were unconscious," Hall said of the Wildcats, who hit 69 percent of their shots and out-rebounded the Packers 30-18.
Colquitt had 12 baskets, including six 3-pointers.
Hall led the Packers with 17 points, and had two of those 3-pointers.
Antwan Tuff had 15 points on four 3-pointers and 3-for-3 from the free throw line.
But Tuff, who had 24 points and the game-winning, buzzer-beating basket in the 55-53 win over the Wildcats last month, got all of his points in the second half. His first 3-pointer cut a Valdosta lead 52-13.
Edwards had four points in his final game in the No. 21 Colquitt County jersey. Jeremy DeBruce had the other Packers' point.
"I don't want to lose what our kids accomplished this year: our guys stepping up and growing up," Hall said. "When you look at how far we came this year, I'm pleased with where we are."
Lowndes overcame a Lee County stall to win 36-11.
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This Week's Circulars
BERLIN [mdash] Sherron Lynne Gregory Boyd, 43, of Berlin, died Thursday, July 15, 2021 at her home. Arrangements have been entrusted to Baker Funeral Home.
MOULTRIE [mdash] Lifardo Frometa, 86, of Moultrie, died Wednesday, July 14, 2021 at Colquitt Regional Medical Center. Arrangements entrusted to Baker Funeral Home
MOULTRIE, GA - Sandra Ann Smith Hutchinson,73, of Moultrie, passed away on July 19, 2021, at her residence. Cobb Funeral Chapel has been entrusted with the arrangements.
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