MOULTRIE — Colquitt County girls basketball coach Rondesha Williams expected to lead her team against Dougherty High — where she worked as an assistant before coming to Moultrie — in the Lady Packers opening game of the second annual Colquitt County Roundball Classic that begins its three-day run today at the Gladys Espy Memorial Gymnasium.

But the tournament schedule was changed at the last minute and the Lady Packers will instead face Savannah High.

But that matchup, too, has a Colquitt County-Dougherty story line.

Savannah coach April Tate was a teammate of Williams at Albany State and the two served as assistants under Charlene Jackson at Dougherty High.

That should ensure that Williams will have her team ready to play when the Lady Packers and Lady Blue Jackets meet at 7 tonight.

The Colquitt County boys will open tournament play at 8:30 tonight against Westside of Macon.

The tournament includes eight girls and eight boys teams.

The boys field especially includes some outstanding teams, including Alabama state runner-up Jeff Davis and Miami’s Boyd Anderson.

Tournament play will begin at 9:30 this morning with the Albany girls meeting Lee County.

Today’s other girls games feature West Laurens meeting Dougherty at 11:30 a.m. and Westside-Macon facing Monroe at 2:30 p.m.

Today’s boys schedule also includes Loris (S.C.) High against Lee County at 1 p.m., Jeff Davis vs. Woodlawn of Birmingham, Ala., at 4 p.m. and Monroe against Boyd Anderson at 5:30 p.m.

Play will also begin at 9:30 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.

The Lady Packers will meet Albany High at 2:30 p.m. Friday and Westside-Macon at 7 p.m. Saturday.

The Colquitt County boys will face Loris High at 8:30 p.m. Friday and Boyd Anderson at 8:30 p.m. Saturday.

And while Williams, who is in her first season as the Lady Packers coach, would like to best her former teammate and former Lady Trojan assistant in this evening’s game, there are at least two other reasons she would like her team to perform well in the tournament here.

The Lady Packers won just one of three games in last week’s Great Southern Shootout in Macon and in their two losses scored 36 and 32 points.

“No, we didn’t have good tournament,” said Williams, whose team takes an 8-4 record to the court tonight. “But we’ve got to shake it off and focus on the task at hand.

“Maybe that will serve as a wake up call.”

The Lady Packers took a six-game winning streak into the tournament in Macon, but were defeated by Hephzibah 63-36 and by Carrollton 63-32 around a 49-48 win over Stone Mountain.

Senior post player Taquella Coates scored 77 points in the three Macon tournament games, but the rest of the Lady Packers offense was nil.

The Lady Packers will try to get back on track offensively and again have Nicolle Thomas in double-digits in points.

“This is what we need,” Williams said. “We need to get some momentum to take up into region play.

“And we’ll be at home. We need to take care of home.”

Following the Saturday completion of the tournament, the Lady Packers will be off until Friday, Jan. 4, when they will play host to Houston County in their Region 1-AAAAA opener.

The Colquitt County boys also would like to have something to build on when they venture into region play next week.

The Packers are 3-7 after going 1-4 in the Toyota of Hopkinsville Christmas Invitational in Hopkinsville, Ky., last week.

Packers coach Kirven Davis says the chance to travel to Kentucky to participate in a tournament that draws some of that state’s top teams was invaluable.

“It was a different style of play and it forced us to be patient,” Davis said. “And only one of the teams outmanned us.”

The Packers lost their first game in the tournament to University Heights Academy 84-68, but stayed close before losing to Christian County 72-60 and then were defeated by Mill Creek 76-54.

“The third quarters hurt us,” Davis said. “In one, we were up five at the half and in another we were down by three.

“We played well in the first, second and fourth quarters. The third quarter was our Achilles heel.”

Davis attributed the Packers third-quarter trouble to lack of depth.

“We just get worn down,” he said. “We have to play so scrappy.”

The Packers emphasis on defense has been paying off recently with more offense, Davis said.

“We are getting more transition baskets,” he said.

Davis said he was pleased with the work of some of his reserves, and singled out the play of guard Cornelius James.

He also said he planned to try to give some tournament playing time to freshman Cole Pitts.

Davis, who was instrumental in starting the Roundball Classic last year, said he was pleased with the lineup of teams participating this year.

“The field is pretty good,” he said. “Maybe a little better than last year’s.

“And the calibre of the girls teams is stepped up too.”

Davis said a testament to the tournament is that “a lot of teams called me and asked me if they could come back.

“The word’s getting out.”

Admission to the tournament is $8 a day and a three-day pass will be on sale today for $20.

Friday’s schedule will begin with the Lee County girls meeting West Laurens at 9:30 p.m.

The other girls games will be Westside-Macon against West Laurens at 11:30 a.m.; Colquitt County against Albany at 2:30 p.m.; and Dougherty against Savannah at 5:30 p.m.

Friday’s boys games includes Westside-Macon against Lee County at 1 p.m.; Woodlawn against Monroe at 4 p.m.; Jeff Davis against Boyd Anderson at 7 p.m. and Colquitt County against Loris High at 8:30 p.m.

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