The Colquitt County eighth-grade girls basketball team avenged its only loss of the season by defeating Tift County 47-41 to win the South Georgia Athletic Conference  tournament championship on Saturday at Lowndes Middle School.

“We played great defense today,” coach Tiffanie Young said. “We played hard and left everything on the court.

“They’re wonderful girls. A lot of fun.”

Colquitt finishes its season with a 12-1 record. Its only loss was by a 32-19 score at Tift County on Dec. 10.

On Saturday, Colquitt led 15-10 at the end of the first quarter, but trailed 27-24 at the half and 37-34 heading into the fourth quarter.

“We held our composure and never panicked,” Young said. “In the end, we put pressure on their guards and made them turn it over.”

Zanautica Downs, who banked home a half-court shot to end the first quarter, led the Lady Packers with 21 points.

Kiarra Lovett added 15, Abiyah Spencer had seven and Akia Sutton and Ty’brea Lamar each had two.

The eighth-grade girls opened tournament play on Thursday with a 42-23 victory over Valdosta.

On Saturday morning, they advanced to the championship game with a 29-28 victory over Newbern.

Colquitt trailed at the end of each of the first three quarters.

“Free throws played an important part of this game, although we only shot 9-of-16,” Young said. “We made only two field goals in the first half, but shot 6-for-10 from the free throw line.

“We trailed throughout most of the game, but came through the last few minutes.”

Downs had 15 points against Newbern. Lovett added seven, Sutton had three and Lamar and Chyna Calhoun each had two points.

The Colquitt County eighth-grade boys dropped their semifinal game 30-24 to Tift County, which then went on to defeat Coffee for the conference tournament title.

The eighth-grade boys had used a big fourth-quarter to defeat Newbern 49-39 in their first tournament game on Thursday.

But on Saturday, leading scorer J.J. Peterson fouled out early in the fourth quarter and starting point guard Cameron Singletary followed suit moments later.

Their losses were too much to overcome.

Despite fouling out, Peterson led the Packers with 17 points. Singletary added 13.

Tyran Shealy had three points, Javarius Andrewsand Jaquan Willis each had two and Jarvis Christopher had a free throw.

The eighth-grade boys finish with a 9-3 record.

“I enjoyed working with them,” said coach Steven Reynolds. “They are a great group of kids and very athletic. I’m proud of all of them.”

In the seventh-grade tournament in Tifton, the Colquitt County girls won their first game on Saturday, defeating Coffee 27-25.

The victory avenged a 22-point loss to the the Lady Trojans earlier this season.

Eriyona Stokes and Tionna Hunt led Colquitt County with seven points each.

Tim’mya Sanders added six, Monteanna Edwards had three and Kahleah Anderson and Kenya Walker each scored two.

The victory sent the Colquitt girls to the championship game, where they eliminated by top-seeded Tift County 42-11.

Stokes had five points and Sanders, Hunt and Walker each had two points.

 The No. 3 seeded seventh-grade girls put eight players in the scoring column to win their tournament opener on Friday 39-17 over Pine Grove.

Stokes led the Lady Packers with 16 points.

Ivorianna Ward had six; Walker added four; and Edwards, Anderson, Eknadia McIntyre and Marlee Wingate each had two. McIntyre and Wingate are sixth-graders.

“We definitely improved over the course of the season,” said seventh-grade girls coach Jon Scroggins. “We got remarkably better. I’m proud of the girls for staying with it.”

The No. 2-seeded seventh-grade boys, who won their tournament opener on Friday over Valdosta, were eliminated by top-seeded Coffee on Saturday.

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