Derrick Mahone/Douglas County Sentinel Tera Fullove tries to set the Lithia Springs offense up during first-half action against South Paulding in the Region 5-AAAAA Tournament at New Manchester High.

Lithia Springs coach David Mills was pretty short and to the point when it came to summing up Saturday’s loss to South Paulding in the Region 5-AAAAA Tournament consolation game.

“We didn’t really show up ready to play basketball,” Mills said just outside of his team’s locker room.

Because of that lack of effort, the Lions lost 54-46 to South Paulding to grab the fourth-seed in next week’s state playoffs. Lithia Springs will travel to Region 8-AAAAA champion Flowery Branch for the first round of the playoffs.

Mills said the team will have to give a better effort if they are going to make any time of playoff run.

This marks the first time in school history that the Lions have made consecutive playoff appearances. Last season, Lithia Springs finished region runner-up to Hiram before losing at home to Stephenson in the first round of the playoffs.

“It really won’t matter if we don’t play better,” Mills said. “We had a good game on Wednesday and then we just checked out the last two games. It all depends on if we show up for the playoffs.”

The Lions entered the region tournament as the No. 5 seed after finishing the regular season with a 16-13 overall and 11-7 in the region.

Lithia Springs defeated Allatoona (60-47) in the first round before a 45-40 win over New Manchester to clinch a state playoff berth.

Hiram defeated the Lions 51-42 on Friday in the region semifinals that could have given them a first-round playoff home game.

In Saturday’s loss to South Paulding, the region’s No. 3 seed, Amira Dinkins had a team-high 21 points on seven 3-pointers. Arit Asanga and Kiana Johnson had eight points each.

“From the start of the game we wasn’t into it mentally,” Asanga said. “We will have to play better in our next game. We have to bring our A-game if we are going to do anything in the playoffs. We just couldn’t get much going.”

Johnson, who is the team’s leading scorer, said the team should be fine with a good practice heading into the playoffs.

“We have to focus and get ready,” Johnson said. “Think we will be fine with a good practice. It usually takes a good practice to get us right because it carries over into the game. We just have to work hard and prepare.”

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