One week after having to postpone their first rivalry matchup of the 2014-15 basketball season, Lithia Springs traveled to Douglas County Friday night for a little cross-county action. In a defensive game, the Lady Tigers managed to slowly pull away from Lithia, winning 52-33. The Tiger boys rolled to a 94-53 victory over the visiting Lions. .
The DC girls jumped out to an quick 7-0 lead in the opener behind to layups from Arsula Clark and a 3-point play, layup and a free throw by Santasia Faust. After a Lithia timeout, the Lady Lions came roaring back with six straight. Kiana Johnson hit two layups and Arit Asange knocked down a short jumper.
Both teams followed with four point runs, with four different players scoring. Douglas County ended the first with four more points. First, Ashanti Brown grabbed a rebound and put the ball back up for two points. Next, Amira Atwater sent a no-look pass through the middle to Gabrielle Whatley, who finished the play with two points for a Lady Tiger 15-10 lead.
Defense and turnovers were the story in the second period. Both teams went to the line early with Douglas County outshooting Lithia Springs, 2-1. Clark followed with a short jumper for the Lady Tigers and Auna McCalla did the same at the other end of the floor. There would be only two more shots made in the period, both coming from the Lady Tigers. DC’s Faust hit a layup with three minutes to go in the half and Kembra Mays connected on a short jumper with 20 seconds on the clock. Douglas County led at the half, 23-13.
The third period started off like the second but both teams got hot around the four minute mark, exchanging shots quickly for about a minute. At the end of that minute, DC had a 31-19 lead when Atwater knocked down a long jumper. After a Lady Lion 2-point shot, DC finished the third with six straight points. Olivia Whatley scored four points off a long jumper and a layup. DC led, 35-21.
Clark opened the second period with a layup for DC. Faust hit a layup and added a foul shot after the score to put the Lady Tigers up, 42-21. Lithia answered with four points but DC followed with a run of six, to go up 48-25. Olivia Whatley led the drive with four points off a jumper and a layup.
Down 50-27, the Lady Lions began a run at the three minute mark that cut the deficit by six. Ayanna Dinkins started the streak with a 3-point shot. DC halted the run with a jumper by Clark. The Lady Tigers went on to win by 19.
“We turned the ball over way to much and did not shoot exceptionally well, though we did make a few good shots,” said DC girls coach Chet Forsh. “I’m glad we won and it was a better effort than Wednesday night. I understand that it is early and we are trying to learn each other. I think we can play better, I hope we can, because if we can’t we are in trouble.”
Clark led the Lady Tigers with a game high 14 points, followed by 10 from Faust and eight from Olivia Whatley. Johnson scored a team high 10 for the Lady Lions.
“DC’s defense set the tone for the game and they forced us to turn the ball over, and they beat us in transition,” said LS girls coach David Mills. “We did not help ourselves out by going 12-for-62 from the 2-point line and missing 17 free throws, but you have to get DC credit and their defense was the difference.
In the boys game, DC rolled out to a quick lead behind Brandon Robinson and Corey Tillery. Robinson opened the game with a dunk off an ally-oop. Two minutes into the game, the Tigers led, 11-2, when Tillery knocked down a shot from long range. Lithia’s Qunta Bedford followed with four straight points to cut the deficit to five. The rest of the opening period was filled with back and forth play. Five different players from DC scored. Lithia stayed in the game thanks to the shooting of Bedford at the line. The Tigers led 25-16.
Douglas County outscored Lithia 6-1 to open the second period, with most shots coming from the line. Lithia answered with five points as Bedford netted four off a jumper and a layup. Up 10 with three minutes remaining in the half, DC went on a nine point run aided by Lithia fouls. The Tigers went 5-for-6 from the line. Both teams shared a few baskets at the end of the second with Douglas County taking a commanding 50-32 lead into the break.
Elisha Johnson came out in the third period for DC and gave the Tigers their first 20 point lead. After a jumper by Robinson and a layup by Johnson, Lithia was forced to call a timeout. The run continued for a total of nine points before Lithia’s Tylen Walker hit a layup with 4:20 on the clock. After four points from the Lions, the Tigers went on another run and took a 30 point lead when Donovan Richardson hit his first of two free throws. DC led 71-40 at the end of the third.
With three minutes to go in the final period, and with the DC bench cleared, Johnson hit a layup to put the Tigers up by 40. DC won by 41.
“We had the intensity we needed on defense and in the first half got a lot of turnovers and steals,” said DC boys coach Hollis Bethea. “This was a rivalry game so they had a little extra motivation tonight and they played well as a group overall.
Douglas County had five players in double figures. Robinson led the team with 17. Kalen Clifton followed with 16. Tillery netted 10 and K’Ja Johnson added 11. Elisha Johnson had 10 points and 10 rebounds. Lithia’s Bedford had a game high 18 points.