Lithia Springs made the trip up Interstate 20 Tuesday evening to take on the Villa Rica Wildcats and Lady Wildcats. The Lady Lions opened play with a 50-23 Region 5-AAAAA victory. In the boys game, Lithia might not have played their best game according to their coach, but came away with a 64-56 win.
The Lady Lions opened the evening by taking a commanding 14-2 first period lead. They led 28-6 at the half and 41-14 at the end of the third period. Lithia did not pull the game starters until the start of the fourth, but started the game with a couple of bench players with starters missing. The win was a big one for a program that was unsure which direction it would go at the start of the season.
“We wondered if we could guard folks in the region and Villa Rica only had six points at halftime,” said LSHS girls coach David Mills. “It felt good on defense and we guarded them tonight.”
Chyon Leslie and Saundra Manyitabot led the Lady Lions in scoring with 12 points apiece.
“Chyon gave us energy under the post and it is unusual for us to get a lot of points down there since she is only 5-foot-7. She also did a good job guarding their 6-footer,” Mills said. “Saundra set the tone early in the game and got us going offensively with clutch layups.”
Kiana Johnson scored nine points and T’era Fullove followed with eight.
In the boys game, Lithia took a slim 12-11 lead at the half and went up 27-23 at the end of the second period. After the break, the Lions came out firing, going up 45-34. They were up by 15 with four minutes to go, but VR attempted a comeback, cutting the deficit to five. The Lions were able to hit a few free throws at the end of the game to ice it.
“We played decent, and when the kids want to play, we are going to be tough,” said LSHS boys coach JW Cantrell. “They did not show up ready, and we have to be ready every game.
Qunta Bedford led Lithia with 18 points. Tylen Walker followed with 17.
“Qunta was solid, but he did not get a chance to shoot as much as I wanted him to. Villa Rica packed in the zone and double teamed him every time he got the ball. He only missed one shot from the field and was 6-for-7 from the free throw line,” Cantrell said. “Tylen played great and hit a three from 35 feet that ended the third quarter. He gave us the momentum to win the game.”
Jachin Capers added 10 points, with five coming in the fourth period.
The Lions and Lady Lions will be back in action on Friday when they host Hiram.