Lithia Springs hosted their first home game of the 2014-15 basketball season Saturday afternoon against Whitewater High School. The Lady Lions took on the Lady Wildcats in the opening game, falling in heartbreaking fashion, 32-30. The Lithia boys pulled away in the third quarter of their game, beating the Whitewater, 75-63.
In the boys game, Lithia opened with a 4-0 run off layups from James Williams and Qunta Bedford. However, Whitewater answered with six points, capped by a layup from Phillip Garner for the lead. Bedford reached two fouls in the first two minutes, forcing coach JW Cantrell to remove him from the game temporarily. The Wildcats continued to roll, going up 11-4. The Lions fought back, tying the game at 11 with 2:02 to play in the opening period. Both teams hit long jumpers and then Williams took a pass from Tyric Mostiller, turned and knocked down a shot right before the buzzer ended the period. Lithia led, 15-13.
DJ Montgomery extended the Lion lead to start the second period, but Whitewater’s Garrett Watkins answered with a 3-pointer. Both teams battled but the Wildcats gained a slight edge to tie the game at 20 with five minutes on the clock. Both teams sent up shot after shot, and the game stood tied at 28 with three minutes to go before the break. Lithia managed to pull away over the final minutes of the second period when Daquan Huff and Jachin Capris both hit three’s. The Lions ended the half up, 36-32.
Lithia came out firing in the third period, taking a 43-32 lead, led by a 3-pointer from Tylen Walker. After maintaining a double digit lead for several minutes, Whitewater began to chip away at the Lions lead. With four minutes to play the score stood, 47-41.
Lithia regained its double digit lead when Bedford completed a layup and plus one, and Huff hit a layup to put the Lions up, 52-41. Five more points, including a three by Huff, put Lithia up by 16 with 1:26 left in the third, and forced a Whitewater timeout. The Lions stretched their lead to 24 as the third quarter ended, off a 3-pointer from Shemar Herbert.
Whitewater would never threaten in the final period as Cantrell cleared the Lithia bench.
Walker led Lithia with 16 points, followed closely by Bedford, who netted 15. Huff scored 12.
Garner led Whitewater with 26 points.
The Lithia girls entered the game with the Lady Wildcats down three varsity players for various reasons. Lithia would only play eight. Whitewater opened the game with five straight points, capped by a 3-pointer from Jordan Barnett. The Lady Lions cut the deficit to one and a back and forth battle ensued. With 36 seconds remaining in the opening period, Lithia took an 8-7 lead on a Arit Asanga layup. The Lady Lions maintained the one point lead as the first period came to a close.
Kiana Johnson came out at the start of the third period and knocked down a long two for Lithia, giving the Lady Lions a three point spread. After Whitewater cut the deficit to one, both teams struggled to make shots, Whitewater took an 11-10 lead with 4:30 to go in the period on a Jana Coggins layup.
A foul sent Johnson to the line for Lithia. She hit both shots giving the Lady Lions a 12-11 lead with three minutes on the clock. A layup by T’era Fullove, and a breakaway layup by Johnson gave Lithia a five point advantage. The Lady Lions took their 16-11 lead into the locker room.
The third quarter opened with Whitewater hitting a quick shot, but Lithia answered with layups from Auna McCalla and Johnson to go up, 20-13. Rena Jenkins hit a three for the Lady Wildcats, but Johnson added another layup. Two shots by Whitewater, the second coming with a minute to go on the clock, cut the deficit to 22-20. Johnson hit a layup after a 30 second possession to end the third quarter with the Lady Lions leading, 24-20.
In the opening minutes of the fourth period, the Lady Wildcats went on a run, tying the game at 24. Coggins gave Whitewater the lead with six minutes to play off a layup. Both teams shared shots at the line, followed by a series of steals and travel calls. A layup by Olivia Baker put Whitewater up, 29-25 with three minutes to go.
Madison Robinson sent a layup in for Lithia, cutting the deficit to one with a 2:30 on the clock. Coggins went to the line, going 1-for-2 to put the Lady Wildcats up by three. With a minute to go, there was a scramble for the ball under the Lithia basket. Asanga came up with it and nailed the jumper. Lithia trailed, 30-29, with 42 seconds to play.
The Lady Lions were forced to foul as time ticked away and Whitewater converted two free throws. The Lady Wildcats committed a foul with 20 seconds on the clock, sending McCalla to the line. She missed the first shot but made the second and the Lady Lions trailed, 32-30. With 8.9 second left, Lithia got the ball back but two shots would not drop, ending the game.
Coggins led Whitewater to victory with 14 points. For Lithia, Johnson had game high 17 points.