The Lions and Lady Lions of Lithia Springs dropped a pair of Region 5-AAAAA games at home to South Paulding Tuesday night. The girls suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Lady Spartans, falling by one point in overtime, 63-62. After the first quarter, the Lithia boys never led again, falling 56-46.
In the girls game, South Paulding won the first three quarters, outscoring Lithia, 12-9, 15-13 and 12-10. However, the Lady Lions came roaring back in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Lady Spartans, 22-15 to tie the game at 54.
Lithia tied the game with only seconds left to play in regulation when Auna McCalla grabbed on offensive rebound and put the ball back up for two points. South Paulding had an opportunity for the win, but missed the shot.
In overtime, both teams battled back and forth. The Lady Lions lost several starters in OT due to fouls. In the end, free throws would doom the Lady Lions. The team went 18-for-38 in the game. They were also 19-of-70 from two point range.
“When you are losing one point and two point games, you cannot shoot like that,” said LSHS girls coach David Mills. “At the end, we were up by one and they got two offensive rebounds in a row and the second one led to the winning score. We did not box out, but luckily these are things we can fix. We have the numbers, we just need to work on the fundamentals. I am proud of their effort. They pressed the whole way.”
Chyon Leslie and Kiana Johnson led Lithia with 16 points. Leslie scored nine in the fourth quarter. Johnson was 8-of-10 from the free throw line.
In the boys game, Lithia trailed 11-7 after the first quarter, 26-17 at the half, and 40-30 at the end of the third. The Lions managed to pull to within five points with four minutes to go, but had a couple of opportunities slip away.
“I was disappointed, especially after the big win over Alexander,” said LSHS boys coach JW Cantrell. “I thought we would have come out with more fire but instead we were lethargic. These are the games we have to win, especially at home.”
Qunta Bedford struggled to score in the game, managing only seven points while being double and triple teamed all night long. James Williams stepped up to lead the team in scoring for the first time with eight points.
“He was solid and might have also had 10 rebounds,” Cantrell said. “We had to keep resting both him and Qunta because they got into foul trouble early on. It was a weird game. We had only six fouls in the first half but they all seemed to go to these two players. it was hard to get into a rhythm.”
Tylen Walker and DaQuan Huff added six points each.
The Lions are now 4-5 overall and 2-4 in the region.