Lithia Springs opened the 2014-15 basketball season for Douglas County schools on Tuesday with a sweep at South Cobb High School. The Lady Lions opened the evening with a defensive battle, beating the Lady Eagles, 43-31. The Lithia boys battled in a back and forth game, eventually gaining a little breathing room late in the fourth quarter for a 67-65 victory.
Both teams struggled to score in the girls contest, with Lithia taking a 5-3 lead after the first quarter. The offense picked up in the second quarter with the Lady Lions taking an 18-10 advantage. South Cobb came back in the third quarter, cutting the deficit to 27-23. Lithia had its best offensive performance in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Lady Eagles, 16-8.
“This was a good preparation for region play,” said LSHS girls coach David Mills. “We ran into a hungry team that wanted a win. They out-hustled us, but we settled down late and managed to pull away from them at the end.
Lithia did not have a good shooting night, hitting only 20 percent of their shots. They were 16-of-29 from the free thrown line. In the fourth quarter, T’era Fullove managed to put in a few put-backs and Kiana Johnson made some key plays off the bench to keep the Lady Lions in the game.
Fullove finished the game with a double-double. She had 12 points and 11 rebounds. Johnson had eight points and 14 rebounds.
“I did not realize T’era had 12 and 11. She is not flashy, but she gets the job done,” Mills said. “Kiana was a monster on the boards from the guard position. When we were not hitting any shots, she was getting all the rebounds and getting us extra possessions.”
Saundra Manyitabot added 10 points. Chyon Leslie scored five points and picked up 12 rebounds.
In the boys game, Lithia trailed after the first quarter, 20-19, but led at the half, 36-29. The game was tied up at 46 after three quarters of play.
In the fourth quarter, the Lions managed to build a lead in the final minutes. Daquan Huff hit a three pointer with three minutes to go to put Lithia up for good. The Lions held a five point lead at the end of the game before South Cobb hit a three at the buzzer.
“We had some first game jitters,” said LSHS boys coach JW Cantrell. “The game was away and we had to play a lot of kids because of foul trouble. But we won and you can’t be 25-0 without being 1-0.”
Qunta Bedford led Lithia with 25 points, while adding seven rebounds.
“He came out and we got the ball to him early,” Cantrell said. “He had nine points in the first quarter and then they started double teaming him and playing zone. That is what people are going to do and we have to get use to it. Qunta is tough and can do it all.”
Tylen Walker scored 15 points and added four rebounds. Kris Fernandez entered the game for an injured Kamari Williams, who dislocated his shoulder, but could return as early as Saturday. Fernandez picked up five rebounds in a relatively short amount of time.
The Lions and Lady Lions will be back in action on Saturday when they host Whitewater at 2:30 and 4 p.m.