SYLVESTER -- This one stung a little for Worth County.
After starting the season 4-1, the Rams lost their third game in the last four Tuesday, 58-54, to smaller Class AA Berrien High, a team they had beaten earlier in the year.
The frustration was evident on the faces of the players afterward.
"Everybody hates losing," said Worth County senior point guard Dee Nether, who finished with a team-high 19 points.
But this kind of loss, after cutting a 13-point deficit in the fourth quarter down to just one in less than three minutes, just didn't sit well.
"Coach (Arthur Davis) was very disappointed in us," said sophomore Timothy Gaint, who kept the Rams alive in the first half with 11 points. "He knows that we're a great team."
Berrien High took a 52-39 lead on Marquis Johnson's two free throws with 3:17 left to play and it appeared all but over with the Rebels' rebounding dominance. Berrien (1-5) had second- and third-chance looks all night, behind the strength of Treshard Williams' 22 rebounds, just two shy of Worth's team total of 24 on the night.
But Nether came alive, scoring 18 of his 19 points in the second half to bring Worth (5-4) roaring back. Nether, who couldn't buy a basket in the first half, scored nine straight at one point, cutting the Berrien lead to 52-48 with 1:31 left.
"Just not taking good shots (in the first half)," Nether said. "I had to do what I had to do (in the second half). We just have to come out and work a little harder, get out of this losing streak."
Gaint buried one of his three treys with 50 seconds to play, cutting the Rebels lead to two and Nether later hit his third three of the second half to pull the Rams within one, 55-54, with 15 seconds left.
Worth, however, couldn't come up with another big shot and fell in their final game before a nearly two-week layoff over the holidays.
Worth trailed the entire game after the midway point of the first quarter, but was behind just 30-25 at the half despite a miserable night on the glass. Gaint finished with 14 points.
"We didn't come out in the first half," the sophomore said. "We came out slacking. We should have played harder than we did."
Berrien's Williams scored a game-high 23 points to go along with his 22 boards, 15 of which came in the second half. Tavarius Joiner scored 14 and had eight rebounds.
Worth's boys will take part in a holiday tournament in Millen beginning Dec. 28 against Thomson, which knocked the Rams out of the Class AAA football playoffs.
BERRIEN GIRLS 63, WORTH COUNTY 33:
Worth County's girls have grown accustomed to slow starts and Tuesday was no different.
The Lady Rams (0-9) hit just four shots from the field in the first half and trailed Berrien, 34-13 at halftime.
"They have to realize they can't start sluggish like that," Worth head coach Shalisha Zinnamon said.
Worth routinely went on three and four-minute scoring droughts in the first half and after scoring the first five points in the third quarter, a 3:30 scoreless rut killed their chances. With three freshmen starting, it's going to take time for Zinnamon to build.
"They're still trying to get comfortable on the varsity," she said. "I'm really looking forward to the future when they start getting it together."
Worth was led by junior Shanna Tucker's 12 points. Freshman Sierra Ausby scored seven in the loss. Berrien (1-5) got a game-high 20 points from Lindsey Young and 15 points and 12 rebounds from Chante Payne.
The Lady Rams now get almost three weeks off before returning to the floor Jan. 4 against Region 1-AAA foe Monroe.