Deerfield boys, girls silence rival Southland

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

ALBANY -- There's nothing like a little Facebook vitriol to spice up a rivalry.

Of course, a 53-point win helps to quiet the trash talking -- at least for a day or so.

Deerfield-Windsor, which went back-and-forth with Southland Academy on the online social networking site, completed an unbeaten region slate Friday with an 84-31 demolition of the rival Raiders.

As the game got out of hand early, the two respective student sections entertained each other with cross-court chants. The Knights (22-1, 8-0 GISA Region 3-AAA) flew out to a 21-2 lead and led, 41-17, at the half.

DWS limited Southland's leading scorer, Jose Hernandez, to just three points after he scored 21 on the Knights in the first meeting in Americus. Knights senior guard Shaun Jones had a special request leading up the rivalry to make sure that didn't happen again.

"Shaun Jones asked if he could guard (Hernandez)," Deerfield coach Gordy Gruhl said. "We gave (Jose) way too many good looks when we played them the first time."

Jones scored 12, one of four Knights in double figures, and had four steals, sending a message for the Knights that was bigger than any Facebook posting.

"It was just a lot of trash talk on Facebook, text messages, everywhere," Jones said. "(Thursday) night, the kid (Hernandez) sent me a friend request and I accepted. He wrote on my (Facebook page), 'Good luck. You're going to need it.' It definitely was personal."

Southland (8-16, 2-6 GISA Region 3-AAA) had no answer for Knights senior big man Reggie Brown, who finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Senior sharp shooter Michael Matthews hit four threes and led all scorers with 23 points.

The Raiders were led by Andres Chaparo's 10 points -- the only Southland player to reach double figures.

Deerfield heads to next week's region tournament at Georgia Southwestern as the No. 1 seed, looking to capture its sixth region title in a row.

"That never gets old," Gruhl said. "We've had a good regular season and now tournament play starts. We gotta take it up another gear."

The Knights will play Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. against the Brookwood-Calvary Christian winner, which will meet Monday.

Southland, the region's No. 3 seed entering the tournament, will face Westfield at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Jones, Matthews and Jordan Alexander, the three seniors who have been around for three of the previous five region titles, have posted a 99-8 overall record and been to three GISA Class AAA Final Fours, although they tasted defeat in the title game the last two years.



The Lady Knights clinched the top seed in the region with a defensive-minded first half, holding Southland to just nine points in the first two quarters. Deerfield led 22-9 at the half.

"I felt like we came out and set the tone in the first half," said head coach Ty Kinslow, whose team will try to make another run at the GISA Class AAA Final Four.

This time around, Deerfield will have to handle being the favorites in the region tournament after fighting through the playoff field as the lowly No. 4 seed a year ago.

"Last year we went in as the fourth seed and came out winning region as the No. 1 seed," Kinslow said.

DWS (19-6, 7-1 Region 3-AAA) got a game-high 17 points from Sarah Shellhaas, while Sabrina Curry had eight points and eight steals.

Southland (14-12, 4-4), which was led by Tobi West's eight points, will enter region tournament play as the No. 3 seed, facing No. 2 seed Westfield Tuesday at 4 p.m. at Georgia Southwestern.

Deerfield will play at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Americus against the winner of the play-in game Monday between Brookwood and Calvary Christian.

The region championship game will be Friday, with the girls title game at 7 p.m. and the boys at 8:30 p.m.