AMERICUS -- The pace was far from the frenetic kind Deerfield-Windsor's girls are used to when the Lady Knights faced off against bitter rival Southland Academy on Tuesday night.
Forced into a half-court set because of the Lady Raiders' zone defense during the first half, the Lady Knights scored only 15 points before halftime. Southland, however, also struggled offensively the entire contest as the Lady Knights used a 12-0 run to walk away with a win, 35-18.
Southland, meanwhile, was held scoreless in the final quarter.
"We knew they would play zone, they are a very physical team," said Deerfield coach Ty Kinslow, whose team is 15-4 overall and leads GISA Region 3-AAA with a 4-0 record. "We had to keep looking for the best shot."
Deerfield had plenty of chances to pull away during the first half, but the shots did not go in.
Leading, 15-9, at halftime, the Lady Knights noticed Southland switch from its 2-3 set to a man-to-man defense and began to distance themselves.
"The defense has to work for the offense, and we were behind," said Southland coach Paula McDonald, whose team fell to 12-8 overall and 2-2 in the region.
Meanwhile, Kinslow encouraged his team to keep trying those shots they missed during the first half.
"They got frustrated at times, but I told them if we kept playing defense, our shots would eventually go in, and they did near the end of the game," Kinslow said.
Leading, 23-18, late in the third quarter, Deerfield began its game-ending surge with a layup by Lauren Fulford, who scored nine points. Layups by Heather Lash and Sabrina Curry helped stretch the lead to, 30-18, with 3:37 left in the game. Curry led Deerfield with 11 points.
"They spread out on defense and we kept moving the ball," Fulford said. "We could tell they were getting frustrated, we just had to stay calm and keep playing."
Seeing Deerfield pull away was not the only thing that frustrated McDonald.
"It was not a great game for us," said McDonald, whose team finished Tuesday's game with 22 turnovers. "It was bad shooting all the way around; not our best effort. We let our emotions get the best of us."
Kinslow had mixed emotions about his team's overall performance, but he is still keeping things in perspective.
"We want to be playing our best at tournament time," Kinslow said. "But we still have a ways to go."
Caitlyn Reid led Southland with eight points.