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Lee girls, boys lose 1-AAAA openers to TCC

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

LEESBURG -- Lee County head coach Fran McPherson could've written the story on her team's 63-40 Region 1A-AAAA opening loss to Thomas County Central Friday at home.

All she needed to see was one number and she already knew the outcome.

"Thirty-one turnovers," McPherson lamented. "That was the story. I'm sure they scored on half of those at least."

Long-time Lady Yellow Jackets head coach Jenny Johnson's patented press defense forced mistake after mistake. It didn't hurt that TCC shot lights out in the first half, hitting five 3s to lead by as many as 17 in the opening 16 minutes.

Asked if her team shoots like it did Friday on a regular basis, Lady Yellow Jackets junior Jasmine Battle smiled and said, "No, not quite."

Battle scored a game-high 21 points, including three of those 3s in the first half.

That helped TCC (7-7, 1-0 Region 1A-AAAA) make its early lead stick and get off on the right foot in the region opener for both teams.

"This region is so competitive," McPherson said. "You've got to lock up the wins at home."

Despite a disastrous first half, Lee County (16-4, 0-1 Region 1A-AAAA) began to ward off the TCC press and cut the lead to 38-30 with 1:01 to play in the third quarter.

Lady Trojans' senior center Lindsey Crawford scored six points during a 10-0 run and finished with 15 points, eight rebounds and three blocks, but didn't get near her usual number of looks.

Then after the Lady Trojans cut the lead to single digits, TCC outscored Lee County, 23-10, in the fourth quarter.

The Lady Trojans visit Thomasville on Feb. 2 for a rematch.

DaQueena Moore finished with eights points for Lee. K'Yanna McCraw had 11 for the Lady Yellow Jackets.

Lee County hosts Dooly County today at 6 p.m. in a rescheduled game.

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TCC BOYS 67, LEE COUNTY 65:

The Trojans led by four with 3:30 to play, but couldn't hang on to pull out what would have been a huge win to open region play.

Trailing, 66-64, Trojans star Sanford Seay drove the length of the court and was fouled with one second to play, but missed the first foul shot and then accidentally made the second instead of missing to give Lee a shot at tying the game.

"Seay, all season, he's been our best free throw shooter," Trojans' head coach Tim McPherson said. "He was 12-for-12 a few weeks ago in a game."

Jakoby Mallory exploded for 23 points, including a soft jump shot with 3:30 to play to put Lee County (2-11, 0-1 Region 1A-AAAA) ahead 62-58. TCC (4-10, 1-0 Region 1A-AAAA) went on a 7-0 run over the next two minutes, including a close-range lay-in by junior big man Ray Drew to build a 65-62 lead with 39 seconds to play.

Drew, TCC's monster defensive end who boasts football scholarship offers from Georgia, Georgia Tech, Florida and Florida State, scored 21 points, pulled down seven boards and had two blocks.

"I thought we outplayed them," McPherson said. "People underestimate us and overlook us because of the record. I wanted the win, but we proved to ourselves that we can play with the people in our region. I think we have a shot."

Seay finished with 15 points, while Donte Smith had 16 for the Trojans. James Thurman had 12 and Chris Calhoun chipped in 10 for TCC.