AUGUSTA — Albany State men’s basketball coach Chris Cameron saw the fire return in his players Saturday.
Now he is just waiting on the wins to come back, too.
Conference rival Paine defeated the Rams, 71-62, to hand ASU its fourth loss in a row, but Cameron said his team played much better than their previous losses to Benedict and Fort Valley.
“In those losses to Benedict and Fort Valley we saw everybody not locked in and not playing together as a unit,” Cameron said. “(Saturday) it was good to see them respond and get back to how we know we can play.”
It was a loss, but Cameron said he was taking several positives back to Albany as the Rams try to regain the formula that led them to three straight wins at the end of January.
“We are playing better,” Cameron said. “We had some breakdowns on defense that we need to work on, but overall we played pretty good.”
ASU and Paine went into halftime tied 30-30, and the Rams led with 12 minutes remaining, but the Lions regained the lead and pulled away in the final minutes.
Jaren Harris led the Rams with 15 points and five assists, while Justin Udi added 12 points and five rebounds, Curtis Fluker finished with 11 points and 13 rebounds and Justin Wilcox had 11 points.
The Rams fell to 5-15 overall and 4-10 in the conference and stayed in sixth place in the East Division.
PAINE WOMEN 89, ALBANY STATE 84 (OT): Saturday’s conference loss wasn’t your ordinary setback for the Lady Rams.
It was a back breaker.
After leading by 18 points in the first half, Albany State watched Paine come back and steal the crucial game, dropping the Lady Rams further down the East Division standings.
“This digs a huge hole for us. We needed this win more than any other to keep pace with Paine,” said ASU coach Robert Skinner, whose Lady Rams fell to 6-7 in the conference and into second-to-last place. “This win would have put us both at 7-6. It’s going to be a real tough fight out of the bottom half of the East.”
The Lady Rams came out on fire Saturday, jumping out to a 27-9 lead.
“We didn’t miss but one of our first seven or eight shots,” Skinner said. “And most were from 3-point range.”
Seven different Lady Rams hit from long range, including former Bainbridge star April Thomas, who led ASU with 37 points and was 8-for-18 from behind the arc.
Former Mitchell County star Kedeemya Cooper and Kourtney Alexander each added 12 points for the Lady Rams, who are now looking at a fifth seed in the upcoming conference tournament — which makes a trip to the championship game a challenging one.
“If you go in as a fourth or fifth seed, you have to play the early gaem Monday and then play one of the top seeds on the other side,” Skinner said. “It makes it really difficult.”
ASU (9-13) has just three games left, and they are all on the road, starting Thursday at Claflin in Orangeburg, S.C.
Lettingham leads Lady Titans to 81-69 win; Albany Tech men fall
ALBANY — Lashay Lettingham scored 13 of her game-high 22 points in the second half to lead the Albany Tech women to an 81-69 win against Middle Georgia on Saturday.
The Lady Titans have now won three of their last four and have put some distance between themselves and the ninth-place team in Region XVII.
Albany Tech (13-12, 6-9) is eighth in the region and now has a three-game lead over No. 9 East Georgia with just two weeks remaining before the region tournament.
“We are really starting to jell,” Albany Tech coach Kenneth Williams said. “The team chemistry is really good right now, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. It’s possible that if we play well (in the final two weeks) that we can get up to the seventh or sixth spot (in the region).”
Ashley Towns (18 points), Toni Grier (13) and Kierrica Spencer (11) also scored in double figures for the Lady Titans, who went into halftime tied but outscored Middle Georgia 46-34 in the second half.
MIDDLE GEORGIA MEN 51, ALBANY TECH 45: The Titans shot just 24 percent from the field and didn’t have a player score more than eight points in Saturday’s loss, which was Albany Tech’s fourth in their last five games.
Antwon Tuff and former Dougherty star Arabian Williams each scored eight points, while Lafonzo Smith added seven points and nine rebounds.
The Titans (8-17, 4-11 in Region XVII) are in 10th place in the region standings and two games outside of the No. 8 spot needed to make the tournament. Their next three games are against the Top 3 teams in the conference — Tuesday at No. 3 Gordon, Thursday vs. No. 1 East Georgia and Saturday vs. No. 2 Chattahoochee Tech.
GEORGIA COLLEGE WOMEN 72, GSW 65: Shaniece Sheffield scored 16 points to lead the Lady Hurricanes, but it wasn’t enough to stop an 11-game losing streak at Georgia Southwestern.
The Lady Hurricanes haven’t won since Jan. 5 and are now 3-19 overall and 1-14 in the Peach Belt Conference.
GSW outscored Georgia College, 37-30, in the second half and closed to within four points in the closing minutes.
Stormey Smith added 10 points on 5-of-11 from the field, while Jasmine McSwain finished with eight points and six rebounds for the Lady Hurricanes, who turned the ball over 19 times and shot 41.5 percent from the floor.
Enisha Donley scored 18 to lead Georgia College, which is in second place in the West Division.
The Lady Hurricanes, who play again Wednesday at at Montevallo, are in last place by five games.
Darton, Albany State baseball teams swept
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — No. 17 Nova Southeastern (Fla.) University completed its three-game sweep of Albany State with two wins Saturday.
The host Sharks beat the Rams 16-7 in the opener and cruised to a 10-1 victory in the nightcap, dropping Albany State’s record to 0-3.
Former Westover star Jacob Campbell had two of ASU’s three hits in the second game and had the Rams’ lone RBI in the fourth inning.
Clifford Peterson lost Game No. 2, while freshman Trevor Billings was the losing pitcher in the opener.
Westover grad Kerry Hall was the lone Ram with two hits in the first game, while ASU football star Dexter Moody hit a 3-run homer during a seven-run seventh inning.
ASU plays again Tuesday at Edward Waters College.
NORTHWEST FLORIDA STATE 6, 5, DARTON 0, 2: The Cavs finally ran out of comebacks.
After winning back-to-back thrillers with late-inning rallies, Darton lost a pair to Northwest Florida State and fell to 6-4 overall.
Darton ace A.J. Sunstrom lost for just the second time in two seasons, giving up six runs and seven hits in his six innings of work.
The Cavs had just three hits in the opener and Brandon Sharpe had two of them.
In the second game, Darton jumped ahead 1-0 in the first inning on a sacrifice-fly from Cody Wofford, and then took a 2-1 lead in the third on a Nate Ferrell RBI single.
However, Northwest Florida scored three in the fifth inning, and the Cavs never recovered.
John Harmon got the loss, throwing 4 1/3 innings and allowing four runs and eight hits.
Ferrell and Wofford both went 2-for-4 at the plate.
The Cavs play again Monday at Wallace-Dothan.