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THURSDAY'S PREP HOOPS NOTEBOOK: Lee boys thrilled after first region win in five seasons; Westover finds positives in loss to No. 1 Tift

Kirven Davis, in his first season as Lee County head boys basketball coach, saw his team start the season poorly, but lately the Trojans have come on strong and won their first region game in five years late Tuesday against TCC.

Kirven Davis, in his first season as Lee County head boys basketball coach, saw his team start the season poorly, but lately the Trojans have come on strong and won their first region game in five years late Tuesday against TCC.

LEESBURG — No one was really thinking about history Tuesday night, but when the Lee County boys basketball team beat Thomas County Central, 58-55, it was the first time Lee had won a region game since 2007.

“Wow, I didn’t know that,’’ first-year coach Kirven Davis, who has his sights on a lot more for a program that won just four games last year, said Wednesday evening. “I don’t think the kids knew that either. They were just playing hard. That’s a good thing.’’

Lee County won the region title in 2007 but has gone winless the last five years in region games.

“It’s surprising to me (that Lee hadn’t won a region game in five years). I just looked at it (beating TCC) as a region win,’’ Davis said. “We’re trying to make a run at the state playoffs, and it starts with winning your region games.’’

Davis said he explained to his kids how berths in the state playoffs are decided.

“A lot of times kids play but they don’t know,’’ Davis said. “We sat down with them and explained to them how it works, that there are six teams in the region and the top four go to the state playoffs. It’s like it gave them new life.’’

Lee may get even more life Friday if Stephen Collier, who was averaging 10 points and 11 rebounds a game, returns. Collier took a hard fall in the region opener against Hardaway last week and sprained his ankle.

“We thought it might be broken, but it’s a sprain, and we might have him back Friday against Bainbridge,’’ Davis said. “That’s a big game.’’

Bainbridge, which is No. 3 in The Herald Fab 5 Poll, is 2-0 in Region 1-AAAAA and hasn’t lost a region game since 2008.

Lee County is now 6-9 for the season, but the Trojans, who have been led by guard Reggie Breedlove (13 points a game) have won two in a row, and a win Friday against Bainbridge would be a big lift for the program, which is suddenly on the rise.


Westover boys make statement against state No. 1 Tift County — even in a loss

ALBANY — No one likes a moral victory, but Westover’s 87-77 loss to nationally-ranked Tift County late Tuesday night at the Boston Garden might pay off later for the Patriots, who gave Tift its toughest game in Georgia this season.

“It was closer than that (10 points),’’ said Westover coach Dallis Smith, whose team was within three points in the final minute. “It was close at the end, but then they made some frees throws at the end (to make it a 10-point game).

“We lost, but I was pleased with the effort. (Tift is) big and they’re good, but I was pleased with our fight and our effort against them.’’

It took a career-tying 37-point night from Kansas-commit Brannen Greene to hold off Westover, which was led by Herald Super 6er T.J. Cromer, a former student at Tift County whose family moved to Albany last year, who scored 30.

“Westover played lights out, and T.J. Cromer, a former player of mine, played lights out,’’ Tift County coach Eric Holland said.

But Tift, which is ranked 27th in the nation in ESPN’s poll and No. 1 in Georgia in both the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Max Preps poll, found a way to win again.

Greene proved he was the real deal, and several fans from both teams came to the scorer’s table at the end of the game to find out how many points Greene finished with.

“He’s everything they say he is,’’ Smith said. “And every time they needed a big basket, they went to him and he got it for them.’’

It was the second time this year that Greene — who had six treys, five dunks and eight rebounds — scored 37 points.

“I just found the open spots on the floor and my teammates got me the ball,’’ Greene said. “(Westover) made some shots and (played well). The difference in this game (from the first one) I think was the home court. They had a big crowd, and at the end of the game the crowd was into it.

“We wore them down, and in the end we were the better team. But having a close game will help us. I don’t foresee many close games in the future, so having a close game will help us (in the playoffs).’’