Miller County's Mallory Diamond, left, has been lighting opponents up all season and is one of the top scorers --- in any classification --- in the state. But Seminole County's Katrese Brown got the better of her Friday night in their rivalry matchup when Brown went off for 31 points and led her team to the win, overcoming Diamond's 36 points.
COLQUITT --- Mallory Diamond does it all for Miller County.
But even one of the state's top scorers couldn't derail the Seminole County girls basketball team on Friday night.
The Lady Seminoles overcame 36 points and 14 rebounds from Diamond to cruise to a 72-51 victory in the Region 1-A showdown and Border Wars rivalry game --- a win that Seminole coach Wes Williams said his team needed to stay in the hunt for one of the 16 Class A playoff spots.
"Every game with these power-ranking points is so important," Williams said. "You can't afford to lose. We are on the bubble right now."
Seminole entered the game 14th in the Class A power rankings, and Katrese Brown and the Lady Seminoles made sure they didn't slip below that all-important 16th spot.
Brown scored a career-high 31 points, including 11 in the fourth quarter to hold off Diamond and the Lady Pirates.
"We are playing together, playing like we are supposed to and playing like the team we were last year," Brown said. "We played good team ball (Friday) night and did what we had to do."
The Lady Indians (10-5, 7-2) also did what they had to do against Diamond, who scored 36 points --- but it took her 51 shot attempts to do so.
The junior guard, who scored a career-high 48 points against Baker County last week, was 11-for-51 from the field, 3-for-15 from 3-point range and 11-for-16 from the free throw line.
She entered the game averaging 32 points per game, a stat that is inflated with the number of shots she takes each night.
"Fifty-one shot attempts is because of the fact that we just don't have many offensive weapons right now," Miller County coach Nate George said. "We are young and aren't really ready for the speed of the game."
Diamond scored 17 of her points in the final four minutes of the game, but before that the speedy guard was just 6-for-42 from the floor with 19 of her team's 32 points.
In the first half, Diamond had eight points and her teammates missed all 10 shots they took from the field.
"We started off a little slow," Diamond said. "We came in and talked about that at halftime and told each other that we had to pick it up. And we came out and played hard in the second half."
Miller County (3-10, 3-9) actually outscored Seminole in the second half, 39-33, but it wasn't enough to overcome the slow start.
Just how bad was it for the Lady Pirates in the first half?
With 4:04 left in the first quarter, Miller's Israel Peekins took an inbounds pass under her own basket, took one dribble and hit a layup that counted as two points for Seminole County.
The own-goal was part of a 24-8 run in the first half for a Seminole County team that seems to be peaking as the regular season winds down.
"We are loaded with seniors, and they have played together for a long time," Williams said. "They just have to make up their mind that this is something that they really want. In the past couple of games they have played that way, so I was pleased with that. And this a good time to be playing like that, heading into the end of the region schedule and the region tournament."
Brown wasn't the only Lady Indian to stuff the stat book.
Alexus Watson finished with 11 points and 22 rebounds and was key to starting Seminole County's transition game.
"(Watson) is doing a really good job of making the outlet pass, which is something we work on every day," Williams said. "Twenty-two rebounds is pretty impressive."
Marissa Mike added seven points and eight rebounds, and Kerra Shirley came off the bench to score nine points and grab five rebounds for the Lady Indians, who play again Friday at home against Baker County.
Miller County's Asia Goss was part of her team's second-half surge, scoring all seven of her points after half time. She also pulled down a team-high 17 rebounds.
The Lady Pirates, who also got six points and six rebounds from Tykeria Holmes, play again today at home against Stewart County.
SEMINOLE COUNTY BOYS 69, MILLER COUNTY 54: After Miller County jumped out to a 31-25 lead Friday night against Seminole County, Indians coach Kevin Godwin finally found the "magic" touch.
Midway through the third quarter, Godwin put his defense into a full-court press, which frustrated the host Pirates and helped Seminole County pull away from its bitter rival with a 44-23 run to end the game.
"We found some magic in that full-court man defense," Godwin said. "That was the turning point in the game, and Miller County just didn't respond after that."
Seminole County improved to 13-4 overall with the win and will likely stay at No. 3 in the state's Class A power rankings, while Miller County lost its sixth in a row and fell to 3-11.
Seminole's Jordan Harris was the leading scorer in the game, leading the way with 21 points, followed by Shavon Wiggins (17 points), Jamal Martin (15) and Jakhari Martin (13).
Antrayves Benton scored 17 to lead Miller, while Marcus Hawkins and Alvin Hooker added 13 and 10, respectively.