Deerfield-Windsor basketball fans, are you ready to travel? The Lady Knights will be home Tuesday night in the first round of the state GISA basketball tournament against Bethlehem Christian, but after that it is off to Macon and then, if the Lady Knight earn a spot in the final four, it will be back to Americus. The Knights will be traveling to Loganville for a battle against Loganville Christian in the boy’s first round Wednesday night.
“It’s one game at a time,” said Deerfield-Windsor head coach Gina Mitchell. “There is not an easy game on the schedule from here on out. Everybody is good.”
The Lady Knights beat Brookwood 41-29 Friday night in Americus at Georgia Southwestern. The win gives the Lady Knights the Region 3-AAA championship for the first time since 2014.
“This was one of the goals we set before practice began,” Mitchell said. “I’m really proud of these girls and how well they have worked and played so hard this season.”
The Lady Knight defense was on fire to start the game Friday night, holding a talented Brookwood team to only seven first half points. The Lady Knights were up 25-7 at the half, and though the Lady Warriors outscored the Lady Knights, it wasn’t enough to seriously threaten Deerfield-Windsor.
“I feel like we did exactly what we wanted to do with our game plan in the first half,” Mitchell said. “In the second half we got in some foul trouble so we couldn’t press as hard, but these girls really worked.”
Lila Lanier led the scoring for the Lady Knights with 15 and Jamia Lofton followed with 12. Emilee Foy added 12.
The Lady Knights will host Bethlehem Christian Academy (10-14) of Bethlehem, Ga. Tuesday night at 7:30 at Deerfield-Windsor’s W.T. Henry gymnasium. The action Tuesday night begins at 6 p.m. with Cristo Rey of Atlanta taking on Trinity Christian in the first game. Local fans should be interested in this game because if Deerfield-Windsor defeats Bethlehem Christian, they will take on the winner of the first game Friday night in Macon.
They struggled, but eventually the Lady Knights of Deerfield-Windsor (23-3) wore down the determined Lady Panthers of Tiftarea (11-13) and took a 60-52 win to advance to the region championship game Friday night against Brookwood. The Knights on the other hand, never got on track and fell to Southland in the boy’s semi-finals 55-36.
The Lady Panthers jumped out to a 13-5 lead in the first quarter when Deerfield-Windsor simply could not put the ball into the basket. The Lady Knights were having success with the full-court press and had several layups after stealing the ball, but could not get the ball to drop in. The Lady Knights went at least four and half minutes without a basket and head coach Gina Mitchell called timeout to give her team a chance to regroup.
Lila Lanier finally ended the drought with a steal and layup for two points and Jamia Lofton followed by drilling a three-pointer to close the gap to 13-10 at the end of the first period. Caroline Speir got the Lady Knights their first lead of the game at 23-22 on a basket where she picked off a rebound from a missed shot and put it in for two. The two teams battled to a 26-26 halftime lead, but the Lady Panthers jumped on the board first in the third quarter with a two-point layup and then a 3-pointer to go ahead 31-26. The Lady Knights responded by outscoring the Lady Panthers 13-2 over the next few minutes. Lofton drilled another three with just over two minutes remaining in the third to put Deerfield-Windsor ahead 39-33.
Trailing 43-38 as the fourth quarter started, the Lady Panthers again opened the quarter with points. Tiftarea closed to within one point, 43-42, after two quick baskets, but again the Lady Knight defense turned on the jets and scored the next 10 points to lead 53-42 when Gabrielle Harris pulled down a rebound and put the ball back into the hoop for two.
Deerfield-Windsor slowed things down and used some ball control to get the time to tick away, but had trouble putting the ball in the basket, but they held off the Lady Panthers to take win and move into the region championship game.
Lanier led the Lady Knights with 25 points, Emilee Foy scored 11 and Lofton added 10.
In the boy’s game Thursday, the Knights never could get anything consistent going offensively. The 3-point shots wouldn’t fall and just about every time the Knights tried to throw the ball inside, Southland’s defense was there to bat the ball away.
The Knights only trailed 23-18 at the half, but the Raiders got threes from Nathan Duke and Owen Exley in the third quarter as Southland began to pull away. The third quarter was the big difference as Deerfield-Windsor managed only five third quarter points while Southland scored 15.
Senior Zai Drye was the only Knight in double figures with 11 points.