Tift Girls make comeback, beat Coffee by 2

Douglas – Coach Julie Conner knew playing in Douglas against an always scrappy squad of Lady Trojans would be difficult, but she had to be proud of how her Lady Devils responded in the closing moments of the contest. Tift would hit a basket with a Vanity Golson lay-up in the final two minutes, and play strong defense to keep the win, 39-37.

Audrey McElhaney is fouled during the 3rd Period. McElhaney finished with 12 points, scoring 8 points in the third. Photo: Shine Rankin Jr./SGSN

Audrey McElhaney is fouled during the 3rd Period. McElhaney finished with 12 points, scoring 8 points in the frame. Photo: Shine Rankin Jr./SGSN

The Lady Devils entered the contest at 7-2 (1-0 in Region play). The Lady Trojans are a familiar foe for Devils fans, and while this wasn’t a region game since Coffee has reclassified to AAAAA, the contest was a war. The Lady Trojans entered with a similar record at 7-1 (3-1 in region play). Coached by Thomas McAboy,  Coffee started strong.

Even through one period, Tift and Coffee each netted 12 to start the 2nd all tied up. But Coffee would get a 14-9 performance in the frame and enter the half up 26-21. 5 of the 14 came from the charity stripe for the Lady Trojans, shooting 5 for 7 as a team from the stripe.  Tania Fletcher, a 5’6″ guard for Coffee, struck for 7 points from the field.

After the break, there was a marked difference in the Tift attack, as Conner trotted out a half and full court press in various plays.  Tift would outscore Coffee 12-9 to trail the Lady Trojans by two as the final frame started.

In the final frame, teams that produced a double-digit average all game went silent, as unforced turnovers and steals paired with poor quality shot selection doomed the offenses. Tift found just 6 points in the period while Coffee netted a single basket in the final 8:00 minutes.  None would be bigger than the final basket, Golson’s layup to seal the win. Audrey McElhaney, Tift’s 5’9″ guard/forward, seemed to drive the ball down court for much of the frame but whistles from the official’s crew were few and far between.  Two free throws were attempted in the second half, as officials seemed content to let the girls play.

Fletcher would lead all scorers in the contest, netting 15 in the losing effort. No other Coffee player had more than 5. For Tift, power forward/center Moneisha Goldsborough quietly led her squad with 13, including 4 points in the final frame. McElhaney added 12, while Golson and Dail Adaway each found the hoop for 6 points.

Tift improves to 8-2, and will travel to Jones County for a tourney contest against Central High from Macon. Game time in Gray is 3:30PM. Coffee falls to 7-2 and will be off until after Christmas, competing in the Ronalda Pierce Hoopfest on the 26th in Ashburn. Game time at the Turner Civic Center is set for 3:30PM.

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