A festive game at Philips: Tift wins

ATLANTA — When Daniel Smith buried a three-point shot midway through the second period, Irwin County found themselves within five points, 16-11 against the defending Class AAAAAA state champion — Tift County.

But the Blue Devils would score 22 of the next 24 points in the contest, and Tift would defeat the Class A Indians by a score of 57-26 on Tuesday at Philips Arena in Atlanta. The game was played as a double-header with the Atlanta Hawks, who defeated the Los Angeles Clippers in the nightcap.
Each team played every player available, 18 for Tift County and 14 for Irwin County. The Blue Devils played at Philips Arena last year and won against eventual Class A (Public) champion Wilkinson County. Several Irwin players played in the Class A (Public) football championship 12 days prior in the Georgia Dome.
Tyrie Jackson lays it in as he was fouled by Irwin defenders. Photo:Shine Rankin/SGSN

Tyrie Jackson lays it in as he was fouled by Irwin defenders. Jackson finished with 11 points, playing less than a full half . Photo:Shine Rankin/SGSN

The Blue Devils started hot in the first quarter, leading 13-0 behind the hot shooting of Tyrie Jackson and the dunks of Preston Horne. Irwin finally got on the scoreboard with just over three minutes remaining in the half on a DJ Taylor hoop. The Blue Devils would lead 16-4 at the end of the first quarter.

The Indians and Blue Devils would go shot-for-shot in the second quarter, as both teams scored nine points. Quay Green would hit a three pointer for Tift, while Taylor added two hoops along with Smith’s bucket to pull the Indians to within five.
But Tift took a twelve point lead at halftime, and extended to 25 after holding the Indians scoreless in the third quarter. While the defense was stingy, the offense was led by Fred Lloyd’s big put back dunk and also Jackson. Jackson had a three pointer and would play sparingly from there on, as the junior finished with 11 points. Tift would get six points in the fourth from Horne. The sophomore forward finished with 14 points to lead all scorers.
Tift, now 11-0 will return home for the fifth annual McDonalds Invitational Friday and Saturday, while Irwin (2-3) returns to the court against Atkinson County on January 5.
TC 16  9  13  19  –  57
IC    4  9    0   13  –  26
Tift – PJ Horne 14, T. Jackson 11, Q. Green 7, White 5, M. Johnson 4, Lloyd 4, Holley 4, Terell 3, J. Lewis 2, Hester 2, A. Williams 1.
Irwin – DJ Taylor 8, K. Williams 7, Pitts 4, Young 4, D. Smith 3.
Fouls – Tift 13. Irwin 12. Free Throws – Tift 3-11 (27.3%). Irwin 2-8 (25%).
Starters: Tift – Jackson, Johnson, Horne, Lewis, Mullinax. Irwin – Taylor, Williams, Pitts, Smith, Young.
Records: Tift 11-0, 1-0 Region 1-AAAAAA, Irwin 2-3, 1-1 Region 2-A

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