Tift Dominates NFEI in NightCap

Tifton-  The Tift County Blue Devils finally came onto their home floor, hosting the North Florida Educational Institute High School in the closing game of the Classic Series of pool play in the 5th Annual McDonald’s Tifton Invitational. Tift entered the contest perfect in the season at 10-0 (1-0), having defeated Irwin County in Atlanta on Tuesday night.  North Florida, a magnet/charter school from Jacksonville, has struggled this season, entering at 2-6 on the year.

Micah Johnson scores in the second half. Photo: Shine Rankin Jr./SGSN

Micah Johnson scores in the second half. Photo: Shine Rankin Jr./SGSN

North Florida’s season wouldn’t get any easier, as Tift cruised in the first frame, 16-4.  Preston Horne would do work in the paint against a team with height and matchup issues. Eric Holland game planned using his Junior post in a triangle and 2 offense. Getting touches early, Horne slammed the ball home 3 times in the first frame. NFEI would never recover, and Holland’s Blue Devils mixed reserves and starters for the remainder of the half.

While much of the Tift bench was empty for missing practice, several young players got game experience. At the break, NFEI had scored just two more points against the reigning AAAAAA State Champions to trail 30-6. Tift would cruise for the second half as Iman Holley and Fred Lloyd spent quality minutes slashing their way to the hoop.

Tift reserves allowed NFEI to score 23, but they never came close to Tift’s lead as the Devils won 64-23. Horne;s 15 points would lead all scorers. Tift’s leading scorer Tyrie Jackson was strangely quiet, hitting two first period three-pointers and finishing with 8 points on the evening. Holley finished with 9 points, and sophomore guard Micah Johnson would add 8 points in the win.

Tift faces Westlake tonight at 7:30PM in the Championship series bracket. Westlake dispatched Valdosta last night 70-46. Valdosta had no answer for the height in the front court of the Lions. Westlake is 4-4 on the season, and 3-3 in region play.

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