Tift Backcourt dominates, Devils crush Lions 78-48

TIFTON — Any hopes of a Westlake upset win over Tift County in the 5th annual McDonald’s Tifton Invitational were quickly erased when Tyrie Jackson and Micah Johnson stepped on the floor. The duo combined to outscore the Lions in the first half, as the Blue Devils romped over Westlake, 78-48.

Tyrie Jackson dunks during the first quarter. Tift created turnovers in trap situations against the Lions backcourt for much of the first half. Photo: Shine Rankin Jr. /SGSN

Tyrie Jackson dunks during the first quarter. Tift created turnovers in trap situations against the Lions backcourt for much of the first half. Photo: Shine Rankin Jr. /SGSN

Tift (13-0, no. 4 AAAAAA) ran out to a 14-6 lead at the end of the first period after two 3’s by Jackson and a pair of buckets by Johnson. The Devils played stingy “D” all night on the perimeter and inside on 6’9″ big man Michael Durr from Westlake.

Durr would finish with only eight points, as PJ Horne excelled against the big man on the defensive end. Horne would also pick up 13 points on  the offensive end of the floor. Horne, Jackson and Johnson were each named to the All-McDonald’s Tournament Team for the efforts.
Tift would get balanced scoring in the second quarter with baskets by not only the three stars for Tift, but also by Hayden Mullinax, Iman Holley and a pair of free throws by Fred Lloyd. The lead was 17 at the half and it would balloon to 25 after three quarters, 50-25. Durr’s inside presence was missed when he went to the bench with his fourth foul with just over 90 seconds to play in the first half. He would spend the majority of the third period on the bench. Jackson scored eight points in the quarter, while Holley would add five.
The Devils put in the backups for a majority of the final period, but when Westlake kept their starters in, Tift responded by putting the starters back in for a couple of possessions.
Tift would get contributions up and down the bench as the reserves finished strong, closing on a 7-0 run to end the game against the Lions’ starters. Jackson finished with a game-high 21 points, while Horne added 13, Johnson 12 and Holley would have 10.
The Devils will return to action Friday night for a home game against Westover.

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