Georgia Christian edges Tiftarea in two tight games

Jan. 19—CHULA — Georgia Christian took two varsity basketball wins with them back to Dasher Thursday evening, edging Tiftarea Academy.

Both margins were very slim. Sixty-four minutes of basketball saw the teams separated by only five points. The Lady Generals had the wider margin, 46-42. GCS won the boys game 65-63, running out the clock after Tiftarea hit a shot with four seconds remaining.


Benji Galindo was the Generals' key to success all night long. Galindo finished with 31 points and was there every time Georgia Christian needed anything.

Galindo was a scoring machine, he worked the boards, he brought the ball up and his hustle caused turnovers and headaches for anyone who dared assume a play was over. He was there at the end, too, when the visitors needed him most.

The Generals were ahead 30-19 at halftime and 42-32 in the last minute of the 3rd quarter before an incredible scoring spree by Tiftarea.

Ben Smith and Elijah Smith both knocked down triples in the last 30 seconds of the frame, knocking the 10-point lead down to 42-38.

Galindo opened the 4th with a 3-pointer but the Panthers were only getting started. The Smith brothers again made a three each, then Ben tied it up at 45-all on a free throw at 6:16.

The squads traded baskets, then Galindo led a 7-0 Generals run to regain control.

Thomas Coogle worked the post for three Panthers buckets, but free throws meant they were down eight points.

With 55 seconds remaining Dallas Henderson's 3-pointer closed the gap to 61-58. The Panthers potentially had a chance to tie following J.R. Walker's block, but a shot from behind the arc refused to fall.

Galindo gathered in the rebound and Tristan Butler made two free shots with 18 seconds on the clock. Tiftarea again worked it down to three — 63-60 — courtesy of Andrew Connell at the stripe.

The Panthers pressured the inbounds, but Generals instead threw deep to Galindo, who made a layup. Tiftarea rushed down the floor and Connell connected with 4 seconds left to cut it to 65-63, but the inbounds went deep again to Galindo and he ran out the clock.

Tiftarea only briefly led Thursday, a Ben Smith three a minute into the game.

GCS was up a point, 10-9, after one quarter, but soon stretched it to 11 points at 4:30 in the 2nd. Walker scored five for a six-point deficit, but Galindo soon pushed it over 10.

Walker and Connell had points in a 3rd quarter run to get the Panthers to 36-32, but had fallen behind 10 before they began surging again.

Ben Smith led the way with 17 points for the Panthers, followed by Walker at 13 and Connell with 12.


The biggest sequence of the contest came at 5:46 in the 4th.

Tiftarea was nursing a 34-31 lead when Kendall Corbett was fouled on a shot. A Lady Panther objec sted to the call, resulting in a technical foul.

Corbett made all four free throws, then made a basket on the ensuing possession. Tiftarea's lead was now a 37-34 deficit and GCS had no intention of letting it fade.

Tiftarea almost caught back up, however.

Maddie Mira stretched the Lady Generals' lead to 40-35 with 4:06 to go.

Amelia Mercer made a 3-pointer, then after two Corbett free throws, Hannah Grace Murphy sank a shot to cut the advantage to 42-40.

Tiftarea then came up with a steal but was unable to score on the possession.

Corbett stretched the lead to four on free throws, then came up with a steal off the inbounds pass.

Elaine Mercer had a put-back as time expired.

The contest was close throughout.

Both teams scored 8 in the first stanza, Georgia Christian going ahead 24-20 at the break.

The Lady Panthers came out of intermission hot, Isabel Fernandez and Murphy working to a 24-24 tie in the first 90 seconds.

GCS went ahead four again on Mira baskets. Tiftarea then responded with a 7-0 run over the last three minutes of the quarter to be up 32-28 at its end. During that span, Murphy, Lexi Connell, Fernandez and Amelia Mercer scored, the latter on a 3-pointer.

Corbett fired in 26 points for Georgia Christian, with Mira at 10.

Amelia Mercer netted 12 points for the Lady Panthers. Murphy and Connell each contributed 8 apiece.