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Lady Packer basketball goes undefeated in tournament

Jan. 2—MOULTRIE — Continuing to dominate the court, the varsity Lady Packer basketball team now sit at 10-1 in their overall record thus far in the 2023-24 season after they defeated all three opponents in the Vereen Christmas Shootout held December 28-30 at Colquitt County High School.

In their first match against Fitzgerald, the Lady Packers won 47-28, then they beat Ware County 51-49, and finally won 39-33 against Thomas County Central.

The Packers weren't as successful during their matches, falling in all three. Against Pike Road the final score was 39-38, followed by a score of 60-55 against Handley and finally, against Early County with a score of 54-47.

When playing against Fitzgerald, the Lady Packers ended the first quarter down by one point, and went into halftime with the score tied at 17.

It was during the third quarter where the Lady Packers gained the lead, shutting down all of Ware County's basket attempts for the first five minutes of the quarter.

The Lady Packers maintained the lead for the remainder of the game.

Three Lady Packer athletes were successful with 3-point shots: Amira Walters-Smith with three, Jamya Moore with two and Amareyia Knighton with one.

Knighton scored the most points against Fitzgerald with 22, followed by Walters-Smith with 14.

Also scoring baskets were D'Zeriyah Polite, Moore and Caylnn Singletary.

Several times during the match against Fitzgerald, the Lady Packers stole the ball and utilized a long pass downcourt to player already running toward the basket in anticipation.

With the steals were Moore, Aubrey Edge, Walters-Smith and Knighton. Ready to receive the pass and have an easy lay-up shot were: Knighton, Walters-Smith and Singletary.

On day two, when the Lady Packers faced Ware County, it was a battle until the very end.

The Lady Packers trailed behind in every quarter, and began the final eight minutes loosing by a single point.

With 2 minutes 34 seconds left, Knighton had two successful free throws to tie the score at 46; however, Ware County managed to gain the lead again with three more points.

With 1:55 remaining, Walters-Smith passed an almost full court pass to Nyleigha Knighton for an easy lay-up.

Back to a single point margin, Ware County received a traveling call on their last possession, giving the ball back to the Lady Packers with 1 minute remaining.

Walters-Smith went up as if she were shooting, but after the defenders committed to their block she passed the ball to Nyleigha for the basket.

The game was had a margin of one point, the now it was in the favor of the Lady Packers.

Moore would score the final point via free throw for the Lady Packers with 0:90 remaining in the game.

During the match against Ware County, the highest scoring Lady Packer was Moore at 16. She was also the only Lady Packers to make a 3-point basket this game, with four of them.

The other Lady Packers who added points to the scoreboard were: Taayona Singletary, Amareyia Knighton, Caylnn Singletary, Polite, Walters-Smith and Nyleigha Knighton.

Keeping their pattern, the Lady Packers also had to battle for the lead in their final game against Thomas Central County after the were at the disadvantage after both the first and second quarters.

When the game paused for halftime the score was 21-14.

The Lady Packers overtook TCC during the third quarter with three minutes remaining.

Walters-Smith was the Lady Packer who physically made the basket; however it was a group effort. Amareyia Knighton had smacked the ball during a TCC pass, which threw it off course, which allowed Moore to grab the ball for the possession change and she throw the long pass to Walters-Smith for the lay-up.

The Lady Packers briefly lost they lead during the fourth quarter, but once they regained it after Amareyia Knighton stole the ball with a successful layup, they maintained the lead until the final buzzer.

Two Lady Pacers made 3-point baskets during this game: Walters-Smith and Amareyia Knighton.

Knighton and Walters-Smith also scored the highest for the Lady Packers, with Knighton bringing in 12 and Walters-Smith having 10.

Moore, Caylnn Singletary, Dalivia McBride, Nyleigha Knighton and Polite also scored during the match against TCC.

"Our defense is our bread and butter," said Rondesha Williams, head coach for the Lady Packers. "We have to listen and play as a team to be successful. When we play selfish that is when we struggle."

When the Packers took the court for their first game against Pike Road, it was a fierce competition.

The Packers trailed behind every quarter, but continued to fight and did manage to take the lead during the fourth quarter. They held that lead for about 1:30 minutes before Pike reclaimed it two minutes before the end of the game.

Cason Harden score a single 3-point basket during the game. This would be the only successful long shot for the Packers.

Bringing in the most points was JaKari Byrd with 16. Zay Williams followed close behind with 13 points.

Harden brought in a total of seven points, and Jae Lamar had a single 2-point basket.

Against Handley, the Packers had much the same story. They trailed behind in every quarter, though never slowed in their efforts.

Four different Packers were successful with 3-point shots during this match: Harden, Quad Kinsey, Williams and Zy Alridge.

Byrd again scored the hight number of points this game with 20. Williams again followed behind with 16.

Markese Wilson and Lamar also scored against Handley.

In their final game against Early County, the story remained the same.

Harden and Wiliams both scored 3-point baskets.

Byrd remains the high scorer with 18 points, with Williams continuing to come in second, this time with 13 points.

Three other Pacers added to the scoreboard: Kinsey, Alridge and Lamar.

Defensively, in all three matches, the Packers were all over the court, often utilizing a two-man defense rather than man-on-man.

Several players were successful in stealing the ball, including, Naryan Sumlin, Byrd, Williams, Harden, Alridge, Lamar and Wilson.

"It's frustrating to see them play their tails off and come up short," said head coach for the Packers, Andy Harden. "Their attitude is amazing and we are in a position to get it done. We just need to minimize the mistakes and figure out how to close."

The Packers and Lady Packers will travel to Brooks County to battle them on Friday.

Their next home match will be Jan. 9, beginning at 6 p.m., against Cairo.