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Lowndes, Valdosta split region games

Jan. 15—VALDOSTA — In one of the season's most anticipated games, Lowndes' Vikings traveled across town to face the Valdosta Wildcats in their first basketball matchup of the season. The regional game was played in Valdosta's 'Cat Cage to a packed crowd. The varsity boys and girls played very physical games, ending with a win for Lowndes' Vikettes and Valdosta's Wildcats. The Vikettes won, 57-47, and the Wildcats, 65-56.

Vikettes

The girls' varsity game consisted of the Vikettes holding the lead throughout the game, with the Lady 'Cats staying close. The Vikettes had plenty of support from the crowd, with the stands full of across-towners. Aasked about the community support, head Coach Antonia Tookes said, "Everyone comes out of the house for this one."

When looking at the two teams and their record, it was clear this would be a competitive game. The Lady 'Cats stayed within 10 points of the Vikettes throughout the game.

"It's a rivalry, so we're going to play our best," said Tookes of Lowndes' mindset coming into the contest. "We were coming off a loss and wanted to get that taste out of our mouth."

The game consisted of many standout athletes on the court. Tookes wanted to highlight sophomore Kayla Jackson and junior Kaci Demps for their performances. Jackson scored 11 points, and Demps scored 17 points and had four assists. On the Lady 'Cats side, senior Nadia Gardner also showed out with 17 points.

The Vikettes continue to their next regional game against Colquitt County's Packers in another game to watch out for, as Colquitt has only lost once this year. Asked about their thoughts on the game, Coach Tookes stated, "Everyone is pretty even keel, so it all comes down to who's going to be the toughest, Who's going to make less mistakes, and who's going to be the toughest."

The game was to take place at home for the Vikettes on Tuesday, Jan. 16, at 6 p.m.

Wildcat

The varsity boys' game came with an intense first half, with both teams holding the lead for a substantial amount of time. However, after the half, Valdosta's shooting would build a lead that would be maintained until the game's end. Like the varsity girls, the boys' game would be physical and heated, with many fouls on both sides.

"When it's a rivalry game, records don't matter," said VHS head coach James Lee. "It's all about pride. You're always going to get that opponent's best punch, and we were looking forward to it."

The court was full of energy for the Wildcats, with the home side erupting for almost every basket from the 'Cats. Coach Lee talked about what that kind of energy does for the team and said, "The players could feel the energy from the crowd before the game started. It was a great atmosphere last night, and I feel like the guys definitely fed off of it."

One of the players responsible for those baskets was sophomore Eric Love. Having one of the season's strongest offensive and defensive games, Love showed his versatility on the court, proving that this is his breakout season.

Coach Lee stands by the Wildcats' versatility as their biggest strength. The team stays a threat whether they are shooting or in the paint. Coach Lee spoke on his team's strengths, "We can beat you in so many different ways. It's really difficult to guard a team so versatile."

The Wildcats' season will only get more challenging with their next game against the Lee County Trojans, who hold an overall record of 13-2. It's a game that Coach Lee has been looking forward to. "It's a game that I asked for. I'm super excited for it, and it's going to be a really good game.