Friday, February 27, 2009

Redan sweeps Northside-Warner Robins in first-round matchups

Redan’s girls and boys basketball teams hosted the girls and boys basketball teams from Northside-Warner Robins in the first round of the Class 5A state playoffs on Friday night and second-half runs in both games helped propel the home teams to victory. The Lady Raiders coasted to a 71-43 triumph, while the boys got by the Eagles, 49-39.

After the Region 1 No. 4 seed Lady Eagles hung with the undefeated and Region 2 No. 1 seed Redan girls in the opening minutes of the game, the Lady Raiders ended the first quarter on a 16-4 run to put them up 20-8. Nia Evans and Quortni Fambro combined to deliver the first knockout punch of the game, as they scored the last nine points of the quarter with Fambro hitting a jumper at the buzzer. “We just tried to score to get the [score] up, so we can put everybody else into the game,” Evans said. “Just try to get a good lead so we can win.”

Eventually the Lady Raiders (23-0) took a 29-18 lead into halftime, but Northside showed life in the second half. Tai Brown was instrumental in the Lady Eagles putting up a fight. Brown hit two 3-pointers in the third quarter, as Northside (17-12) cut the Redan lead to 42-36. The Lady Raiders held a 44-36 lead at the start of the fourth quarter and refused to let the Lady Eagles get any closer. Thanks to great defense and point guard Alisha Andrews orchestrating several fast breaks, Redan starter the quarter on a 21-3 spurt, finally putting Northside away. “We did slack off a little bit,” Evans said. “But we got back right.”

The Lady Raiders now move on to the next round, where they will face Camden County, and after losing in the championship game a year ago, Redan remains the only undefeated team in Class 5A. “I think we’re going to do real good in the next round and I think we’re going to win the whole thing,” Evans said. “That’s the goal.”

Mackenzie Dalrymple led Redan with 16 points and Evans finished with 15. Delia Brunson added 12, while Fambro contributed 10 and Andrews nine. Brown led Northside with 13.

Redan’s boys team, which is also the No. 1 seed from Region 2, could not shake the fourth-seeded Northside boys until the second half. The game was tied 12-12 after the first quarter and after the Raiders surged ahead to start the second quarter, the Eagles responded and the game went into halftime tied at 28. “We didn’t attack the 1-2-1-1 very efficiently,” said Redan head coach Julius Thompson. “We got the ball to the middle to Kenny Hall, he looked to the wings, we should have scored many many more times than we did.”

Redan (19-7) was able to remedy their attack of the Northside defense to start the second half and scored the first 13 points of the third quarter, with six of those coming off of Hall dunks. The Raider defense played a huge role as well as the Eagles did not get their first points of the period until under two minutes remaining and scored only four points for the quarter. “What I love about our team is defense,” Thompson said. “We have the best defense in tournament. We [give up] less than 46 points per game. “Everybody else is in the 60’s.”

Northside (15-13) did not break 40, as Redan got the win. Raymond Gregory led the Raiders with 14 points, while LaTerrence Carter added 12 and Hall finished with 10. Pierre Solomon led the Eagles with nine.

Redan plays the winner of the Newnan and Camden County matchup in the round of 16 and Thompson, who was in his ninth game as head coach after Dalton Greene resigned, says his team is rounding into shape, but playing good defense remains important.

“If we continue to do that, hopefully our offense can catch up, [and] we’ll be a force to handle late in the tournament,” he said.

Butler can be reached at