The Bears swept their two games while the Lady Bears were swept in two.
Both teams played Lowndes High on Nov. 19 and Valdosta High on Nov. 20, with the Bears getting a 74-58 win over Lowndes and a 71-67 win over Valdosta. The Lady Bears lost 45-39 to Lowndes and 64-29 to Valdosta.
“To start the season 2-0 against Class AAAAAA opponents is a great testament to the guys,” said Bears head coach Prelvis Paster. “They played very well in the tournament.”
The Bears started the tournament with a 74-58 win over Lowndes in a game where they took control early, leading by 11 at halftime.
Senior Tae Mayes, who didn’t play for Griffin last season, led the Bears with 23 points, followed by Demaree’ Walker with 13, J.R. Ellis and Kelvin Waldon with 11 each and freshman Brandon Green chipped in 7.
The game of the tournament for the Bears was the four-point victory over Valdosta. Trailing the Wildcats 59-39 with 7:16 remaining in the fourth quarter, Griffin went on a serious run to tie the game at 66 with 3:00 left. Paster said his team found their mental toughness and said aggressive play helped in the run.
“The game got a bit chippy late and I think that brought out the aggressiveness in my guys,” he said. “After that, we went on our run and Valdosta couldn’t recover.”
Ellis, who scored all 14 of his points in the fourth quarter, sank 3 of 4 free throws in the final seconds to seal the victory.
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Mayes led the Bears with 34 points, Marquavis King added 8 points and Rashod Armstrong and Terrell Collier chipped in 7 apiece.
Lady Bears head coach Veronica Lee said her girls faced good competition and they need to work on their team chemistry. After all, this was the Griffin girls’ first games without four-year starting point guard Jahmiya Clemons (graduation), the Lady Bears leading scorer for the past three seasons.
“We’re still a bit young and once we learn to play with each other, we will be fine,” Lee said. “Some of our younger players, like Victoria Middlebrooks, had good games in the tournament so that bodes well.”
The Bears and Lady Bears will be back in action Nov. 27 in their home opener against Woodland. The Lady Bears begin play at 6 p.m.