After starting out the basketball season with four straight wins, the Thomson High Lady Bulldogs suddenly have hit a snag -- having lost their last four games in a row.
"There's no way we can win when we commit 27 turnovers in a game and shoot poorly from the free-throw line," lamented Thomson head coach Michael Williams after his team dropped a 57-41 decision to Liberty County at the Thomson gym last Saturday night. "We've got to improve in both of those areas, if we plan to win any more games."
The loss to the Liberty County Lady Panthers marked the second straight Region 3-AAA loss for Thomson. The night before, the Lady Bulldogs traveled to Richmond Hill where they lost their first region game of the season.
Thomson's losing streak began when they lost to the Warren County Lady Screaming Devils in Warrenton more than a week ago. The team later traveled to Elberton where they lost a heartbreaker, 49-47 at the hands of Elbert County. In that non-region game, Thomson's Natasha Ballard scored a season-high 26 points in a losing cause.
The Lady Bulldogs, now 4-4 overall and 0-2 in region play, are playing in the Annual Security Bank of Gray Classic this week. Following a short Christmas break, the team will get back into action, facing even greater region challenges in the second half of the season.
"We've got to start playing much better, defensively," Williams said. "We've been a little lazy when it comes to playing the kind of defense we must play in order to win. Our free-throw shooting has been way off, too."
In the game against Liberty County, Thomson managed to connect on only 10-of-28 free-throws.
Against Liberty County, the Lady Bulldogs actually played better than they had in their previous two games. After being outscored 16-3 with more than a minute and a half left in the first period, Thomson continued to play steady, offensively and picked up the pace defensively which allowed them to stage a dramatic comeback against their opponents by halftime.
The Lady Bulldogs trailed the Lady Panthers 28-22 at halftime.
In the second half, Thomson came out as fired-up as they were in the second period and continued to assault the offensive boards. Ballard later sank a pair of free-throws to cut Liberty County's lead to 29-28 with 6:07 left in the third period. A few seconds later, Thomson's Nekia McNair, a sophomore guard, made a nice pass to senior forward KiKi Tanksley, who tied the game 30-30.
The Lady Bulldogs were never able to take the lead. They even found themselves down by eight points midway of that period, but managed to bounce back to get within one-point of their opponents, 38-37, with 1:41 left to play in the third.
The game took a drastic turnaround when in the fourth and final period, as Liberty County built a lead that Thomson never caught up to the remainder of the game.
Ballard led the Lady Bulldogs with 11 points -- the only player to score in double-figures. Other players scoring in the game for Thomson included: Brittany Reid, 8, Tanksley, 6, Ke'Onda Bradshaw, 5, Breana Chatman, 5, Asheleigh Burnett, 4 and McNair, 3.