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Lady Devils cruise to 55-31 victory

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    The Lady Blue Devils of Statesboro had no problems with the visiting Lady Panthers of Portal Saturday night. Monnette Bennett finished with 19 points and nine rebounds, helping SHS (9-8) cruise to a 55-31 win to break a three-game losing streak.
    "We really needed this win tonight," said Bennett. "It was really important for us to get this win and get some of our confidence back.  And it felt good to have our fans back and our home crowd supporting us."
    The Devils opened the contest on a 9-0 run before PHS called a timeout to sub-in Kanesha Eason. Eason would immediately score five points to cut the lead to 12-5, but the Panthers (2-13) would still be down 18-7 after one.
    Statesboro made 7 of 17 shots in the first quarter and eight different Devils scored over the course of the game on the way to the big win.
    "We have to have more people contribute on offense and defense," said SHS assistant coach Kiffany Cody. "It actually helped us out a lot tonight to move the ball around and get more people on the board."
    Chelsea Connely and Gwennetta Jones chipped in 10 points each for SHS, which shot 44 percent from the field.
    The Panthers, meanwhile, lost the game in the third quarter. Trailing by 12 at the break, Portal missed all of its 15 shots, scoring just one point on an Eason free throw. The drought allowed SHS to build a 42-17 lead going into the fourth.
    "That was the difference in the ball game. The girls just didn't score in the third quarter and we got too far behind," said Portal head coach Earl Donaldson. "(But) I was very proud of the girls. They got on the floor and went for the ball and played hustle, hustle ball in that last quarter."
    Sacona Sheffield scored eight of her 10 points in the final frame, second only to Eason's 11. Portal forward Bridgett Oglesby scored five points.
    The Lady Devils were 15-for-28 from the line and out-rebounded Portal 41-22.
    Statesboro will hit the road Tuesday with a region match against Lakeside while the Lady Panthers will travel to Metter on the same day.
    Chad Bishop can be reached at (912)-489-9404.
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