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Boys athlete of the week: Justin Houston

Girls athlete of the week: Lauren Akins

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    Few players mean more to their team than Justin Houston does to the Statesboro Blue Devils.
    Houston, the 6-foot-3, 220-pound post player, is the team’s leader both on and off the court.
    “He’s just the leader for the whole team. We’ve got to keep him out of foul trouble because as he goes we go,” said SHS head coach Lee Hill. “He’s one of the best free throw shooters and 3-point shooters on our team. He’s our best big man.”
    The senior can also handle the ball. When opposing teams try to guard Statesboro with a full court man-to-man defense, it’s not uncommon for Houston to bring the ball up the court by himself.
    That versatility is what makes Houston so crucial to the Blue Devils, and it’s also what makes him tough to defend.
    “It just depends on my opponent’s size,” he explained. “If he’s big, I’ll take him on the wing. If he’s small I like to take him down low.”
    “He means a lot to the this team. He’s a go-to guy,” said Hill. “He’s our leader.”

Lauren Akins
    When Southeast Bulloch point guard Lauren Akins broke her finger against county rival Portal in November, she said the toughest part was sitting on the bench and watching her teammates play.
    “Oh my gosh — it was really hard,” said Akins. “So many times I would ask Coach (Milton) Williams, ‘Could I get in, please.’ I was begging him.”
    Instead, Akins would have to wait until January to be cleared to play. As the end of this month approaches, it looks as though the senior is getting her groove back. That’s bad news for the rest of region 3-AA.
    “I had some really rough games because of my attitude,” she said. “I just was getting really frustrated, but I think I’m getting better with it.”
    Akins dropped 20 in a win over region foe Metter Saturday night. She was 14-for-18 from the line and sank 10 free throws in a crucial fourth quarter to help SEB to a 45-34 win.
    The Lady Yellow Jackets will return to the court Friday night when they host Josey in another region 3-AA showdown.

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